Cultural Sector Recovery Grants for Organizations
Mass Cultural Council’s Cultural Sector Recovery Grants for Organizations offers unrestricted grants ranging from $5,000-$75,000 to Massachusetts cultural organizations, collectives, and businesses negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
How to Apply
Read the program guidelines (below) and FAQs.
Register in our grants management system (or check to see if you already have a user profile).
Optional: If your organization is led by and serves the people of the global majority — Black, Indigenous, People of Color, Latinx, Asian, Native American, Pacific Islander, and all other ethnicities of color — complete the BIPOC-Centered Organization Self-Identification Form. (See “Prioritization Categories” below.)
Complete the online application, which opens on August 8, 2022. Submit it before the application deadline on September 28, 2022, at 11:59pm (ET).
Questions? Contact Mass Cultural Council Staff.
Cultural Sector Recovery Grants for Organizations provides unrestricted support to Massachusetts cultural organizations, collectives, and businesses negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Culture is a major contributor to economic growth and opportunity in Massachusetts and cultural organizations have suffered staggering losses due to the pandemic and related closures. An investment in the recovery of cultural organizations is an investment in the economic recovery of the Commonwealth.
Cultural Sector Recovery Grants for Organizations will range from $5,000 to $75,000. Mass Cultural Council reserves the right to change these ranges based on the volume of requests received. These funds were appropriated through Chapter 102 of the Acts of 2021, An Act relative to immediate COVID-19 recovery needs.
We encourage you to apply if:
- Your organization is fully cultural. Your group/collective/organization’s primary mission or purpose is creating and/or presenting cultural activities or services to the cultural sector in the arts, humanities, and interpretive sciences. These cultural activities are publicly available and/or community-based. This can be expressed by your mission statement if you have one, and the work that you do.
- For this program, “publicly available” means any cultural activity that is available to the general public by paid or free admission.
- For this program, “community-based” means any cultural activity that focuses on serving the needs of a geographic community, ethnic heritage, or cultural tradition and may include events, education, performances, conservation, or cultural revitalization efforts.
- Your group/collective/organization is a:
- Federally or state-recognized tribe or an Urban Indian organization, with ties to the land that is currently known as “Massachusetts”.
- Fiscally-sponsored organization with a Massachusetts address that conducts the majority of your programming in Massachusetts. This means you are an unincorporated organization with a non-profit objective, or an incorporated organization in the process of getting your federal tax-exempt status.
- For-profit corporation, cooperative, partnership or LLC that is (1) privately owned by individuals, (2) has a Massachusetts address on the business’ Federal Business or Partnership Tax Return, and (3) has three or fewer locations.
- Massachusetts recognized non-profit whose federal tax-exempt status is currently active.
- Special Guidance:
- Sole proprietorships are encouraged to apply as individuals, through Cultural Sector Recovery Grants for Individuals.
- Organizations without pre-pandemic operating expenses (established on or after March 31, 2020) are eligible to apply for funding.
Organizations are ineligible and should not apply if they are:
- Schools and degree-granting institutions (K-12, colleges, universities, including programs operating within a school)
Application Submission Instructions
Your application must be filled out and submitted along with attachments as stated in “Required Documentation” (listed below) through Mass Cultural Council’s online application. Hard copies or electronic files submitted in any other way, such as mailed in or emailed, will not be considered. If you need assistance with the online application, please contact staff.
Please be prepared to provide the following for your application:
- Selected pages of your federal tax forms for FY19, FY20, and FY21.
- Non-profits: This is your federal form 990 or 990EZ. If you file a 990-N, follow the directions for fiscally sponsored organizations.
- For-profits: This is your federal form 1120 or 1065.
- For fiscally-sponsored organizations, and programs of municipalities and Tribal Governments, provide a statement of income and expenses for FY19, FY20, and FY21, and a balance sheet if you have them. This can be a Profit & Loss statement, or it can be an Excel file, a report from your accounting software, or other internal documents that show your income and expenses for the listed years.
Review and Award Process
After the application period closes, Mass Cultural Council staff will review all applications to determine eligibility. Staff will make award recommendations to the governing Council based upon eligibility criteria and preference prioritization. The review will be based on information provided by applicants and verified by staff. Mass Cultural Council will make every effort to ensure accuracy but cannot be held accountable for missing or incorrect information in the relevant sources. Mass Cultural Council will administer all grant payments.
Grant amounts will be determined by a formula based on the number of eligible applicants, an organization’s pre-pandemic operating expenses, and the “Prioritization Categories” listed below. For organizations established on or after March 31, 2020, the lack of pre-pandemic financial statements will not prevent them from getting a grant.
- First-time applicants or applicants that have not received funding from Mass Cultural Council in the last three fiscal years. Read the FAQs to learn more.
- Applicants that are located in cities and towns that are below the state’s median household income and below statewide educational attainment (the percentage of adults who have attained at least a bachelor’s degree).
This includes but is not limited to places designated as Gateway Cities. A full list of these under-resourced communities is available.
- Applicants that self-identify as led by and serving people of the global majority — Black, Indigenous, People of Color, Latinx, Asian, Native American, Pacific Islander, and all other ethnicities of color. Organizations wishing to make this identification will need to fill out a BIPOC-Centered Organization Self-Identification Form in the grants management system.
