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<< Program Guidelines

Feasibility & Technical Assistance Grant Program

There is no Cultural Facilities Fund application at this time. Check back for updates on an FY19 round of funding in September 2018.

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For your reference, below is a summary of our 2018 feasibility & technical assistance grant application instructions.  Feel free to refer to these instructions if you would like to learn about the program, eligibility requirements and review criteria. Please keep in mind that all dates and deadlines are not static year to year, and program guidelines are subject to revision.

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: architectural and engineering plans, business plans and market research as it relates to a new facility, capital campaign feasibility studies, comprehensive facility maintenance plans and new project feasibility studies.

Organizations can also plan for Universal Design solutions to accessibility challenges in their facilities. Organizations can work with a consultant who will identify possible solutions that meet ADA, 504, and Massachusetts Architectural Access Board (MAAP) requirements, but go beyond to provide solutions that are an improvement for all visitors.

Feasibility & Technical Assistance Grant funds are not available for non-facilities-related planning efforts (such as an overall organizational strategic planning); 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 Intent to Apply and online application.. (Please note: If your organization already has a profile -from a previously-submitted online application for CIP-Gateway, Cultural Districts, Cultural Facilities Fund, or YouthReach you can skip this step and log in using the username/password associated with your organization’s profile.)

    Complete the Intent to Apply (the Project Overview page) of the online application and submit it electronically by the Intent to Apply deadline: November 17, 2017.

    Please note: The information in the Intent to Apply becomes the Project Overview page of the application, and can be changed anytime up until the application deadline. You do not need approval from the Mass Cultural Council after submitting the Intent to Apply to continue with the full application. Mass Cultural Council staff will contact you if any eligibility issues are identified.

II. Final Application

  1. Complete the remaining online Feasibility and Technical Assistance application 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 January 12, 2018. The electronic component of your application will then be automatically received by the Mass Cultural Council. You will receive an email confirming receipt of the online component with a pdf copy of the online narrative attached.

  3. Mail or hand-deliver the following required and supplementary materials to the Mass Cultural Council by the deadline – 5:00 p.m. on January 12, 2018. (Please note that this is not a postmark deadline. Hard copy materials must be in Mass Cultural Council staff hands by 5 p.m. on January 12, 2018):

Required Supplementary Materials:
Please submit two complete and 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. Please use paper/binder clips to separate sections.

    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. Financial Information:
      1. Nonprofit Organizations
        1. Income statements and balance sheets since your last audit, accountant’s review, or 990.
        2. Audited financial or draft audit statements for the three 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.)
      2. Municipalities: Facility-specific financials for the last three years for the subject facility.  Audit statements are not required.
      3. Colleges and Universities:
        1. Audited Financial statements for the three most recent fiscal years.
        2. Facility-specific financials for the last three years for the subject facility.

    The most recent year's financial statements must be unbound, one-sided, and printed on 8.5" x 11" paper only.

    1. Resumes, CVs, or other summaries of qualifications for all key project personnel.

    2. Board List and affiliations (not required for municipalities)

    3. Staff List.

    4. Copy of IRS 501(c) (3) tax exemption letter (if applicable).

    5. Copy of the lease, deed, or ground lease for your facility if applicable.

    6. Letters of support

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:

    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.

    Images of facility. Please follow the instructions.

    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.

    Address mail to:
    Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund Grant Program
    Mass 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 and completed application.

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