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Program Guidelines - Projects FY19

The guidelines for this program are being updated for the May 1, 2019 application deadline. The description below is for general information purposes. Please check the website for periodic updates and sign up for news with Power of Culture.

Organizations that receive funding as Portfolio or Gateway grantees are not eligible for this program. Organizations that received a Project Grant in FY18 may apply again.

Project grants for FY18 have been determined. The next application deadline is May 1, 2018, for projects taking place in from June 1, 2018 - June 30, 2019. The application will be available online no later than February 1, 2018.

Program Description
CIP Projects grants are one year grants for specific cultural public programming, and are not for general operating support. This is a one-year grant designed to support cultural public programming, and is an option for organizations and programs that are not eligible for CIP Gateway, or those simply looking for one-year project support. Organizations receiving Portfolio or Gateway funding in FY19 are not eligible for CIP Projects grants.

The CIP Gateway program is also accepting applications this year (due February 1, 2018). An organization may apply to both programs, but can only receive one grant. If the organization is awarded a Gateway grant, it will be removed from the Projects pool. Each application review is a separate process, and applying for both grants will have no impact on the outcome.

Projects grantees receive a grant of $2,500 for a specific project. Applications to CIP Projects are accepted annually.

The information below is a summary of the CIP Projects Program, and is not expected or intended to be all inclusive. Please refer to the CIP FY19 Guidelines (PDF) for complete information.

Sample Application available.

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Information Sessions
Information sessions for the Gateway and Projects programs will be scheduled for November/December 2017, followed by a webinar for Gateway in January 2018, and a webinar for Projects in March 2018.

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CIP Projects provides restricted project support to organizations and programs with public cultural programming that benefits Massachusetts residents. This support is available to the following:

  • Massachusetts recognized 501(c)3 organizations which are in good standing in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (see guidelines).

  • Programs under a federal, state, or local entity/municipality.

  • Unincorporated associations, or organizations that are eligible to be federally tax exempt, 501(c)3 nonprofit but have not attained this status may apply using a fiscal agent. Applicants considering a fiscal agent are required to consult with Mass Cultural Council staff about their chosen fiscal agent before submitting their application. (See the guidelines for more detail.) Applicants must submit the Fiscal Agent form with their application.

  • Download the Fiscal Agent form. (PDF Format requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.)


Applicants must:

  • Have minimum annual cultural programming cash expenses of $10,000

  • Have completed a minimum of two full years of public cultural programming in Massachusetts

  • Not receive a Cultural Investment Portfolio or Gateway grant in the same grant year
    • Note: A Parent Organization of a CIP Cultural Affiliate may also have one Project applicant or grantee. The $25,000 parent maximum for combined Cultural Affiliates still applies.

  • Be in compliance with state and federal regulations which bar discrimination on the basis of race, gender, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, disability, age, or sexual orientation, and which require accessibility for persons with disabilities. Specifically:

To be eligible, a Project must:

  • Have minimum project cash expenses of $5,000.

  • For FY18, projects must occur, and eligible expenses be incurred, between June 1, 2018 - June 30, 2019. This is a change from past years, where projects had to take place only during the Mass Cultural Council’s fiscal year of July 1 – June 30.
  • In general, a Project grant supports a specific, connected set of activities, with a beginning and an end, explicit objectives, and a predetermined cost. For example: a distinct aspect of the organization’s cultural activities, such as a one-time event; a single production; an exhibition; an educational seminar; or series of related arts activities, such as art classes or training sessions. A Project may be a one-time activity or a program that is repeated for multiple years.

The following types of activities are not eligible for CIP Projects grants:

  • Projects that are the complete public programmatic activity of the applicant.

  • Fundraising activities, strategic planning, and capacity building activities.

  • Projects designed to create a surplus or profit for the organization.
  • Programming outside of Massachusetts.

  • Capital expenditures: A capital expense is defined as an item, or group of items, with a life expectancy of more than three years and a total cost of more than $500. Examples include equipment, such as lighting or sound equipment, new construction or the renovation of a cultural facility.

  • Competitions where the sole purpose of the program is to adjudicate cultural work by individuals or other organizations.
  • Projects that are the work of an individual artist.

  • Projects that present work exclusively for or by students as part of the activities of a college, university, or school. While some of the project may be student-focused, there must be a majority percentage of the project that serves the greater community outside of the school.

  • Applications where the purpose is to “re-grant” or award funds using some or all of the Mass Cultural Council Project grant in the form of scholarships or other prizes.
  • Other projects that do not meet the Mass Cultural Council’s definition of public programming, or a ‘project’ (see description above).

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Review Criteria

Project applications will be assessed according to the following criteria:

  • Quality of the project
    • Project description, clear plan, specific goals (15 points)
    • Relevance to mission and core programming (15 points)
  • Public value
    • Benefit to community served, including cultural community and defined target audiences (25 points)
    • Efforts and success in reaching out to diverse communities, such as ethnically and economically diverse, rural, elderly, veterans, and people with disabilities (10 points)
  • Organization’s capacity to execute project
    • Appropriate staff to develop and implement project (10 points)
    • Financial capability (clearly defined budget, budget narrative, organization capacity) (10 points)
    • Evidence of strong planning (timeline, marketing, evaluation, past success) (15 points)

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Grant Requirements

  • Project Grantees must submit a Final Report.

  • Advocacy: All Projects grantees are required to engage in an advocacy activity each year. Advocacy must be completed and reported by June 1, 2018 (11:59PM ET). Learn more about Advocacy Requirements.

  • Match: All CIP, Gateway, and Project grants are subject to a 1:1 Match Requirement. Matching funds may include earned revenue or private funds donated to the grantee. The following may not be used as matching funds: In-kind contributions. The match for Project grants may be from the applicant’s reserves, or other operating support.

  • Acknowledgement of Funding: Grant recipients are required to credit the Mass Cultural Council for funding.  Refer to Attachment D of your Contract Package or the online Credit and Publicity Kit for more details. You will be asked to confirm compliance with the Mass Cultural Council's Credit and Publicity Agreement when you report your advocacy activities.

  • Accessibility: The 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. The Mass Cultural Council’s grantees sign a contract certifying that they will comply with ADA and Section 504. The 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 information about accessibility are available on the Mass Cultural Council's website.

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Contract Holds, Penalties, and Restrictions
The Mass Cultural Council may apply a contract hold, penalty, or restriction if the grantee is not in compliance with necessary grant requirements. Grantees that do not meet annual requirements may not be eligible in subsequent grant years. Please see the full guidelines for details.

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Application and Grant timeline

Application Forms Online

Feb. 1, 2018

Application Deadline

May 1, 2018, 11:59 PM EDT

Notification to Applicants

Sept. 2018

For FY19 Project grantees:

FY19 Contract Due

Jan. 31, 2019

Final Report Due                  

June 1, 2019, 11:59 PM EDT
An exception can be made for projects taking place during June 2019.

Future Application Deadlines


Annually in the Spring

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Reconsideration Policy
An applicant may request reconsideration of an Mass Cultural Council decision if the applicant can demonstrate that the Mass Cultural Council did not follow published guidelines and procedures. Dissatisfaction with the denial of an award does not constitute grounds for reconsideration. A written request must be sent to the Mass Cultural Council's Executive Director within 30 days of the date of notification of the decision. Such requests will be reviewed by the Mass Cultural Council Grants Committee and the Council.

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

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Support & Resources

Sara S. Glidden, Program Manager
CIP Projects, 617-858-2710

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Proceed to the Online Application

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