Cultural Facilities Fund
How To Apply
Read the program guidelines, then review specific Capital grants requirements below.
Log in or create an organizational profile to access the Intent to Apply and online application.
Complete application and submit required and optional supplementary materials by January 15, 2021 at 11:59pm (ET).
Capital Grants Guidelines
Goals of the Capital Grants Program
The Capital grants program provides matching grants to assist with the acquisition, final-stage design, construction, repair, renovation, rehabilitation, or other capital improvements or deferred maintenance of cultural facilities in Massachusetts. The goal of this program is to promote the development of cultural facilities that are thoughtfully planned and developed, contribute to the cultural and economic lives of their communities, have a transformative impact on the community, and are supported by significant matching contributions from the private sector.
Types of Projects Funded
The Capital Grant Program offers grants for:
- Site or facility acquisition (provided there is a signed Purchase & Sale Agreement and appropriate business planning is in place).
- Repair, rehabilitation, or renovation of existing facilities. This may include (but is not limited to) efforts to improve physical accessibility, fire safety, and other building health and safety measures.
- New construction/expansion of existing facilities (provided appropriate business planning is in place).
- Final-stage design of new facilities
- Purchase of major equipment or integrated systems. This may include HVAC systems, sound and light systems, rigging or similar equipment, provided that these are fully integrated elements of a building, structure or site and are fixed in place. Mobile goods or equipment, including moveable seating, computers, office equipment and non-fixed display cases, are not eligible for grant reimbursement.
- Any combination of the above.
- New projects that demonstrate a transformative impact on the host community.
Grants in this program may not be used for:
- Capital campaign costs or non-facilities capital campaigns (e.g., endowment campaigns).
- Regular operating activities of an organization.
- Ongoing staff positions.
- Fundraising or marketing activities.
- Any other costs that are not related to the approved Eligible Project.
- Mortgage or loan payments.
- Legal feeds.
- Insurance payments.
All organizations that receive grants under this program must certify as part of the Grant Agreement that the project for which the grant is being made complies with, or will comply with upon completion of the project, the terms of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Review Criteria – Capital Grants
Threshold Criteria #1 – Community Impact (Statutory)
As outlined in previous sections, the Cultural Facilities Fund statute establishes five threshold review criteria for all grants. All projects must provide evidence that they meet these statutory criteria to be considered for a Cultural Facilities Fund Grant.
- The project is an “eligible project”
- There must be a demonstrated community need for the project*.
- The project must be able to demonstrate that it will benefit tourism in the local area**.
- There must be a demonstrated financial need for a grant.
- The project must be able to demonstrate local support*.
*Please address “community need” and “local support” in terms of your cultural organization and/or programming.
**Tourism is defined as: “a person traveling 50 miles or more one way to a destination or who stays overnight”.
Threshold Criteria #2 – Financial Capacity
All projects that have demonstrated that they meet the statutory criteria must then demonstrate evidence of financial capacity to undertake and sustain the capital project. The grant review panel will make this determination based on the quality of your responses to the following Financial Capacity criteria and the review of your organizational financials.
Evidence that the proposed facilities project:
- Demonstrates financial capacity to begin the project within 18 months from the application deadline, or by June 2022.
- Has the matching funds committed to the project or demonstrates an ability to raise the match within 18 months of the application deadline. Thoroughly analyzes the impact the capital project will have on the organization’s future finances if expanding square footage or programming.
- Has capital reserves in place or demonstrates an ability to successfully fund depreciation.
All projects that have demonstrated that they meet the above statutory and financial capacity threshold criteria will then be reviewed by the grant panel on the quality of the project’s planning, transformative impacts and implementation.
Evidence that the proposed facilities project:
- Is integral to the mission and to an overall strategic organizational plan.
- Is appropriately sized, relative to the capacity and needs of the organization.
- Is justified by evidence of market demand (for projects that either expand programming or square footage, or both.)
- Addresses the impact the capital project will have on the organization’s future operations.
- Is in the context of an overall capital needs assessment, maintenance plan and/or replacement schedule.
Evidence that the new project:
- Is located in an urban or village center.
- Has a “transformative impact” on host community by improving the appearance of its immediately surrounding area.
- Creates opportunities for additional private investment, supports neighborhood public/private partnerships, and increase of foot traffic in the area immediately surrounding the project.
Evidence that the proposed facilities project:
- Includes a project budget that identifies all sources of funding, and articulates whether they are committed, pending, and/or projected.
- Includes a project budget where the project costs are prioritized and informed by professional third-party bids.
- Evidence that a project can begin and the match can be raised within 18 months of the application deadline, or by June 2022.
- Has identified and/or hired the project’s leadership and key contracted personnel and demonstrated they have the appropriate skills and capacity to implement the project.
A complete application constitutes the submission of both the online application and supplementary materials. If one of the aforementioned is not submitted by the final application deadline of January 15, 2021 at 11:59 pm (ET), the application will be considered incomplete and not be reviewed.
I. Intent to Apply
- Please review the eligibility requirements for the Cultural Facilities Fund as defined by the statute.
- Log in or create an organizational profile to access the Intent to Apply and online application.
- Submit an Intent to Apply by November 13, 2020.
Submitting the Intent to Apply is our way to check your eligibility before you fill out the entire application. It is the first section of the online application, titled the “Project Overview” page. The information entered here can be changed anytime up until the final application deadline. If you miss the Intent to Apply deadline, you can still apply up until the final application deadline.
