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Cultural Facilities Fund (CFF) - Capital Grant Program

Grants to Massachusetts Nonprofits, Municipalities, and IHEs for the
Aquisition, Renovation, and Construction of Cultural Facilities

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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MassDevelopment and the Mass Cultural Council

Conf. Date:


LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

01/10/20 5:00 PM


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Grants to Massachusetts nonprofit organizations, municipalities, and IHEs to support the repair, renovation, acquisition, or construction of cultural facilities. Applicants are required to submit an intent to apply prior to submitting a full application. Funding is intended to promote the development of cultural facilities that are thoughtfully planned and developed, contribute to the cultural and economic lives of their communities, have a transformative impact on the community, and are supported by significant matching contributions from the private sector.

Types of Projects Funded

The Capital Grant Program offers grants for:

  • Site or facility acquisition (provided there is a signed Purchase & Sale Agreement and appropriate business planning is in place).
  • Repair, rehabilitation, or renovation of existing facilities. This may include (but is not limited to) efforts to improve physical accessibility, fire safety, and other building safety.
  • New construction/expansion of existing facilities (provided appropriate business planning is in place).
  • Final-stage design of new facilities
  • Purchase of major equipment or integrated systems. This may include HVAC systems, sound and light systems, rigging or similar equipment, provided that these are fully integrated elements of a building, structure or site and are fixed in place. Mobile goods or equipment, including moveable seating and display cases, are not eligible for grant reimbursement.
  • Any combination of the above.
  • New projects that demonstrate a transformative impact on the host community.

All organizations that receive grants under this program must certify as part of the Grant Agreement that the project for which the grant is being made complies with, or will comply with upon completion of the project, the terms of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 139140

Estimated Size of Grant:

Award maximums for Capital Grants have not been set at this time. In the past, maximum grants have ranged from $200,000 to $675,000. A maximum grant amount will be set by the Cultural Facilities Fund Advisory Committee during the review process.

Term of Contract:

Applicants must demonstrate financial capacity to begin the project within 12 months of the grant approval date.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

The following entities ("Cultural Organizations") are eligible to apply for grants for Cultural facilities:

- Nonprofit cultural organizations: 501(c)(3) organizations that are primarily concerned with the arts, humanities, or interpretive sciences. The legislation includes but is not limited to museums, historic sites, zoos, aquariums, theaters, concert halls, exhibition spaces, classrooms, and auditoriums ("Cultural Facilities"). Eligible facilities must be owned, leased, or used by one or more nonprofit cultural organizations, and must be accessible to the public.
- Municipalities that own cultural facilities: provided that the cultural facility is at least 50,000 square feet in size, and at least 50% devoted to cultural purposes provided. However, if such building, structure, or site is 125 years old or older and is significant in the history, archeology, architecture or culture of the nation, the commonwealth, or the community in which it is located, it may be of any size.
- Public or private institutions of higher education that own cultural facilities: provided that the cultural facility provides service and open access to the community and the general public beyond its educational mission and can demonstrate financial need.

Grants in this program may not be used for:

- Capital campaign costs or non-facilities capital campaigns (e.g., endowment campaigns).
- Regular operating activities of an organization.
- Ongoing staff positions.
- Fundraising or marketing activities.
- Any other costs that are not related to the approved Eligible Project.
- Mortgage or loan payments.
- Legal feeds.
- Insurance payments.

Pre-proposal Conference:

Cultural Facilities Fund Info Sessions:
Join Mass Cultural Council staff Jay Paget and Miranda Cook to learn more about the Cultural Facilities Fund grants. If you have additional questions about this event, please contact Miranda Cook.
- Pioneer Valley, October 31, 2019: 2:00pm-4:00pm; Easthampton.
- Western MA, November 1, 2019: 10:00am-12:00pm; Stockbridge
- North Shore, November 4, 2019: 10:00am-12:00pm; Gloucester
- Central MA, November 7, 2019: 10:30am-12:30pm; Worcester
- Cape, November 8, 2019: 10:30am-12:30pm; Mashpee

Cultural Facilities Fund 101:
The Mass Cultural Council is hosting a webinar to walk through the FY20 Cultural Facilities Fund guidelines and application process. This webinar is available for CFF applicants who are unable to attend an Information Session. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions.
- Event Date: 11.12.2019: 2:00pm

For more information, and to register, see

Pre-Application Information:

- Application Opens: October 11, 2019
- Submit an Intent to Apply online by: November 15, 2019.
- Complete the online application by the deadline, 5 pm on January 10, 2020.
- Supplementary materials must be submitted electronically via the Mass Cultural Council’s account by 5 pm on January 10, 2020.
- Notification to Applicants: June 2020

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.

The Mass Cultural Council will receive your application electronically and you will receive an email confirming the submission. If you do not receive the automated email receipt, go back to ensure the application has been submitted successfully.

Once you submit your Intent to Apply, Mass Cultural Council staff will create a folder for your organization in An invitation to join the folder will be sent to the email address associated with the “Primary Contact” on your application. Please allow 1-3 business days to receive the email invitation after submitting your Intent to Apply.

Cash Matching Requirements:
- Applicants must have the matching funds committed to the project or demonstrate an ability to raise the match within 12 months of the grant approval date.
- All grants less than $1,000,000 awarded by the Cultural Facilities Fund are subject to a 1:1 matching requirement. All matches have to be in the form of a secured cash match, or be legally obligated to the project. Pledges and in-kind goods or services are not eligible towards the match.
- If you are awarded a grant, the entire 1:1 match has to be in hand before you can enter into a grant agreement with MassDevelopment and draw grant funds.
- Applications for grants in the later phases of building fundraising campaigns are welcome. Matching funds may include private funds donated to the Grantee and designated for the Eligible Project, or federal or municipal appropriations.

Cultural Facilities Fund Overview:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

To access the Intent to Apply and online application:

Jay Paget, Program Director

Miranda Cook, Program Officer

Mass Cultural Council
10 St. James Ave. 3rd floor
Boston, MA 02116

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Massachusetts

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