Grants to Massachusetts nonprofit organizations, libraries, schools, religious organizations, agencies, and individuals for science, humanities, and arts activities. Funding is intended to support general operations, field trips, artist residencies, ticket subsidy programs, public art, fellowships, community events/programs, site-specific projects, or other activities, according to each community's priorities and needs.
These four rules must be followed in the review of all funding decisions and are equally important. LCCs have the option of developing local review criteria and may decide how to weigh their importance:
Arts, Humanities, and Sciences: LCC funds may only be used to support programs in the arts, humanities, and sciences in Massachusetts. This definition includes the study, pursuit, performance, exhibition, and appreciation of cultural activities in the broadest sense.
Public Benefit: LCC funds must be used to support activities that contribute to the cultural vitality of the community as a whole, rather than benefiting any private individual or group. However, this does not mean that a large crowd of people needs to participate in order to satisfy the public benefit requirement.
Non-Discrimination: In accordance with state law, LCCs may not discriminate against applicants and/or programs on the basis of age, ability, ethnicity, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, nationality, geographic origin; or immigration, military, or socio-economic status. Nor may Local Cultural Councils fund projects that discriminate on the basis of these attributes.
Local Criteria: LCCs are authorized to develop additional criteria and may give different weight to their criteria in order to reflect local concerns and community cultural needs.
Applicants must reside or be located in Massachusetts. LCCs may accept applications from anyone included in the following list. LCCs are authorized to prioritize eligible applicant types or limit which types of applicants they fund; if they do so, they must publish the eligibility in their council guidelines:
- Individuals. Individual applicants must show that a public benefit results from the project for which they are applying.
- Incorporated private nonprofit organizations.
- Unincorporated associations that can establish a nonprofit objective. A group of individuals coming together with a common purpose (e.g., local community band, theater group) that do not have nonprofit status.
- Public schools, libraries, other municipal agencies and the local cultural council itself.
- Religious organizations. Religious organizations or groups with a religious affiliation are eligible to apply for funding of cultural programming that is available to the general public. LCCs can only approve applications that are primarily cultural in their intent and do not have the effect of advancing religion.
- Refreshments. Grant funds received from a local council may not be used to purchase food or beverages.
- Scholarships. Although individual students are not eligible to apply for scholarships, an organization may apply to an LCC to sponsor a scholarship provided the LCC feels the scholarship program provides sufficient public benefit and meets all other state and local criteria.
- Application Opens: September 1, 2023
- Info Session: September 12, 2023
- Application Deadline: October 17, 2023
- LCCs Annual Report Due: January 17, 2024
There are two different processes that Local Cultural Councils can choose between to pay grants:
- Reimbursement Process
- Direct Grant Process
Grants are either reimbursement-based, meaning the applicant expends their own money, and if approved for a grant, then submits paperwork for reimbursement or directly-granted, meaning funding is provided up front to approved applicants and requires the applicant submit a W-9, grant agreement, and final report. Each LCC stipulates whether they provide reimbursement or direct grants on their council profile.
Applicants may apply for grants for programs that take place during an 18-month window of eligibility from July 1, preceding the application deadline in October, through December 31 of the following year. This means that applicants may apply for projects that have already happened or which happen prior to grant announcements, with the knowledge that funding is not guaranteed. Local Cultural Councils are authorized to establish a smaller window of eligibility; if they do so, they must publish the eligible dates in their council guidelines.