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Visitors to the New England Aquarium watch tropical fish swimming through a Pacific Coral exhibit. (Photo: S. Cheng)


Application Process

This program has been discontinued. The guidelines below are to provide guidance for the final group of Gateway grantees which will be funded through FY24. Organizations that are interested in FY23 funding should apply for Festivals & Projects grants which will be available on October 25, 2022. Guidelines for the revised Portfolio program are currently being drafted, and will be available in late Spring 2023 for FY24 applications.

Current Gateway grantees: Watch a presentation and download the slide deck (PDF) explaining FY22 annual reporting requirements. There will be a webinar to review the FY23 annual reporting requirements in January 2023.

Gateway was a two-year operating support grant to provide support to Massachusetts-based organizations and programs that offer public cultural programming in the arts, humanities, and interpretive sciences.

Questions? Contact Sara S. Glidden, Program Manager, at 617-858-2710.

Program Guidelines


Current Gateway grantees must continue to meet eligibility requirements and fulfill annual reporting requirements to receive FY23 and FY24 funding.

A fully-cultural organization must be a Massachusetts recognized 501(c)3 organization. The organization’s primary mission must be to promote access, excellence, diversity, or education in the arts, humanities, or sciences.

Cultural Affiliates are semi-independent programs that operate under a parent organization. The primary mission of a Cultural Affiliate must be to promote access, excellence, diversity, or education in the arts, humanities, or interpretive sciences. The Cultural Affiliate must meet all eligibility requirements, plus additional requirements that apply exclusively to the Cultural Affiliates.

The parent organization for the Cultural Affiliate must be one of the following:

  • A Massachusetts recognized non-fully cultural 501(c)3 organization.
    For example, a literary magazine or art museum at a college, or an arts program in a social service organization.
  • A department of a federal, state, or local/municipal government. For example, a Local Cultural Council that provides cultural programming.

The following eligibility criteria must be maintained each year to maintain Gateway support:

  • Be legally recognized as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in good standing in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
  • Be a ‘fully-cultural’ organization or a Cultural Affiliate that has provided public cultural programming for the past two consecutive years.
  • Offer public cultural programming in Massachusetts and maintain year-round operations in Massachusetts.
  • Have minimum cash expenses of $50,000 for each of the two years before the application.
  • For Media organizations (such as community access television stations): Over 50% of programming time must be arts, humanities, or sciences programming produced by or for the applicant. This includes original creative content, original documentary content, original arts and culture programming. Calculation of eligibility should only count the original broadcast, not re-broadcast.

Cultural Affiliate Requirements

These requirements only apply to programs with a parent organization.

Cultural Affiliates also must:

  • Manage your own budget.
  • Have at least one full-time (min. 30 hours per week) compensated administrative staff position dedicated solely to the operation of the cultural entity. Having several employees whose cumulative time totals 30 hours per week does not meet this requirement.
  • Have your own advisory board that meets regularly to discuss policy, strategic direction, and resource development plans to ensure long-term sustainability.


Gateway grants are subject to a 1:1 Match Requirement. Matching funds may include earned revenue or private funds donated to your organization. The following may not be used as matching funds: In-kind contributions, other sources of public funding (i.e. Local Cultural Council grants, Mass Humanities grants), and/or proceeds from the sale of collections.

All funding is subject to the annual State budget appropriation, recommendations of Mass Cultural Council’s Grants Committee, and the final approval of the Mass Cultural Council.

Grant Requirements

Reporting Requirements
Gateway grant recipients must complete the annual reporting requirements to be eligible for a grant in the next year.

The following reporting requirements MUST be completed by 11:59pm (ET) on May 31, 2023 to avoid penalties to your grant for the following year.

If you do not complete all of the requirements by the deadline, there will be a 25% penalty to your grant for the following year. You have an extension for additional week. If you still haven’t completed your requirement by this time, your organization will be suspended and not eligible to receive a grant for the following fiscal year.

Gateway grantees are required to enter financial data into the DataArts Cultural Data Profile each year, and then generate a CIP Funder Report based on this data. The CIP Funder Report functions as:

  • A final report for the FY23 Gateway grant
  • An application for Gateway funding for FY24

Your DataArts Requirement is complete once you have done the following:

  • Created a new CDP Survey and entered data for your most recently completed fiscal year.
  • Generated a CIP Funder Report which includes the most recent 3 years of data.
  • Received staff approval of your Funder Report. Your Funder Report is reviewed by staff for completion and accuracy of data. If there are errors or omissions, you will be required to make changes and generate a new Funder Report. You have not completed the requirement until this step is completed.

Please note: the CDP Survey only collects historic data; you do not enter data for a fiscal year that has not closed. This means that the fiscal year has ended and you have completed your 990 and audit for that year.