- Applicants that received little to no other state and federal COVID-19 relief funds. Refer to the FAQs for a list of these programs.
- Applicants that have demonstrated economic need as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Applicants that have demonstrated impact on job creation in Massachusetts.
- Applicants that have demonstrated impact on tourism in Massachusetts.
This program is funded through state pandemic monies made available to the cultural sector via Chapter 102 of the Acts of 2021, An Act relative to immediate COVID-19 recovery needs. Mass Cultural Council seeks to award these one-time funds to as many eligible recipients as possible to assist the economic recovery of the cultural sector. As such, while reviewing applications, we will take into account funding you may have already received from an earmark or another state program, authorized from this Act.
Depending on the volume of requests received, Mass Cultural Council reserves the right to deprioritize, adjust the grant amount of, or exclude the following applicants:
- Organizations that have received a direct earmark through Chapter 102 of the Acts of 2021, An Act relative to immediate COVID-19 recovery needs.
- Organizations that did not experience a negative financial impact due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Organizations that received Cultural Organization Economic Recovery Grant/Supplemental Economic Recovery Grants awarded by Mass Cultural Council. Refer to the FAQs for a list.
In order to receive the funds awarded through this program, grantees must complete the following documentation, and print, sign, and return originals by mail to Mass Cultural Council:
- State Contract and attachments
- Electronic Funds Transfer Form
All the necessary documents will be emailed to grantees to complete. Grantees who do not have a bank account that the funds can be transferred to can notify the Contract Officer at the time of award notification in order to request a mailed check. Grantees using a fiscal agent will not be paid directly, the fiscal agent will complete the contract and receive the payment on the grantees’ behalf.
Please be aware, grants may be considered taxable income and individuals should seek guidance from their tax professionals/accountants about tax and reporting requirements.
Electronic deposits will be made to the grantee’s account (or a check will be mailed) 20 – 45 days after the grantee returns their contract. Mass Cultural Council will make every effort to expedite payments as quickly as possible.
Use of Funds
Funds for this program are considered unrestricted operation support and may be used for, but are not limited to
- direct financial support to assist with staffing, occupancy, program expenses, and other operational needs.
- facility upgrades, including costs associated with programmatic adaptation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- technology and infrastructure costs for safe reopening of facilities.
These grant funds may not be used to pay expenses if another source of financial aid has paid that same expense.
Compliance with Federal Funds, Laws and Regulations
Mass Cultural Council and its grantees are contractually committed to abide by state and federal regulations which bar discrimination on the basis of race, gender, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, disability, age, gender identity, or sexual orientation, and which require accessibility for persons with disabilities. Mass Cultural Council’s grantees sign a contract 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 provide for both the public and the grantee. Resources and additional are available as part of Mass Cultural Council’s Access Policy.
- Final Report
Grantees will be expected to complete a simple final report describing the use of their grant funds by July 14, 2023, for legislative reporting and advocacy purposes.
- Acknowledgement of Funding
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.
Application opens: August 8, 2022
Information sessions: August 10 or August 11, 2022
Application deadline: September 28, 2022
Awards finalized; email notifications sent: Late January 2023
Contracts sent: February 2023
Final report deadline: July 14, 2023
Legal and Other Requirements
Accessibility and Non-Discrimination Policy
Mass Cultural Council is committed to ensuring that all programs, services, policies, and practices are 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 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, and does not discriminate on the basis of these attributes. We strive to reflect diversity in all activities, programs and services by removing any barriers to accessibility.
Mass Cultural Council is happy to offer alternative formats, auxiliary aids, and services necessary so that any individual can participate in Mass Cultural Council’s programs and services. Contact staff for help. To facilitate your request in a timely manner, please contact us at least two weeks before any Mass Cultural Council event or grant deadline. Please read the full Access Policy for more information.
An applicant may request reconsideration of a Mass Cultural Council decision on their application if the applicant can demonstrate that the 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 the Mass Cultural Council’s decision. If the applicant wishes to pursue a reconsideration, a request must be sent to the Mass Cultural Council’s Executive Director, in writing, within 30 days of the Mass Cultural Council’s notification to the applicant of its decision.
Grants Management System
All applicants should submit their applications through the online system. To create a profile in the system you must have an email address, which will be your username.
If you have not applied to Mass Cultural Council before and/or do not already have a user profile, complete a registration in the grants management system.
- Go to the online system and click “Register”.
- On the next page select “Organization” to register your organization, school, town, or other group.
- Your organization may already have a record in the system. Use the Organization name field to find and select your organization, then provide your contact information.
- If your organization’s name is not listed, click the link at the top of the page to register your organization manually. There you will also provide your own contact information as well.
- After completing the registration, you should receive an email to activate your account. The account must be activated within 24 hours. After clicking the activation link, you will be prompted to create a new 8-digit password.
If you have previously applied for a Mass Cultural Council grant using your email address, you may have a profile in the system already. Here’s how you can check to see if you already have a user profile:
- Go to the online system and 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.
- If you do not receive an email, you do not have an account and you should create one (see above), or you can contact the grants help desk for assistance.