About the Fund
The Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund (CFF) is an initiative of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Fund was created as part of a major economic stimulus bill that was approved by the Massachusetts Legislature in July, 2006. Since then, $100 million has been awarded to cultural facilities in the Commonwealth.
The goal of the Cultural Facilities Fund is to increase investments from both the public sector and the private sector to support the sound planning and development of cultural facilities in Massachusetts.
The Fund provides grants to promote the acquisition, design, repair, rehabilitation renovation, expansion, or construction of nonprofit cultural facilities in Massachusetts. All grants from the Fund must be matched with cash contributions from the private or public sector.
Eligible applicants include nonprofit cultural organizations and (subject to some limitations) municipalities and institutions of higher education that own cultural facilities.
Applicants are encouraged to consider submitting new projects in urban or village centers that will have a transformative impact in the area immediately surrounding the project by creating opportunities for additional investment and partnerships.
Since 2007, CFF has made 772 grants to 432 cultural organizations
and communities to build, repair, and expand their facilities.
It has supported projects across the state, in communities as
diverse as Pittsfield and Provincetown. It has helped major tourist
attractions like Plimoth Plantation and Mass MoCA leverage millions
of private dollars to draw more visitors to Massachusetts. And it has also enabled smaller non-profits such as the volunteer-run Marblehead Little Theatre to offset the cost of essential expansion and accessibility improvements to achieve ADA compliance in a renovated 19th-century firehouse.
These cultural institutions are major economic engines for the
Commonwealth. According to a detailed survey conducted by the
Mass Cultural Council in October 2017, Cultural Facilities
Fund grantees reported:
- Over 16 million visitors. Of these, 33% traveled more than 50 miles.
- 7,017 full-time jobs and $421 million in wages and salaries.
- 25,513 architects, engineers, contractors and construction workers working on Cultural Facilities Fund projects.
- 2,168 new permanent jobs projected in Massachusetts as a result of Cultural Facilities Fund projects.
CFF also leverages private investment. Grantees are required
to raise a 1:1 dollar match from the private sector before they
can access CFF funds.
Cultural organizations of every size benefit from CFF: More than half of these grants go to nonprofit organizations with budgets of less than $1 million.
CFF supports working artists: From Provincetown's Fine Arts Work Center, to the Essex Arts Center in Lawrence and the Maud Morgan Visual Arts Center in Cambridge, CFF grants have created and restored vital studio, rehearsal, and performance spaces.
CFF supports arts education: Every day children and teens explore their creativity and learn about the arts, history and sciences in buildings restored with CFF grants. These include child-centered spaces at the Discovery Museums in Acton, Springfield's Community Music School, and the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst; and buildings that house nationally renowned programs for vulnerable adolescents such as RAW Artworks in Lynn, and Shakespeare & Co. in the Berkshires.
CFF benefits every region of the Commonwealth: Seven out of every ten grants awarded since CFF began in 2007 have gone to cultural organizations outside Greater Boston.
Annual Report (PDF)
The Fund is administered through a collaborative arrangement between MassDevelopment and Mass Cultural Council. A Governor-appointed Cultural Facilities Fund Advisory Committee advises on the operation of the Fund.
MassDevelopment has authority on all matters of Fund administration, including final approval of all grant decisions.
The Mass Cultural Council is responsible for managing most aspects of the grant review process, through a contractual relationship with MassDevelopment. This includes distributing guidelines for the program, offering technical assistance to applicants, and reviewing grant applications.
The Cultural Facilities Advisory Committee is responsible for advising MassDevelopment on the management and operation of the Fund. The Committee consists of nine members, six appointed by the Governor, plus the President and CEO of MassDevelopment, and the Executive Directors of the Mass Cultural Council, and the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism. The six members appointed by the Governor represent six different geographic regions of the state, as called for in the statute.
Advisory Committee Members
Lauren Liss, President and CEO
Cultural Facilities Advisory Committee Chair
Maeghan Silverberg Welford, Chief of Staff
Massachusetts Technology Collaborative
John C. Stowe, President and CEO
Anita Walker, Executive Director
Mass Cultural Council
Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism
Michael Halperson, Chief Executive Officer
Margaret A. Miller