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Application Instructions - Universal Participation Innovation Fund

Universal Participation (UP) Designated organizations are invited to apply starting October 2018.

The Universal Participation Innovation Fund provides $3,000 grants for innovative solutions for accessibility enhancements to organizations with UP Designation. Recipients of the grants agree to share outcomes of their funded project with the cultural sector. 

Innovative solutions are defined by the current practices of the Organization. The UP Innovation Fund is for projects and programs such as: new training modules for staff, board, and volunteers about inclusion; new methods of engaging user/experts to steward, inform, and facilitate program and policy development; new technological resources in communication or information strategies; new programs that facilitate expanded learning pedagogies; new programs that support artists, patrons, or staff with functional limitations.


  • Applicants must be UP Designated.
  • Organizations that are participating in the Innovation and Learning Network (ILN) at the time of application are not eligible.
  • Applicants may submit one application annually.

Review Criteria:
Projects should support the organization’s intent to learn, take action, and embrace inclusivity as a core institutional value and clearly align with one of the following behavioral categories:

  • Providing training about inclusive culture. Projects should support a new approach to increasing or supporting the engagement of board, staff, volunteers, designers and/or others taking part in the work of the organization.
  • Engaging user/experts to inform and inspire. Projects should expand upon the organization’s practice of engaging a variety of user/experts who can offer insights into what fails and what works as a reliable means of continuous improvement.
  • Coordinating and integrating a vision of inclusion throughout the entire organization.  Projects take a new approach to promoting the organization’s shared sense of purpose throughout the entire organization to ensure inclusion is woven into everything the organization does – marketing, planning, budgeting, fundraising and branding, etc.
  • Innovating. Projects should demonstrate a willingness to engage in trial and error based on new ideas, fresh insight, and creativity.  While the other categories support organizations taking an approach that is new to them, but might be an approach that others tried before, projects in this category should be new and innovative to the field of access and inclusion more broadly.

Grant Amounts:
Successful applicants receive a one-year grant of $3,000 to support activities that take place between October 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019. 

Grant Requirements:

  • Applications must meet the review criteria.
  • Applicants must provide final report detailing processes and outcomes of the project.  Final Reports are due August 31, 2019.
  • Applicants must share processes and outcomes of the project with the field through a newsletter, webinar, event, workshop, or other format to be determined and scheduled in collaboration with UP Program Officer, Charles G. Baldwin.

Application Process

  1. Create an organizational profile to access the online application.
    (Please note: Usernames/Passwords created for other Mass Cultural Council programs can be used.)
  2. Complete and submit the online application.

Join Mass Cultural Council's email list to receive future announcements regarding this program.

Questions? Contact Charles G. Baldwin, Program Officer, at 617-858-2739.

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