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BAMS festival. Image by Jen Vesp.


Application Process

Projects grants provide a 1-year grant to support cultural projects that benefit the public. In order to respond to the unique needs of the cultural sector during these challenging times, applicants can either apply for a project grant for public programming OR for capacity building. Unlike CIP Portfolio and Gateway grants, these awards do not provide general operating support. Projects grants are $2,500 to support a specific project.

A cultural organization is not eligible for a Projects grant if it will receive Portfolio or Gateway funding in FY22.

How to Apply

  1. Read the program guidelines below and FAQs. Download a sample application (PDF) and examples of previously-funded projects (PDF).


  2. Watch a recorded information session and download the slide deck (PDF).


  3. Learn more about requesting an accommodation for accessibility or requesting translation services​.


  4. Check to see if you already have a user profile in the new grants management system. (We moved many user profiles over from our previous system, so before registering, make sure you aren’t already in the system. See details under “New Grants Management System” below.)


  5. Complete and submit the online application by November 16, 2021 at 11:59pm (ET).


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


FY22 Program Guidelines

Applicant Eligibility

Who can apply?

  • Massachusetts organizations with a 501(c)3 designation with the Internal Revenue Service which is currently active
  • Programs under a federal, state, or local government
  • Applicants using a fiscal agent: Massachusetts based unincorporated group/association with a non-profit objective, or a Massachusetts based corporation in the process of obtaining a 501(c)3 designation.
    • Fiscal agents can either be municipal entities or non-profit entities incorporated in Massachusetts or registered as a foreign corporation doing business in Massachusetts.
    • If you are thinking about using a fiscal agent, you are encouraged to talk with Mass Cultural Council staff before you submit your application.

To be eligible to apply, your organization must:

Note: An organization may only apply for one Projects grant per cycle. A Parent Organization of a CIP Cultural Affiliate funded in CIP Portfolio or Gateway programs may also apply to Projects for a project that is separate from the Cultural Affiliate. The maximum total combined grant amount of $30,000 to any Parent Organization still applies.

Project Eligibility

  • Your project must have minimum cash expenses of $2,500 to qualify for a grant. Your application should only include the cash expenses. You can describe in-kind goods and services in the text, but do not include them in the budget.
  • Your project must take place between June 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022. You can start planning or spending before June 1, but do not include those costs in your application. Make sure that you explain this.
  • Your project may be in-person, virtual, broadcast/streaming, or a combination of these.
  • All eligible applicants may apply for a project grant for:
    • Public Programming: programs and events, whether in-person or virtual. Examples include projects in the arts, humanities, or interpretive sciences, such as performances, education programs, or events.
  • Applicants with a primary mission in the arts, humanities, or interpretive sciences can choose to apply for in internally focused project instead to enhance their ability to provide public benefit:
    • Capacity Building: Projects that improve organizational effectiveness in support of mission.  Examples include investment in staff training and supplies so that the organization can produce virtual/online programs; developing health protocols for welcoming employees and the public back into your physical spaces, investment in staff capacity to help an organization be effective in changed settings, such as DEIA (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Access) training, investing in IT infrastructure such has hardware and software, planning activities, including strategic planning, fund development, and communications/marketing, other work that enables the applicant to improve its ability to serve its mission.

Public Programming: Your eligible project must meet these guidelines:

  • Your project must have the goal of providing access, excellence, diversity, or education in the arts, humanities, or interpretive sciences.
  • The project is the work of an organization, not an individual.
  • If your project is for in-person programming, you must have a plan for it to be delivered virtually if state guidelines do not permit in-person events.
  • Projects grants support a specific, connected set of activities. These activities have a beginning and an end, explicit objectives, and a set cost. This might be an aspect of the organization’s cultural activities, such as a one-time event; a single production; an exhibition; a workshop; or series of related arts activities, such as art classes or training sessions. A project may be a one-time activity. Or it can be a program that you repeat for multiple years.

Capacity Building: For applicants whose primary mission is arts, sciences, or humanities, your eligible project must meet these guidelines:

  • The project is for Capacity building for the organization, not for professional development for individual employees.
  • The goal of the project is to add skills, knowledge, or other resources to improve the organization’s ability to deliver future programming.