There is a separate application form for each Cultural Facilities Fund grant category. Make sure you have filled out your Intent to Apply for a Capital Grant.
If you are applying for a Systems Replacement Plan (SRP) grant in addition to a Capital grant, you can do so without having to fill out two separate applications. In the Intent to Apply of your Capital grant application, select that you are also requesting an SRP. You only need to submit one set of supplementary materials, which will be used to make assessments for both grant requests. Please follow the Capital grant supplementary material requirements below.
You do not need approval from the Mass Cultural Council after submitting the Intent to Apply to continue with the full application. Mass Cultural Council staff will contact you if any eligibility issues are identified.
- Complete the online application, including any updates/changes to the Organizational Profile and/or Project Overview.
- Click the “final submission” button by the deadline, 11:59pm (ET) on January 15, 2021. The Mass Cultural Council will receive your application electronically and you will receive an email confirming the submission. If you do not receive the automated email receipt, go back to ensure the application has been submitted successfully. Be sure to save the PDF summary of your application for your records.
III. Supplementary Materials
Supplementary materials must be submitted electronically via the Mass Cultural Council’s Box.com account by 11:59pm (ET) on January 15, 2021.
Once you submit your Intent to Apply, Mass Cultural Council staff will create a folder for your organization in Box.com. An invitation to join the folder will be sent to the email address associated with the “Primary Contact” on your application. Please allow 1-3 business days to receive the email invitation after submitting your Intent to Apply.
If you do not already have an account, you will need to register. Go to Box.com and click “Sign Up” in the top right corner. Create a free account under “Individual Plans.”
If you have a Box.com account already under a different email, or would like to use a different email to upload your materials into Box.com, let us know.
Once you are logged into your account, you will be able to access the folder where you’ll upload your files. Once your materials are uploaded, they will be considered submitted. Your files will only be viewable by you and Mass Cultural Council staff.
If there are materials you wish to include with your application that cannot be submitted electronically, contact Miranda Cook.
Please upload and label each file clearly according to the bold items listed below.
Required Supplementary Materials:
- Project Budget: Please list both the “sources” and “uses” of funds in the project budget. In the “source” column indicate whether the funds are: “committed”, “pledged”, or “projected”. In the “use” column indicate whether the costs are based on: a “contractor bid”, “architect estimate”, or “in-house estimate”. In addition, please indicate your most critical needs and less critical needs. See a sample project budget (XLS).
- Timeline for your project. Be sure to include the scope-of-work accompanied by dates.
- Financial Information:
- Audited financial or draft audit statements for the two most recent fiscal years. (If your organization’s annual budget is less than $500,000 and no audited financials are available, please provide the review statement by the accountant or internally prepared income and expense statements and balance sheets for the two most recent years. Audit statements are not required if the applicant is a municipality, but are required for all 501(c)3s including colleges and universities.)
- Year-to-date Income Statements and Balance Sheets since your last audit, accountant’s review or 990.
Municipalities: Facility-specific operating financials for the last two years for the subject facility. Municipal financial audited statements are not required.
Colleges and Universities:
- Audited financial statements for the two most recent fiscal years.
- Facility-specific operating financials for the last two years for the subject facility.
- Resumes, CVs, or other summaries of qualifications for all key project personnel (e.g., project manager and/or general contractor, architect, fundraising consultant, key organizational staff). [Please note: Project managers and general contractors must meet insurance and bond requirements appropriate to the nature and size of the project.]
- Board list and affiliations (not required for municipalities).
- Copy of IRS 501(c)3 tax exemption letter (not applicable to municipalities).
- Copy of the lease, deed, or ground lease for your facility.
- Business plan & strategic plan materials (required for acquisition, expansion of an existing building and/or programs, and new construction).
- Signed Purchase & Sale Agreement (for acquisition projects only).
- Letters of Support (current and no more than six).
- Images of the overall site as well as specific areas of work.
Optional Supplementary Materials:
Depending on your project, the following list of materials may help you make the case for funding. Please submit any and all materials you think will help the review panel understand your project and its readiness to proceed.
- Architectural plans for the building or renovation. (Summary plans are acceptable).
- Project costs/ estimates from a contractor bid set or from an architect.
- Zoning Variances, ZBA hearing dates, building permits or other evidence that regulatory approvals are in place or in process.
- Copies of market studies, fundraising assessments or project and business feasibility studies, if applicable.
- If available, architect and construction contract (summary pages of contracts acceptable).
- Maintenance plans and replacement schedules for the facility. (mechanical as well as the structural components of the facility, i.e. plumbing, electrical, HVAC, roof, siding, foundation, etc.)
- Press clippings, editorials, or other materials that demonstrate community need and local support for the project.
- DataArts: If you are registered in DataArts you can submit your data with your application by searching for the Mass Cultural Council under “Find Grants.” Submit a funder report to the Cultural Facilities Fund: FY21 pool by the final application deadline, 11:59pm (ET) on January 15, 2021. Contact the DataArts Help Desk with any questions at: 877-707-3282 or email@example.com.
- Other materials, as relevant.
Additional Materials for Transformative Impact Projects:
- Provide a map identifying the location of your project and sites in the vicinity of your project that are in need of additional private investment and could be positively impacted by your project.
- Provide letters from or agreements with the local partners (public or private) who you have identified as participants in your efforts to spur transformative impact as a result of your project.
- If your project is part of or consistent with any municipal plan to improve the area, provide a brief summary of such a plan, a link to the plan if available electronically, and a letter from the municipality saying your project is consistent with the plan.