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Backstage tour of Boston Ballet's Nutcracker. Image: Liza Voll Photography

LEAD Professional Development Grants

Application Process

Through Mass Cultural Council’s Universal Participation (UP) Initiative, this professional development grant provides $1,000 to UP Designated organizations to support their attendance and participation in the 2022 Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability (LEAD®) Conference.

How to Apply

  1. Read the program guidelines (below).


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


  3. 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.)


  4. Complete and submit the online application by February 10, 2022 at 11:59pm (ET).


If you have questions or would like feedback on a draft application, contact Charles G. Baldwin, Program Officer.

FY22 Program Guidelines


Hosted by the Kennedy Center, the LEAD® Conference “brings experienced and new professionals together to explore practical methods for implementing accessibility in cultural environments. LEAD®  has become the epicenter of arts and disability and is one of the best places to share resources and knowledge, develop best practices, and experience accessibility in action.”

The 2022 LEAD® full conference will take place August 1-5 in Raleigh, North Carolina.


Non-profit organizations that offer public programming in the arts, humanities, or sciences in Massachusetts with a current UP Designation at the time of application may apply.

  • One application for one person per UP Designated organization is eligible for funding.
  • UP Designated organizations must agree to pay all the remaining costs for one employee or board member to attend the 2022 LEAD® Conference.
  • Applicants must be in good standing for all UP Initiative final reports (Innovation Learning Network, Innovation Fund, Designation) and all other Mass Cultural Council grant programs.

If organizations are participating in the Innovation and Learning Network (ILN) and do not have a current UP Designation at the time of the application, then they are not eligible to apply.

Grant Awards and Funding Period

Through this competitive application process, Mass Cultural Council anticipates awarding up to 10 grants to eligible UP Designated organizations.

  • The grant award amount is $1,000.
  • The organization’s required “match” = All related conference and travel costs that exceed $1,000.

Use of Funds

Grant funds must be used for expenses for one current employee or board member to attend the 2022 LEAD® Conference.

  • An eligible organization may elect to send a team to take advantage of the conference team rate; however, the grant award amount of $1,000 will not change.

Review Process and Criteria

Grant applications will be reviewed by Mass Cultural Council staff in the order received according to the eligibility requirements.

To ensure geographic diversity, grants will be awarded to eligible applicants according to the application submission date by county. The physical address of the organization will be used for an organization’s county assignment.

Priority will be given to organizations that did not receive a UP professional development grant to attend LEAD® in 2019. Awards will be made first to those organizations that did not receive the award in previous years. If there are funds remaining, then grants will be awarded to past recipients in the order received according to county.

Grant Timeline

Application Deadline: February 10, 2022
Award Notification (Email): March 1, 2022
Contract Package Sent: March 18, 2022
Grant Contract Due: April 8, 2022
Grant Payments: Payments are typically released within four weeks of contract approval
LEAD® Conference: August 1 – 5, 2022
Final Report Due: September 9, 2022
Post-Conference Attendee Activity: Fall 2022

Grant Requirements

Recipients of LEAD® Professional Development grants are required to:

  • Pay all remaining related expenses for their employee or board member to attend the 2022 LEAD® Conference.
    • Selected participants should not be asked to use their personal funds and employees should not be required to use leave time (vacation/ personal time) to attend.
  • Participate in a post-conference sharing activity.
    • Attendees will share their experience at the 2022 conference with the broader cultural field (what they learned or what change they will make as a result of their attendance etc.)
    • A variety of methods for sharing this experience may be elected, such as, Innovation Learning Network sessions, office hours, or workshops, webinars, newsletters, blog posts, or other social media.
    • This activity will be determined and scheduled in collaboration with UP Program Officer in Fall 2022.
  • Submit a final report to the Mass Cultural Council no later than September 9 2022.

Failure to complete the final report will result in loss of eligibility for Mass Cultural Council grant programs until the final report has been received.

Mass Cultural Council has the right to withhold, reduce, or cancel grants if a project:

  • Fails to comply with the terms of the grant contract.
  • Fails to meet reporting requirements.

As a condition of funding, all Mass Cultural Council grantees are required to follow the following policies described below.

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.

Contracts & Grant Payments

Grant payments are made electronically 45 days from the date that Mass Cultural Council receives the completed contract package.

All components must be correct and up to date to be considered complete.

Mass Cultural Council is forced to follow strict fiscal year spending rules. As a result, any grantee that fails to submit their contract materials by May 4, 2022 will risk forfeiting their payment.

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. All the UP Designated organizations are already in the system.


Contact Charles G. Baldwin, Program Officer.

Proceed to the Online Application

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