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Festivals & Projects

Application Process

Festivals & Projects provides one-year grants of $2,500 to support publicly-available cultural activities taking place between July 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023.

How to Apply

  1. Read the program guidelines below and the FAQs.


  2. Watch a recorded info session or drop-in on our virtual office hours to ask staff questions. One-on-one support is also available.


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


  4. Create a user profile in the new grants management system. (See details under “Grants Management System” below.)


  5. Complete the online application which opens on October 25 and submit it by 11:59pm (ET) on December 15, 2022.


Questions? Email program staff or call 617-858-2821.

Program Guidelines

Program Description

For many of us in Massachusetts, cultural activities have been key to recovery during COVID-19. They build community, encourage cultural dialogue, promote diversity, and foster cohesion. Festivals & Projects provides one-year grants to support publicly-available cultural activities taking place between July 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023. These grants are meant to expand access to a wide range of cultural experiences and to support the sustainability of these events.

Program Eligibility

You have a project, festival, or activity that:

  • Is primarily focused on promoting access, diversity, or education in the arts, humanities, or interpretive sciences. (Refer to the FAQs for more guidance.)
  • Is available to the general public, whether via free or paid admission. Performances only open to university students, K-12 school groups, donors, members, or other limited audiences are not considered open to the general public. (Refer to the FAQs for more guidance.)
  • Takes place between July 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023.
  • Has a minimum project budget of $2,500 (including all indirect costs and overhead).
  • Takes place in Massachusetts, whether in person or virtually.
  • Is accessible to persons with disabilities.
  • Is not an event for a political candidate running for office.
  • Does not have the effect of advancing religion.
  • Does not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, disability, age, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

If you have any questions about whether your organization’s work is eligible for this grant, contact us before starting the application.

Applicant Eligibility

We encourage you to apply if 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, partnership, or Limited Liability Company (LLC) that is (1) privately owned by individuals, (2) has a Massachusetts address on the business’ Federal Business (Federal Form 1120) or Partnership Tax Return (Federal Form 1065), (3) has three or fewer locations.


Massachusetts state or municipal entity such as a Local Cultural Council, Cultural District, public library, recreational department, etc.


Massachusetts recognized non-profit whose federal tax-exempt status is currently active.

Each organization can only submit one application.

Organizations receiving funding from Mass Cultural Council’s Cultural Investment Portfolio (including Gateway) or YouthReach programs in FY23 are not eligible to apply.

Review Process

After the application period closes, Mass Cultural Council staff will review all applications to determine eligibility and accuracy of documentation provided. Mass Cultural Council will make every effort to ensure accuracy but cannot be held accountable for missing or incorrect information in the relevant sources.

If eligible applications exceed available funding, the Funding Prioritization and Geographic Distribution details below will be used to determine which applications will be funded.

Funding Prioritization: Mass Cultural Council seeks to broaden and diversify the range of persons who benefit from its grant programs. To that end priorities have been established that will seek to attract and provide funding under this program to entities and communities that may not have been, or had an equal opportunity to be, beneficiaries of Mass Cultural Council programs. Prioritization will include the following:

  • Applicants that have not received funding from Mass Cultural Council in FY23 or the last three fiscal years, or that are applying for the first time.
  • Applicants participating in the Agency’s Card to Culture program
  • Projects/events that are free to the public.
  • Applicants and projects that have been historically underfunded:
    • 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. Applicants wishing to make this BIPOC Centered Organization identification will need to fill out a form in the grants management system.
    • Projects/events in cities and towns that are below the state’s median household income and below statewide educational attainment. This includes but is not limited to places designated as Gateway Cities. A full list of these under-resourced communities is available.

Geographic Distribution: To ensure equitable geographic distribution, Mass Cultural Council will try to make sure that the number of grantees is proportionate to the number of applications from each region.

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.

In the event we cannot fund all eligible applications: After prioritization and geographic distribution have been applied, if several applications with the same prioritization factors are tied for the final available award(s), a lottery style randomization will be used to determine how the tie will be broken.


October 25, 2022: Application opens
November 8, 2022: Information session at noon.
December 15, 2022: Application deadline
March 2023: Awards finalized; email notifications sent
end of March, 2023: Contracts sent
July 14, 2023: Final report due

Grant Payment

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
  • W-9

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 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.

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.

Grant Requirements

  • 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.

Compliance with 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.

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.

Reconsideration Policy

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.

Proceed to the Online Application

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