The following types of activities are NOT ELIGIBLE for Projects grants:

  • Fundraising events.
  • Programming outside of Massachusetts.
  • Capital expenses: A capital expense is defined as an item, or group of items, with a life expectancy of more than three years and a cost of more than $1,000. Examples include equipment, such as lighting or sound equipment, new construction, or the renovation of a cultural facility. Supplies, and small equipment purchases (items under $1,000) are allowed.
  • Competitions where the sole purpose of the program is to judge cultural works.
  • Projects that are for or by students as part of the activities of a college or school. Some of the project may be student-focused, but most of it must serve the greater community outside of the school.
  • Applications where the purpose is to “re-grant” or award funds using some or all of the Projects grant in the form of scholarships or other prizes. If you are giving cash prizes, do not include this in your project budget.
  • Religious organizations or groups with a religious affiliation are eligible to apply for funding of cultural programming that is available to the general public, primarily cultural in intent, and does not have the effect of advancing religion.
  • Other projects that do not meet the definition of Public Programming, Capacity Building, or a ‘project’ (see description above). If you are not sure about your project, you should contact us.

Review Criteria

Your application will be reviewed by an independent panel. It will be scored according to the following criteria:

  • The project is clearly defined. (20%)
  • The project goals are clear, and the project is appropriately designed to meet its goals. (20%)
  • The organization shows that they have the capacity to complete the project. (15%)
  • The project has at least one strategy for promoting diversity, equity, inclusion and/or access with a specific goal that is measurable, achievable, and appropriate to the project. (15%)
  • The applicant has not received a Projects grant before. (10%)
  • The applicant’s mission is primarily focused on (20%):
    • Presenting, promoting, and/or preserving the cultural traditions, art, history, and creative expression of people of color, women, people with disabilities, veterans, people who are LGBTQIA+, under-resourced rural communities, and members of other historically underrepresented and underfunded groups, or,
    • Advancing and/or supporting artists who are people of color, women, people with disabilities, veterans, LGBTQIA+, and members of other underrepresented and underfunded groups.

Geographic distribution: To ensure geographic diversity, grants will be awarded by region in proportion to the region’s application demand. The regions are as follows:

  • Greater Boston
  • Central
  • MetroWest
  • Northeast
  • Southeast
  • Western

For example, if applications from the Southeast region make up 15% of the total applications received, the Southeast region will be allocated roughly 15% of the grants made.

Within each region, awards will be made to eligible applicants based on the score their application received using the above criteria.

Award Amount and Funding Period

We will make awards of $2,500. There is no match requirement.

This is a one-year grant for Fiscal Year 2022, which ends on June 30, 2022.

Grant Requirements


You must engage in an advocacy activity. Complete the requirement and report it in your Final Report. Learn more about Advocacy Requirements.

Reporting Requirements

Projects grantees must submit a final report by June 30, 2022.

Acknowledgement of Funding

Grant recipients are required to credit Mass Cultural Council for funding. Attachment D of your contract package and the online Credit and Publicity Kit have more details.

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 based on 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 comply 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.

Contract Holds, Penalties, and Restrictions
Mass Cultural Council may apply a contract hold, penalty, or restriction if you are not in compliance with necessary grant requirements. You might not be able to apply for grants in the future if you do not meet your grant requirements.

Reconsideration Policy

An applicant may request reconsideration of a Mass Cultural Council decision on their application if the applicant can demonstrate that Mass Cultural Council failed to follow published application and review procedures. Dissatisfaction with the results of a review does not constitute grounds for reconsideration.

The first step in the reconsideration process is to consult with the appropriate program staff to discuss the review process that concluded in Mass Cultural Council’s decision. If the applicant wishes to pursue a reconsideration, a request must be sent to Mass Cultural Council’s Executive Director, in writing, within 30 days of Mass Cultural Council’s notification to the applicant of its decision.


Application Forms Online September 21, 2021
Information Session October 6, 2021
Office Hours for Applicants October 5-15, 2021
Application Deadline November 16 at 11:59pm (ET)
Notification to Applicants TBD

For FY22 Projects grantees:

FY21 Contracts Mailed week of January 17, 2022
FY21 Contract Due March 17, 2022
Final Report Due June 30, 2022, 11:59pm (ET)
An exception can be made for projects taking place during late June 2022.
Future Application Deadlines TBD

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

New Grants Management System

All applicants should submit their applications through the online system.

  1. Check to see if you already have a user profile in the grants management system:
    • Go to the online application.
    • Click “Forgot Password”.
    • Once you submit your email address, you will receive an email with a temporary password and a link to the site.
    • Copy the password to use on the login page, you will then be prompted to create a new password.
  1. If you do not already have a user profile, complete a registration in the grants management system:
    • Register as an Organization. You will select your organization using a search field or add it if it is not listed. The organization is the applicant and grantee and you are the primary contact for the application.

Proceed to the Online Application

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