Cultural Facilities Fund
Feasibility and Technical Assistance Grants
The FY20 Cultural Facilities Fund application is closed. Grant announcements will be made in mid-May, 2020.
The next round of funding is subject to appropriation in FY21. Check back in early fall 2020 for more information, or join our email list.
How To Apply
Read the program guidelines, then review specific Feasibility and Technical Assistance 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 10, 2020 at 5pm (ET).
Feasibility & Technical Assistance Grants Guidelines
Goals of the Feasibility & Technical Assistance Grants Program
The planning and construction of cultural facilities can be complex. The purpose of the Feasibility & Technical Assistance grants is to help managers and board members of cultural organizations get the objective information and analysis they need before they commit their organization’s energies and financial resources to a facilities project.
Types of Projects Funded
Organizations that are contemplating an Eligible Project may apply for funds to support pre-implementation planning – research, fact-finding and analysis that can help them make more informed decisions about their facilities development effort.
Types of planning and technical assistance may include but are not necessarily limited to: architectural and engineering plans, business plans and market research as it relates to a new facility, capital campaign feasibility studies, comprehensive facility maintenance plans and new project feasibility studies.
Organizations can also plan for Universal Design solutions to accessibility challenges in their facilities. Organizations can work with a consultant who will identify possible solutions that meet ADA, 504, and Massachusetts Architectural Access Board (MAAP) requirements, but go beyond to provide solutions that are an improvement for all visitors.
Feasibility & Technical Assistance Grant funds are not available for non-facilities-related planning efforts (such as an overall organizational strategic planning); site acquisition; regular operating activities; ongoing staff positions; complete architectural drawings; fundraising or marketing activities; or publications.
The Cultural Facilities Fund statute establishes five threshold review criteria for all grants. All projects must provide evidence that they meet these four statutory criteria to be considered for a Cultural Facilities Fund Grant.
- The project is an “eligible project”.
- There is a demonstrated community need for the project*.
- The project benefits tourism in the local area**.
- There is a demonstrated financial need for a grant.
- There is demonstrated local support for the project*.
*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”.
The specific criteria by which applications will be reviewed are:
Quality of Planning:
- Evidence that the planning effort is linked to an overall organizational/or facilities plan.
- Evidence that this is the logical next step in the organization’s overall facilities planning efforts.
- In cases of site acquisition, expansion, or new construction, evidence that the planning adequately addresses the impacts to the organization and its financial profile after construction is complete.
Quality of Implementation:
- Evidence that feasibility and planning consultants have been identified.
- Evidence that a comprehensive and appropriate scope of services has been identified for the planning exercise.
- Evidence that planning consultants are qualified.
- Submission of a complete and clear planning/feasibility budget
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 10, 2020 at 5pm (ET), the application will be considered incomplete and not be reviewed.
I. Intent to Apply
- Review the eligibility requirements for the Cultural Facilities Fund as defined by the statute.
- Log in or create an organizational profile to be able to access the Intent to Apply and online application.
- Submit an Intent to Apply by November 15, 2019.
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 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 Feasibility & Technical Assistance Grant.
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 or changes to the organizational profile and Project Overview page.
- Click the “final submission” button of the online application by the deadline – 5pm on January 10, 2020. 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 5pm on January 10, 2020.
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. Your materials are considered submitted once they are uploaded to the folder. 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.
- Planning Budget. (Please list both the “Sources” and “Uses” in the planning budget and indicate if the Source funds are: “committed”, “pending” or “projected”. Also please indicate if the Uses are based on actual third-party bids or if the costs are in-house estimates).
- Project Timeline.
- Scope-of-Services for planning consultants.
- Financial Information:
- Nonprofit Organizations
- Income statements and balance sheets since your last audit, accountant’s review, or 990.
- 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.) (Not required if the applicant is a municipality, but is required for all 501(c)3s including colleges and universities.)
- Municipalities: Facility-specific operating financials for the last two years for the subject facility. Municipal audit 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.
- Board List and affiliations (not required for municipalities).
- Copy of IRS 501(c) (3) tax exemption letter (if applicable).
- Copy of the lease, deed, or ground lease for your facility (if applicable).
- Letters of support (no more than six).
- Images of the overall site as well as specific areas of work.
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 panels understand your project and its readiness to proceed.
- Preliminary architectural plans or renderings for the project (summary plans are acceptable).
- Strategic plans.
- Planning and feasibility cost estimates from any third-party consultants.
- Zoning Variances, ZBA hearing dates, building permits, or other evidence that regulatory approvals are in place or in process.
- Copies of any feasibility and planning work done to date: market studies, fundraising assessments, project and business feasibility studies, operating pro-formas, etc.
- Press clippings, editorials, or other materials that demonstrate community need and local support for the project.
- Other materials, as relevant.