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Feasibility & Technical Assistance Grant Program 2015

Goals of the Feasibility & Technical Assistance Grants Program
The planning and construction of cultural facilities can be complex. The purpose of the Feasibility & Technical Assistance Grants is to help managers and board members of cultural organizations get the objective information and analysis they need before they commit their organization's energies and financial resources to a facilities project.

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Types of Projects Funded
Organizations that are contemplating an Eligible Project may apply for funds to support pre-implementation planning - research, fact-finding and analysis that can help them make more informed decisions about their facilities development effort.
Types of planning and technical assistance may include, but are not necessarily limited to: market studies; capital campaign feasibility studies; systems replacement plans or other comprehensive facility plans; site selection surveys; preliminary architectural plans and/or schematic drawings; accessibility assessments.  Business plans are only eligible if they relate to the facility.
Feasibility & Technical Assistance Grant funds are not available for non-facilities-related planning efforts (such as an overall organizational business plan); site acquisition; regular operating activities; ongoing staff positions; complete architectural drawings; fundraising or marketing activities; or publications.

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Review Criteria
Broad Review Criteria: As outlined in previous sections, the Cultural Facilities Fund statute establishes four threshold review criteria for all grants. All projects must provide evidence that they meet these four statutory criteria to be considered for a Cultural Facilities Fund Grant:

  • There must be a demonstrated community need for the project*.
  • The project must be able to demonstrate that it will benefit tourism in the local area**.
  • There must be a demonstrated financial need for a grant.
  • The project must be able to demonstrate local support*.

*Please address “community need” and “local support “in terms of your cultural organization and/or programming.
**Tourism is defined as: “a person traveling 50 miles or more one way to a destination or who stays overnight”.

The specific criteria by which applications will be reviewed are:

Quality of Planning:  

  • Evidence that the planning effort is linked to an overall organizational/or facilities plan.
  • Evidence that this is the logical next step in the organization's overall facilities planning efforts.
  • In cases of site acquisition, expansion, or new construction, evidence that the planning adequately addresses the impacts to the organization and its financial profile after construction is complete.

Quality of Implementation:   

  • Evidence that feasibility and planning consultants have been identified.
  • Evidence that a comprehensive and appropriate scope of services has been identified for the planning exercise.
  • Evidence that planning consultants are qualified.
  • Submission of a complete and clear planning/feasibility budget.

Impact of Grant:  

  • There is a demonstrated community need for the project.
  • The project benefits tourism in the local area.
  • There is a demonstrated financial need for the grant.
  • There is demonstrated local support for the project.

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Application Instructions

I. Intent to Apply

  1. Please review the eligibility requirements for the Cultural Facilities Fund as defined by the statute.

  2. If you decide to proceed, create an organizational profile to be able to access the online application.. (Please note: If your organization already has a profile -- from a previously-submitted online Adams, CIP-Peers, Cultural Districts, Cultural Facilities Fund, or YouthReach application -- you can skip this step.)

  3. Complete the Intent to Apply (the Project Overview page) of the online application and submit it electronically by the Intent to Apply deadline, 11:59 p.m. on October 21, 2014. (Log-in using the username/password associated with your organization's profile.)

II. Final Application

  1. Complete the remaining online Feasibility and Technical Assistance pages - including any updates or changes to the organizational profile and/or Project Overview page.

  2. Click the "final submission" button of the online application by the deadline - 5 p.m. on November 21, 2014. The electronic component of your application will then be automatically received by the MCC.

  3. Mail or hand-deliver the following required and supplementary materials to the MCC, by the deadline - 5 p.m. on November 21, 2014 (Please note that this is not a postmark deadline. Hard copy materials must be in MCC staff hands by 5 p.m. on November 21, 2014.):

    Required Materials:
    Please submit two separate, collated sets of the following items in the order shown below. Please print items 1 – 4 single-sided on 8.5 x 11’ paper. Do not use staples or binders. You may use paper/binder clips to separate sections if desired.

    1. Planning Budget (Please list both the “Sources” and “Uses” in the planning budget and indicate if the Source funds are: "committed", "pending" or "projected". Also please indicate if the Uses are based on actual third party bids or if the costs are in-house estimates).
    2. Project Timeline
    3. Scope-of-Services for planning consultants.
    4. Income statement and balance sheet for the current year-to-date.
    5. Audited financial or draft audit statements for the two most recent fiscal years. (If your organization's annual budget is less than $500,000 and no audited financials are available, please provide the review statement by the accountant or internally prepared income and expense statements and balance sheets for the two most recent years.) (Not required if the applicant is a municipality, but is required for all 501(c)3s including colleges and universities.) The most recent year's financial statements must be unbound, one-sided, and printed on 8.5" x 11" paper only.
    6. Resumes, CVs, or other summaries of qualifications for all key project personnel.
    7. Board List and affiliations (not required for municipalities)
    8. Staff List.
    9. Copy of IRS 501(c) (3) tax exemption letter (if applicable).
    10. Copy of the lease, deed, ground lease or use agreement for your facility .
    11. Images of facility for review panel (you may email images to Carolyn MacLeod with subject line "Images for [Institution Name] CFF Application", or submit via CD/USB drive with hard materials).

    Optional Supplementary Materials
    Depending on your project the following list of materials may help you make the case for funding. Please submit any and all materials you think will help the review panels understand your project and its readiness to proceed.

    Please submit two separate, collated sets of any other materials that will help a review panel to assess your project (two-sided copies acceptable, please submit applicable materials in the following order). These may include but are not limited to:

    • Letters of support
    • Preliminary architectural plans or renderings for the project. (Summary plans are acceptable).
    • Current Strategic Plan
    • Planning and feasibility cost estimates from any third party consultants.
    • Zoning Variances, ZBA hearing dates, building permits or other evidence that regulatory approvals are in place or in process (if applicable).
    • Copies of any feasibility and planning work done to date: market studies, fundraising assessments, project and business feasibility studies, operating pro-formas, etc.
    • Press clippings, editorials, or other materials that demonstrate community need and local support for the project.
    • Other materials, as relevant.

    Printed materials should be held together by clips or rubber bands; please do not staple or use binders. Please allow for at least 1" margins on all sides to allow for copying and binding of panel books.

  4. Address mail to:
    Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund Grant Program
    Massachusetts Cultural Council
    10 St. James Ave., 3rd Floor
    Boston, MA 02116-3803.

    Only the electronic submission of all the application pages, and the mailing or hand delivery of the materials listed above will constitute the final application.

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Proceed to the Online Application