    • If your organization receives an annual audit or review, you will work from your finalized, board-approved versions.
    • If your organization is not reviewed or audited annually, you will work from their finalized, board-approved year-end financial statements.
    • If your organization is an arts program/department within a larger institution (a “Cultural Affiliate”), it should enter data based on internal financial statements for the program/department only. It should not include financial or programmatic information for the larger institution.

All Gateway grantees should include a balance sheet in the CDP Survey, even if the organization is not audited.

CIP Annual Report
The CIP Annual Report serves as a confirmation of your organization’s ongoing eligibility for Portfolio grants. It acts both as a final report for the current year, and as the ‘application’ for funding for the following year. It contains:

  • Organization Review

An opportunity for you to share concerns, or significant changes to your mission, programming, staffing, or board. It also includes a few statistical data points which the National Endowment for the Arts requires Mass Cultural Council to collect from grantees.

  • Attestations

Confirmation that your organization has completed its contractual requirements in the following areas (see below for more information):

    • Advocacy
    • Acknowledgement of funding
    • Policies
      • Anti-Sexual Harassment Policy
      • Board and organization ethics and best practices
      • Compliance with state and federal regulations that bar discrimination

To encourage the state’s continued support, we ask that grantees advocate on behalf of the cultural sector by explaining to legislators, in concrete and personal terms, the social and economic benefit of supporting a vibrant cultural community.

Portfolio grantees are required to complete two advocacy activities per year.

You need to connect with a member of the State government (not the Federal government), to tell them about the importance of supporting the cultural sector. This could be a current State Senator, a State Representative, the Governor, or Lieutenant Governor, or a member of their staff. These are all people who play a part in the state budget process.

You need to talk about the cultural sector as a whole, not just your organization.

This needs to be direct contact, not simply attending an event that includes members of the Legislature.

Grant recipients are required to credit Mass Cultural Council for funding. Attachment D of your Contract Package or the online Credit and Publicity Kit has more details.

Your organization has a policy on Sexual Harassment, and your Board of Directors annually approves an organization policy on ethics and best practices for boards. This needs to be formally approved by your Board, and you will need to provide the date that the board voted.

An organization that cannot attest to fulfilling these requirements as of the reporting deadline will have a “Hold” on their grant contract for the following year.

Contract Holds, Penalties, and Restrictions

Mass Cultural Council may apply a contract hold, penalty, or restriction if you are not in compliance with grant requirements. There may be cuts applied to your future grant amounts, or you may be suspended for funding in future grant years.

Additionally, the Mass Cultural Council has the right to withhold, reduce, discontinue funding, or apply restrictions to the use of Gateway grant funds if a grantee:

  • Intentionally misrepresentation of finances, programming, or other eligibility requirements.
  • Does not notify the Mass Cultural Council of significant organizational changes, cannot carry out the stated mission, or if it demonstrates inadequate financial management and oversight. The notification must be made in writing and must provide reasonable advanced notice. In cases where a Gateway grantee experiences serious organizational capacity issues, the Mass Cultural Council will work with that organization to address the challenge.

Accessibility and Non-Discrimination Policies

Mass Cultural Council is committed to ensure that all personnel and service programs, policies and practices will be formulated and conducted in a manner which will ensure equal access for all people and prevent discrimination not only as a matter of law, but also as a policy designed to encourage the participation of all segments of the Commonwealth’s population in Mass Cultural Council programs and services.

Mass Cultural Council is happy to offer applicants/grantees alternative formats, auxiliary aids, and services necessary so that any individual can participate in the Mass Cultural Council’s programs and services. Contact our staff for help.

Mass Cultural Council is dedicated to creating a workplace, programs, and services that welcome, respect and value people of all races, color, age, sex, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, religions, creeds, ancestry, national origin, disability, and veteran status. Mass Cultural Council will not fund any organization or program that discriminates on the basis of these attributes. We strive to reflect diversity in all activities, programs, and services removing any barriers to accessibility. Mass Cultural Council and its grantees are expected to be in compliance with:

Mass Cultural Council’s grantees sign a contract (see contract requirements) certifying that they will comply with ADA and Section 504. Mass Cultural Council aims to help grantees understand their obligations and recognize the opportunities that increasing access can support both the public and the grantee. Additional information about Mass Cultural Council’s Accessibility Requirements and Compliance Tools for Grantees are located in our Access Policy.

 Support & Resources

Sara S. Glidden, Program Manager, 617-858-2710

The CIP staff is available as a resource to answer questions about eligibility, requirements, deadlines, and compliance.

DataArts Support Center: Staff at the Support Center is employed by DataArts, not the Mass Cultural Council. They cannot answer questions about Gateway compliance. Contact the Support Center at 1-877-707-DATA (877-707-3282) or, Monday-Friday, 10:30am-7pm (ET).

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