In order to apply for an LCC grant, applicants must
meet all eligibility and criteria requirements of the LCC
Program. Councils make funding decisions that best meet the
particular needs and priorities of their community within
the parameters of the broad state regulations and guidelines.
Key aspects of the eligibility requirements for LCC grants
and criteria for funding are discussed below, as well as the
few restrictions that the MCC imposes on state funds. For
more detailed information, please refer to the full LCC
Program Regulations and Guidelines (PDF).
Application deadline: All
applicants must submit completed applications by the statewide
postmark deadline, generally on October 15.
In years when October 15 falls on a Sunday, the statewide
deadline is the Monday immediately following October
15. Late applications cannot be accepted.
Types of grants: Applicants
may apply to the LCC Program for projects, operating support,
ticket subsidy programs, artist residencies, fellowships or
other activities, based on local priorities and needs. Local
councils may also choose to fund cultural field trips for
children, grades pre-K through 12, by subsidizing the cost
for children to attend programs in the arts, humanities and
interpretive sciences (including performances, educational
tours and exhibits).
Applicants can request funds for field trips for groups of children affiliated with schools (public, non-profit, religious, and home schools), afterschool and out-of-school programs, neighborhood/community centers, or civic organizations. Based on community input, each local cultural council may determine whether or not they accept requests for field trips, and if so, what types of expenses are eligible (student ticket cost, transportation, chaperone tickets, guide fees, etc.). This type of grant was formerly known as a "PASS grant."
Program eligibility: Applicants may apply
for grants for programs that take place during an 18 month
window of eligibility between 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 LCCs' grant
announcements, with the knowledge that funding is not guaranteed.
Local councils are authorized to establish a smaller window
of eligibility; if they chose to do so, the date range will
be posted in their local guidelines.
Applicant eligibility: Applicants must reside
in Massachusetts and should have been engaged in the kind
of activity for which funds are requested for at least one
year. Anyone included in the list below may apply:
- Individuals. Individual applicants must
show that a public benefit results from the project for
which they are applying.
- Incorporated private nonprofit organizations. Nonprofit preschools,
elementary schools, middle schools and high schools are
subject to the same criteria and restrictions as public
- 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. Municipal agencies are
eligible to apply for funding, but are subject to the No
Substitution criteria. Capital expenditure requests for
public agencies are not eligible.
- 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. Religious schools are also eligible for LCC funding
and are subject to the same criteria and restrictions as
public schools. LCCs can only approve applications that
are primarily cultural in their intent and do not have the
effect of advancing religion. Capital expenditure requests
for religious organizations are not eligible.
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Local cultural councils use the first four rules listed below in the review of all funding decisions. All four rules are equally important. Additionally, councils have the option of developing local review criteria and may decide how to weigh their importance:
- Arts, Humanities, and Interpretive Sciences
- Public Benefit
- No Substitution
- Local Criteria
Arts, Humanities, and Interpretive Sciences.
Local council funds may only be used to support programs in
the arts, humanities, and interpretive sciences in Massachusetts.
This definition includes the study, pursuit, performance,
exhibition, and appreciation of cultural activities in the
How does MCC define the arts, humanities, and/or interpretive sciences?
- Arts refer to the creation of work in
the crafts and performing, visual, media, folk, design,
literary, and inter-disciplinary arts. In addition, they
also include the presentation and preservation of, and education
about works in these disciplines.
- Humanities are types of learning that deal with human values
and aspirations, human thought and culture, language, and
creativity. Examples include, but are not limited to, history,
social studies, philosophy, criticism, and literature.
- Interpretive sciences are types of learning that deal with
nature, science, and technology in ways that explain how
they relate to people's lives. Some organizations that conduct
this type of activity include aquariums, botanical gardens,
nature centers, natural history museums, planetariums, and
Public Benefit. Local council 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. For example,
an artist working with a small group of teens is a valid public
benefit. Whenever possible, activities funded by local councils
should be available to the general public by exhibit, performance,
demonstration, reading, or other means.
No Substitution. To prevent LCC funds
from substituting for or replacing other public funding that
the city or town should be responsible for, LCCs may not fund:
- Salaries or stipends for employees of the school system, library, parks department or municipality.
- Capital expenditures for schools, libraries, LCCs or other municipal agencies. A capital expenditure is defined as an item, or group of items, with a life expectancy of more than three years and a total cost of more than $500. Examples may include books, audio visual materials, equipment, uniforms, musical instruments, etc.
LCCs can fund salaries or stipends for outside artists, humanists, or interpretive scientists to lead cultural activities at schools, libraries and other municipal agencies (field trips, artist-in-residency programs, lectures, performances, etc.).
Non-Discrimination. In accordance
with state law, local councils may not discriminate against
applicants on the basis of race, gender, religious creed,
color, national origin, ancestry, disability, sexual orientation
or age, nor may they fund projects that discriminate on the
basis of these attributes.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that persons with disabilities have access to public programs or services on an equal basis with the rest of the general public. Furthermore, federal law mandates that any programs or service that receives federal or state funding must be accessible to persons with disabilities. Therefore, all events and programs funded by the LCCs must be accessible to persons with disabilities, including the facility or event location as well as the content of the program.
Local councils are authorized to develop additional criteria
and may give different weight to their criteria in order to
reflect local concerns and community cultural needs. Local
guidelines and priorities must be posted on an LCC's public
web page (www.mass-culture.org/lcc_public.aspx)
by September 1 each year.
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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 it shows
evidence of an open and fair review and award process. The
applicant organization must also ensure a public benefit component
in which the award recipient "gives back" to the community
in the form of a lecture, master class, exhibit, performance,
etc. Requests for scholarships must be accompanied by responses
to a list of supplemental questions.
Capital Expenditures. Applicants can apply
for capital expenses but the requests for capital expenditures
must meet a number of additional requirements. A capital expense
is defined as an item, or group of items, with a life expectancy
of more than three years and a total cost of more than $500.
Examples include equipment, such as lighting or sound equipment,
new construction or the renovation of a cultural facility.
Capital expenditure requests must meet the following circumstances:
- Grants should be for a one-time or special need and should be clearly justified by some longer-term public benefit.
- Applicants must demonstrate a 2:1 match (the LCC can only fund one-third of the total cost). The match may be comprised of any combination of cash and/or donated goods or services. The match must be documented on the application budget.
- Requests for capital expenditures must be accompanied by responses to a list of supplemental questions.
- Capital expenditures for schools, libraries, local cultural councils, municipal agencies and religious organizations are ineligible.
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An applicant may request reconsideration of an LCC decision on his or her application if the applicant can demonstrate that the LCC failed to follow published state and local guidelines and regulations. Dissatisfaction with the denial of an application or with the amount of an award does not constitute grounds for reconsideration.
Reconsideration requests must be made in writing and must be sent to the LCC within 15 days of the postmarked date on the disapproval letter. The applicant should also send a copy of the request to the MCC.
Within 15 days of receiving a reconsideration request, the MCC will review the following documents to determine if the applicant has grounds for reconsideration:
- The application in question
- The council's disapproval letter to the applicant
- The applicant's request for reconsideration
If the MCC determines that the applicant has grounds for reconsideration, the local council must convene a quorum of members and review the application, as if for the first time. Following all published state and local guidelines and regulations, the local council must decide whether to approve or deny the grant request and must notify the applicant of the final determination in writing.
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