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Worcester Arts Council (WAC) Grant

Grants to Worcester, Massachusetts Nonprofits, Individuals,
Schools, and Agencies for Arts, Humanities, and Sciences

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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Worcester Arts Council (WAC)

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

10/15/19 3:00 PM for hand delivery, or postmark date; 11:59 PM for uploads to WAC dropbox


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Grants and fellowships of up to $5,000 to Worcester, Massachusetts nonprofits, individuals, schools, libraries, and agencies for humanities, arts, and sciences. Funding is intended to promote access, excellence, diversity, and education in the arts, humanities, and sciences, with the goal of improving the quality of life for Worcester residents and contributing to the economic vitality of the city. The top funding priorities in 2020 are performing arts, children's programs, and public art.

Grants are issued to support arts, humanities and interpretive sciences; visual artists, performing artists, science educators, historians and other humanists; as well as community, business and civic groups, social service organizations, schools, neighborhood centers, and youth, senior and family associations.

Two types of grants are offered:

  • Fellowship Grants: Assist individuals in developing their work outside the structure of a specific project or presentation. Artists in any discipline may apply. All Fellowship applicants must maintain a residential, commercial or studio address in the City of Worcester.
  • Project Grants: Assist in the development of projects and programs in the arts, humanities, and interpretive sciences.  Applicants must demonstrate a tangible benefit to Worcester citizens.  All grant applicants must maintain a residential, commercial, or studio address in Worcester County. All project grants must occur within the City of Worcester.

Applicants can request funds for field trips for groups of children (grades pre-K through 12) affiliated with schools (public, non-profit, religious, and home schools), after-school and out-of-school programs, neighborhood/community centers, or civic organizations located in the City of Worcester. Field trips may be to destinations in or outside of the City of Worcester but must originate in Worcester. Approved expenses include transportation costs and admission for students and chaperones, at a ratio of 1 chaperone per 10 students. 

Applicants can request funds for capital expenditures. Capital expenditures for eligible organizations or individuals must be for a one-time or special need clearly justified by a longer- term public benefit.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 159398

Number of Grants:

In prior years, WAC has awarded 30-40 project grants. WAC will award two fellowships.

Estimated Size of Grant:

Awards historically have ranged from several hundred dollars up to $5,000. In recent years, WAC has awarded 40-50 project grants at an average of $1,900. Approximately 80% of recent awards have been below $2,500.

Fellowships: $5,000.

Term of Contract:

All projects must occur within the City of Worcester within the 2020 calendar year.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Individuals, artists, artist groups, arts and cultural organizations, community organizations, non-profit organizations, associations that can establish a non-profit objective, public schools, libraries, and other municipal agencies are eligible to apply. Organizations and fiscal agents must have tax exempt status under section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Applicants must maintain a residential, commercial, or studio address in Worcester County. Post Office boxes do not meet this requirement and are not allowed.

WAC will not fund capital expenditures for schools, libraries, local cultural councils, municipal agencies, and religious organizations.

WAC will not fund:
- Projects that replace regular curriculum in the arts, or salaries/stipends of municipal employees (e.g.
projects that take place during school hours, police details at an event)
- Salaries/stipends for duties that are part of an employee’s regular position
- Operational Costs
- Refreshments (e.g. food or beverages)
- Projects for which the primary purpose is to raise funds
- Projects that consist exclusively of scholarships (e.g. college scholarships, tuition-only coverage for program participants)
- Full cost of capital expenses that have a lifespan of more than three years. (e.g. books, audio visual materials, equipment, uniforms, musical instruments, computers etc.)
- WAC reserves the right to restrict funding of any item(s) regardless of cost that do not provide a significant public benefit
- Projects that discriminate against applicants on the basis of race, gender, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, disability, sexual orientation, or age
- Projects in locations that are not accessible to persons with disabilities.

Pre-proposal Conference:

Two Grant Writing Workshops will be held in September 2019. The first was September 12.

The second Workshop will be held on September 26, 2019:
Worcester PopUp
20 Franklin St, 1st Floor
Worcester, MA 01608

Last minute questions can be brought to the Worcester Arts Council’s (WAC) meeting on October 10, 2019 in the Esther Howland Chamber, Worcester City Hall, from 6:15 PM - 7:15 PM.

Pre-Application Information:

The next deadline is Tuesday, October 15, 2019.

Applications not completed online must be postmarked, hand-delivered by 3:00 PM or uploaded to the WAC dropbox by 11:59 PM on the submission deadline.

The staff of the Worcester Cultural Development department are available for questions. They can be reached by phone or email.

- Application Opens: September 1, 2019
- Grant Workshops: September 2019
- Application Deadline: Tuesday, October 15, 2019
- Application Evaluation Period: November 2019 – December 2019
- Denial Letters Sent: December 2019
- Approval Letters Sent: January 2020

Grants for expenditures require demonstration of a 2 to 1
financial match of cash and/or in-kind contributions of goods or services.

Applicants may submit multiple applications, including one fellowship application and one or more project applications. Separate applications must be submitted for each proposed project and no entity will receive
more than one award.

All individual grant applicants must submit one letter of support for their project. Applicants must submit a commitment letter from the venue(s) where the program or project is to be held.

Application information:

Application process:

Contact Information:

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

Apply online:

Mail or hand-deliver to:
Nikki Erskine
Worcester Arts Council
City Hall, Room 409
455 Main Street
Worcester, MA 01608

Phone: 508-799-1400
Fax: 508-799-1406

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Massachusetts: Worcester area

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