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UP Organization Designation Grants

Grants to Massachusetts Nonprofits for Arts,
Humanities, and Sciences Programming

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Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC)

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Grants of $1,000 to Massachusetts nonprofit organizations that offer public programming in the humanities, arts, and sciences. This program is open to organizations that offer staff, board, and volunteer training; engage users and experts to facilitate policy and program development and steward institutional needs; and implement innovative accessible practices.

Applicants that meet the requirements are encouraged to apply for UP Designation. Applicants that receive an UP Designation are eligible to receive a $1,000 grant through the UP Innovation Fund.

UP Designation is applied to organizations that have made a commitment to learn, take action, and embrace inclusivity as a core institutional value.

UP Organizations:
-Provide training for everyone about inclusive culture. The best inclusive design solutions will never succeed without the commitment and engagement of board, staff, volunteers, designers and others taking part in the work of the organization.
-Engage user/experts to inform and inspire. A user expert can be anyone with a functional limitation or disability who has developed natural expertise in dealing with the challenges of physical, information and/or communication environments. Establishing a routine commitment to engaging a variety of user experts who can offer insights into what fails and what works is a reliable means of continuous improvement.
-Coordinate and integrate a vision of inclusion throughout the entire organization. A shared sense of purpose infects the entire organization and shapes priorities and inclusion is woven into everything the organization does – marketing, planning, budgeting, fundraising and branding.
-Innovate. Creating great places and experiences that work for everyone is inspired, creative, collegial, satisfying, and fun. Fresh ideas come from fresh insights and a willingness to engage in trial and error.

Benefits of Becoming an UP Organization:

The Mass Cultural Council will support and cultivate the network of UP Organizations to foster idea sharing, collaboration, and best practices. UP aims to catalyze a community of practice made up of learners and innovators who believe life in all its variety is our collective good fortune and a vehicle for richer experiences.

UP Organizations will:
-Be promoted by the Mass Cultural Council as an UP Organization through: the Mass Cultural Council website; Mass Cultural Council newsletters and social media platforms; sponsored ads on Facebook;
-Be eligible for the UP Innovation Fund. Invitations for proposals will be sent to UP Designated organizations in January.
-Gain a wealth of knowledge, experience and camaraderie by being part of a network of likeminded organizations. The Mass Cultural Council will work with the UP Organizations to identify topics and methods for connecting and sharing through means such as in-person gatherings, webinars, and pairings for mentorship/partnership, etc.
-Be invited to participate in ILN workshops, as either a presenter or student, cultivating a continual professional development in the field.
-Be eligible for an UP Award which is both a recognition and monetary award.

Requirements for UP Organizations:

To participate in the Universal Participation Initiative organizations must be willing to share details of successful strategies in order that the field and the public benefit from collective knowledge.

UP Organizations must:
-Share innovations and outcomes with UP network and the field at large.
-Support other organizations by providing technical or experiential expertise to organizations taking part in the ILN.
-Complete an annual reporting requirement for the Mass Cultural Council so the collective impact of UP Organizations can be measured.

The Mass Cultural Council will review the application materials and award the UP Designation to organizations that:
-Demonstrate evidence of a commitment to learn, take action, and embrace inclusivity as a core organizational value.
-Demonstrate that organizational behaviors and culture reflect the aspirations of the Universal Participation Initiative. This means that the organization: provides training about inclusive culture; engages user/experts inform decision making and inspire change and/or policies; coordinate and integrate a vision of inclusion throughout the entire organization; and innovates through creative problem solving.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 162782

Estimated Size of Grant:


Term of Contract:

An UP Designation will be in effect for one year and renewed upon successful compliance with final reporting requirements. Every five years, UP Organizations must reapply to the program and the organization's governing board must re-approve their resolution to continue their commitment to UP.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Massachusetts nonprofits offering public programming in the arts, humanities, or sciences are eligible to apply for an UP Designation.

Pre-Application Information:

Applications accepted from September 20 - November, 20 2017.

If your board does not meet between now and the November 20 deadline, you will be asked to indicate the date on which your board will meet and take up the vote.

Applicants will be notified of the outcome the week of December 8, 2017.

Invitations for proposals will be sent to UP Designated organizations in January 2018.

UP Organization Guidelines:

Contact Information:

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

Create and organizational profile to access the application:

Charles G. Baldwin, Program Officer

Mass Cultural Council
10 St. James Avenue, 3rd Floor
Boston, MA 02116-3803

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Massachusetts