Cultural Facilities Fund
What is the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund?
The Cultural Facilities Fund (CFF) is a grant program that supports planning and development projects for cultural facilities in Massachusetts. It is a landmark investment in the infrastructure of our state’s cultural resources.
What kinds of grants are available through the Fund?
- Capital Grants: For the acquisition, design, construction, repair, renovation, rehabilitation, installation of fixed equipment, and other capital improvements or deferred maintenance of a cultural facility. Any combination of the above would qualify for consideration.
- Feasibility and Technical Assistance Grants: For planning and feasibility assessment for a facility project.
- Systems Replacement Plan Grants (SRP): These are a specific type of planning grant designed for small and medium-sized organizations that do not have full-time maintenance staff. The SRP is for a 20-year capital needs assessment report of the building and its mechanical systems.
Who is eligible to apply?
- 501(c)3 cultural organizations that are primarily concerned with the arts, humanities, or interpretive sciences. This includes (but is not limited to) museums, historic sites, zoos, aquariums, theaters, concert halls, exhibition spaces, classrooms, and auditoriums. Eligible facilities must be owned, leased or used by one or more nonprofit cultural organizations, and must be accessible to the public.
- Municipalities that own cultural facilities –provided that the cultural facility is at least 50,000 square feet in size, and at least 50% devoted to cultural purposes. However, if such building, structure, or site is 125 years old or older, and is significant in the history, archeology, architecture, or culture of the nation, the Commonwealth, or the community in which it is located, it may be of any size.
- Public or private institutions of higher education –provided that the cultural facility provides service and open access to the community and the general public beyond their educational mission, and can demonstrate financial need.
What are the grant ranges?
- Capital Grants – up to $200,000
- Feasibility & Technical Assistance Grants – up to $35,000
- Systems Replacement Plan Grants – starting from $8,000 (depending on the size of the facility)
When is the application deadline?
The FY24 application is due on December 14, 2023 at 11:59pm (ET).
Is there a matching requirement?
Yes, there is a 1:1 cash match requirement for all CFF grants. “In kind” donations are not eligible for the match. The cash match must be raised before accessing the grant.
What is the review criteria?
The statute of the Cultural Facilities Fund established five threshold review criteria for all its grant categories:
- Project must be 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 or loan.
- The project must be able to demonstrate local support.*
* “Community need” and “local support” should be addressed 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”.
View additional review criteria for each grant category:
How does the application and grant approval process work?
Mass Cultural Council administers the application and provides guidance to applicants. After the application deadline, Mass Cultural Council convenes panels to review all applications. The panel makes funding recommendations to the Cultural Facilities Fund Advisory Committee. In turn, the Advisory Committee makes recommendations for approval to MassDevelopment’s Board of Directors.
Can I apply for more than one grant at a time?
Applicants can only apply for one grant at a time, with the exception of:
- A Feasibility & Technical Assistance grant for the purpose of reducing carbon emissions, which can be applied for with any other grant.
- Systems Replacement Plan grants, which can be applied for with any other grant.
Can I apply to the Fund if I have already received a Cultural Facilities Fund grant?
Starting in FY23, if you received a Capital Grant the prior year there will be a one-year wait period before applying again. Organizations that have previously been awarded Cultural Facilities Fund grants in any grant category can apply to the Fund so long as the applicant: 1) complies with the one-year wait policy and 2) the prior grant has been fully-disbursed or declined and according to a schedule and conditions in our guidelines.
When will the grant awards be announced?
In general, announcements typically come about four months after the application deadline.
Who has previously received grants through the Cultural Facilities Fund?
A project list is available online.