Online Grant Application Available: March 3, 2014
Next Peers Application Deadline: May 5, 2014
The Massachusetts Cultural Council’s (MCC) Cultural Investment Portfolio (CIP) provides funding for organizations whose missions focus on the arts, humanities, or interpretive sciences. The CIP Peers category is designed for organizations who are new to MCC funding or who are not yet eligible for either the Colleagues or Partners categories. Applications to the Peer category are accepted every other year since grantees are awarded $2,500 per year for two years. Future Peers Application Deadlines: May 2016, May 2018, May 2020.
The Peer application process is competitive and proposals are reviewed by a panel of experts. The last application cycle we were able to support about 50% of the total pool. Please read the eligibility requirements, key review criteria, application process, and program overview of the CIP carefully to determine the potential competitiveness of your application before deciding to submit:
The MCC is aware that there are high quality arts and culture projects offered by organizations whose primary mission focuses on another area of the nonprofit sector (ex. social service agencies, public access media centers, community centers). In many cases these programs deliver tremendous value to residents of the Commonwealth and so these projects are also eligible for Peers funding. To be classified as a Peer, organizations must:
- Be legally recognized as 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
- Have completed two full years of public cultural programming in Massachusetts.
- Demonstrate public cultural program expenses of at least $10,000 cash in the most recently completed fiscal year.
- Have a formally articulated mission statement.
- Be governed by a board of directors that meets regularly to discuss policy, strategic direction, and resource development plans and ensure long-term sustainability.
- Demonstrate a commitment to providing physical and communications access.
The Peer category does not provide general operating support. All proposals must focus on a single project. Proposals not focused on a specific project will not be reviewed. The MCC believes that organizations know their own needs and should decide for themselves the project their application will focus on.
Applications will all be assessed against the following:
- Quality of the project (people involved, clear plan, specific goals, connection to mission)
- Value to the community (benefit to residents or defined target audience(s)
- Organization’s capacity to execute project (strong planning, needed resources, evaluation, timeline)
Use limited space available to demonstrate how the project successfully meets the review criteria. Some examples of projects include (but are not limited to):
- An artistic project/production/commission that offers new approaches to the discipline or work
- A project or initiative that engages new and/or underserved audiences
- A project to build your organization’s capacity for mission fulfillment (ex. development of a strategic plan, conducting market research, board development, creation of new revenue streams)
All Peer grantees are required to engage in one advocacy activity each year. Advocacy must be completed and reported by May 31, 2014. Learn More.
Peer grant recipients must complete a final report that asks specific questions about how funds were used. Reports must be completed at the end of both Year 1 and Year 2. Current Peer grantees must have the final report submitted by June 30, 2014.
Peers grants have a 1:1 match ($1 of your resources for every MCC dollar). A matching requirement means that the MCC is asking your organization to devote its own resources to support the activity outlined in the grant. For example, a $2,500 grant with a 1:1 match results in grant activity totaling $5,000: the $2,500 MCC grant plus $2,500 of your own cash income and expenses.
Peers grants must be a cash match only. Meaning in-kind goods and services cannot be put toward your matching requirement. The matching requirements for your grant can be found on page two of your contract.
In accordance with state law, the MCC recognizes the importance of diversity and equal opportunity in all aspects of its programs and activities. The MCC is committed to access, not only as a matter of state and federal law, but also as a policy designed to encourage the participation of all segments of the Commonwealth’s populations in MCC-funded programs. The MCC also considers low-income communities, rural populations, and citizens over 65 years old as underserved populations that should be proactively included in programs.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that persons with disabilities have access to public programs or services on an equal basis with the rest of the general public. Furthermore, federal law mandates that any programs or service that receives federal or state funding must be accessible to persons with disabilities. Therefore, all events and programs funded by the MCC must be accessible to persons with disabilities, including the facility or event location as well as the content of the program.
ACKNOWLEGEMENT OF FUNDING
Grant recipients are required to credit the Massachusetts Cultural Council in all print, audio, video and internet materials, and all publicity materials (such as press releases, brochures, posters, advertisements and web sites). Learn More.
- Review these guidelines and the CIP overview.
- Contact CIP Peer Program Officer, Eric D'Alessandro, to discuss eligibility, questions about the program, specific project ideas, or to read a draft of your narrative.
- Create an organizational profile to access the online application once it is available in March 2014.
(Please note: Usernames/Passwords used for Adams, Cultural Facilities Fund and/or previous Peers applications can all be used.)
- Click the "final submission" button of the online application by the deadline – Monday, May 5, 2014. The electronic component of your application will then be automatically received by the MCC.
The Peers application consists of a narrative and a summary budget. Applications are submitted electronically. You will have approximately three pages to answer the following questions:
- Provide a brief project description (include project objectives, describe connection to mission).
- Who are the key players involved and what are their qualifications(artists, scholars, educators, consultants)?
- What has been done to assess community need for aproject of this type?
- Who is/are your target audience(s)?
- How does this project benefit participants?
- Describe the plan to evaluate whether the project metdesired objectives/served desired audiences?
- Please provide a project timeline.
You will also be prompted to provide the following:
- Links to online information that guides reviewers to information about the organization and the project - including links to any web pages, YouTube videos, or other social media related to your project (if applicable).
- A project budget that clearly demonstrates all income and expenses associated with the proposed work.
- The most recent balance sheet/income statement for your entire organization.
Peers receive a set amount of $2,500 annually for a total of $5,000 distributed over 2 years. To ensure equity in the distribution of MCC funds statewide, adjustments to award assignments may be made at times on the basis of geographic distribution and to fulfill the MCC's commitment to reach underserved communities. Peers grants will be announced in September 2014. MCC staff will visit the peers funded projects when possible.
An applicant may request reconsideration of an MCC decision if the applicant can demonstrate that the MCC application process was not followed. Dissatisfaction with the denial of an award does not constitute grounds for reconsideration. A written request must be sent to the MCC's Executive Director within 30 days of the date of notification of the decision. Such requests will be reviewed by the MCC Grants Committee and the Board.
Reporting Requirements and Grant Cancellations
Be aware that the MCC has the right to withhold, reduce, or cancel grants if a grantee:
- Fails to comply with the terms of the grant contract.
- Does not notify the MCC of significant changes in the project and/or the organization involved.
- Is unable to raise the required match.
- Demonstrates inadequate financial oversight.
- Does not properly credit MCC support.
- Misses deadline for final report.
- Fails to attend - and subsequently report on - one cultural advocacy event annually.
CIP Peers Becoming Colleagues or Partners
Peer grants are intended as the entry point to the Cultural Investment Portfolio. Eligibility for movement into the general operating support pool is evaluated at the end of each two-year funding cycle. Organizations will only be moved to another category if funds allow. Peer grantees are encouraged to use the MA Cultural Data Project, but it is not a requirement. If you plan on making a move to another CIP category (Colleagues or Partners) you will want to begin participating in the Cultural Data Project early. Learn More.
To be eligible for movement:
- Peers must receive six grants through the program within eight years (you are not penalized for missing or being unsuccessful in one grant round).
- Organization must meet all eligibility requirements of the new category.
- The organization has to proactively request to be moved. Program officer must receive request in writing no later than February 28 of the second year of funding.
- A site visit will be conducted to assess organizational capacity prior to any move.
- The organization (if it hasn’t already done so) must have at least three profiles entered in the Massachusetts Cultural Data Project. Information must reflect most recent fiscal years for movement to be discussed.