Who can apply?
I don’t have a 501(c)3. Can I apply? Close Open
If you have a group that isn’t incorporated, but acts like an organization, you can apply by working with a fiscal agent. You have to arrange for a non-profit organization to agree to be your agent. This means that they will manage the funds for the project, and will make sure that the funds are used for the non-profit purpose. When you fill out the application, your organization is the applicant, and you fill in the information for the fiscal sponsor in the fiscal sponsor section.
I don’t have a 501(c)3. Can I apply? Close Open
Probably not. You must have 501(c)3 status. If you are running a program within a larger organization that does have a 501(c)3, you might be able to apply as a Cultural Affiliate. Look at the eligibility requirements for Gateway grants.
I work for a city department that does cultural programming. Can we apply? Close Open
Maybe. A program/department of a local, state, or federal government agency can apply as a Cultural Affiliate, if you meet the eligibility requirements. If you don’t meet those requirements, you should look at the Projects grants.
I run a cultural program at a college. Can we apply? Close Open
Maybe. A program/department of a local, state, or federal government agency can apply as a Cultural Affiliate, if you meet the eligibility requirements. You can find that information on the Gateway page. If you don’t meet those requirements, you should look at the Projects grants.
I work for science organization. Can we apply? Close Open
Yes. The Mass Cultural Council funds arts, humanities, and sciences. We support science organizations that educate and engage the public about the natural world. This includes science museums, watershed associations, botanical gardens, and more. If you have a question about your science organization, you should contact Mass Cultural Council staff.
I see that the guidelines say that we need to have $50,000 in cash expenses for the last two years. We were under $50,000 for one year, but over $50,000 in the other year. Can we apply if we average $50,000 in cash expenses? Close Open
Sorry, no. You must have a minimum of $50,000 for each of the last two years, and you have to be over $50,000 during the grant period.
My organization just started 18 months ago. Can we apply? Close Open
Sorry, but no. You must have completed 2 years of public cultural programming before you can apply. You must have 2 years of financial information to report for the application.
We have donations of good or services that bring us up over $50,000. Can we apply? Close Open
Sorry, but no. You must have $50,000 of cash expenses in each of your last two fiscal years to be eligible.
We are a program at a college, and we don’t have our own board. Can we apply? Close Open
If you think you are a Cultural Affiliate, you should probably call Mass Cultural Council staff to discuss this. We know you won’t have your own board in the traditional sense—a board that has the legal responsibilities of a board. You do need to have an advisory board that functions in the other ways that a board functions. For example: participating in long-term planning, representing community concerns, helping you connect with the broader public.
We only have programs in the summer. I see the requirement for “year-round operations.” Are we eligible? Close Open
Possibly. We don’t require year-round programming. Many of our grantees only program during the summer, or from September through May. Year-round operations means that there is an organization that exists all year, planning, managing resources, responding to inquiries.
I have submitted the online application. Am I done? Close Open
No. You must complete the DataArts Funder Report for your most recently completed, audited or reviewed fiscal year. If you aren’t audited, you need to report based on your board approved most recent fiscal year.
Can I do the DataArts Cultural Data Profile later? Close Open
Sorry, no. You must submit the online application and the DataArts Funder Report by the application deadline. If you have completed your data entry, but haven’t ‘submitted a Funder Report”, you aren’t done yet. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.
Do we need multiple years of DataArts reports? What if we have skipped a year in our reports? Close Open
Not a problem. You only need one year of DataArts reports. If you have more, that’s great – it helps the panelists learn about you. It’s okay if you have skipped years in DataArts.
My password doesn’t work for DataArts Close Open
DataArts is a separate organization, with a separate website, login, and password. Please contact their staff for assistance: 877-707-DATA (877-707-3282) or email
firstname.lastname@example.org Other Application Requirements
You asked for an organization chart. We don’t have one. Close Open
You will need to create one for this application. There are lots of online resources to explain how to create an organization chart. Many of these resources are free. Microsoft Word has templates, which might be appropriate for your organization. Do an internet search for “organization chart”.
What do we do on a Site Visit? Close Open
The Site Visit is a chance for the review panelists to learn more about your organization. This is your chance to go into more depth than the application allowed. Perhaps you want to take us on a brief tour, or show us a little bit of programming. Mostly, we will sit and talk about your organization, your programming, your staff and board, and your finances. Be ready for in-depth questions about your finances, and your DataArts Funder Report.
How long is a Site Visit? Close Open
Typically about 2 to 3 hours.
We don’t have a site. Close Open
Not a problem. A Site Visit is simply a meeting with your organization. If you have your own facility, it is best if we meet you there, so we can learn more about you. If you don’t have a regular ‘site’ (perhaps your organization performs in many different locations), we can meet in your office, the Mass Cultural Council office, or any other mutually convenient location.
Who should attend the Site Visit? Close Open
You should have people in the room (or easily available) who can talk about the organization, its programs, its plans for the future, and its finances. It is up for you to decide who those people are.
This seems like a lot of work for $3000 for two years. Close Open
We agree. However, the Gateway grant is the ‘on ramp’ to the Portfolio, where we commit to funding you without requiring you to apply again. So, in these applications, the panel is moving you closer and closer to the Portfolio. We think that’s a pretty big responsibility, and should require a really comprehensive review of your organization
Our organization is small. How can we compete with big organizations? Close Open
Don’t worry about this. Each application is reviewed on its own merits, and scored against the review criteria. There are small organizations that are really well run, with clear purpose, good programs, good leadership, and powerful impact in their communities.
What does 1:1 match mean? Close Open
This means that you have to match the Gateway grant with at least $3,000 from other sources. Since you have income to support your organization, this shouldn’t be a problem. The match can be from earnings (tickets, tuitions, ad sales, concessions), or donations from other sources, such as individuals, businesses, or foundations. The only thing you can’t use for the match is money from another state source. So, the money that you received from your Local Cultural Council, or money from state contracts can’t count towards your match. The match doesn’t have to be from ‘new’ money.
Who reviews the applications? Close Open
The applications are reviewed by independent panelists. These people are not staff of the Mass Cultural Council. Most of them are employees of organizations that we already support, or they are other professionals in the arts and culture field that bring the necessary skills and experience to evaluate the applications. We make a best effort to ensure that each panel includes people with experience in a variety of artistic disciplines, from large and small organizations, who come from all over the state. We work to make sure that our panelists reflect the diversity of our communities. If you know someone who would be a great panelist, please contact us!
My organization is planning to apply to the Projects grant program. Can we apply to both Projects AND Gateway? Close Open
Yes, you can apply to both programs, but you will only get one grant. If your organization receives a Gateway grant, we will remove you from the applicant pool for Projects. It will never count against you to apply to both programs.
When will I find out if we got a grant? Close Open
You will hear from us around the beginning of September. We can’t give you an answer until the state budget is finalized, and the Mass Cultural Council meets in late August to approve funding recommendations.
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