Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund
About the Fund
Application and Program Guidelines
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Funded Projects
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About the Fund

The Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund (CFF) is an initiative of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The 2017 application guidelines are now available. The Fund was created as part of a major economic stimulus bill that was approved by the Massachusetts Legislature in July, 2006. The most recent capital budget appropriation to the Fund in FY2016 is $10 million. To date, the Fund has awarded $91.9 million in grants to 380 cultural organizations across Massachusetts.

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 Capital 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.

Fund Impact
Since 2007, CFF has made 692 grants to 380 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 Massachusetts Cultural Council in October 2015, Cultural Facilities Fund grantees reported:

  • 28.2 million visitors. Of these, 34% traveled more than 50 miles.
  • 8,172 full-time jobs and $372 million in wages and salaries.
  • 19,030 architects, engineers, contractors and construction workers working on Cultural Facilities Fund projects.
  • 1,958 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.

2015 CFF Annual Report (PDF)

Funded Projects

Program Administration
The Fund is administered through a collaborative arrangement between MassDevelopment and the Massachusetts 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 Massachusetts 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 Massachusetts 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

Marty Jones, President and CEO
Cultural Facilities Advisory Committee Chair

Allan Ditchfield
Independent Systems Consultant

Maeghan Silverberg Welford, Chief of Staff
Massachusetts Technology Collaborative

Margaret T. White, Special Projects Engineer
Town of Winchester

Joseph D. Steinfield, Partner
Prince Lobel Tye LLP

The Honorable James Ruberto, Former Mayor
City of Pittsfield

John C. Stowe, President and CEO

Anita Walker, Executive Director
Massachusetts Cultural Council

Ex-officio: Rich Doucette, Executive Director
Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism