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MA Cultural Facilities Fund

The Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund (CFF) is an initiative of the Commonwealth to increase public and private investment in cultural facilities throughout the state.  The Program is administered jointly with the Massachusetts Cultural Council.  Three types of grant programs are available:

  • Capital Grants for expenses related to acquisition, design, construction, repair, renovation, and rehabilitation of other capital improvements or deferred maintenance of a cultural facility
  • Feasibility and Technical Assistance Grants for expenses related to planning and feasibility assessment for a cultural facility
  • Systems Replacement Grants for expenses to undertake the production of 20-year capital needs assessments of their buildings and mechanical systems

Grants are available to:
Nonprofit 501(c)3 organizations primarily engaged in the arts, humanities, or interpretive sciences.  Eligible facilities include, but are not limited to, museums, historic sites, zoos, aquariums, theaters, concert halls, exhibition spaces, classrooms, and auditoriums, and must be:

  • Owned, leased, or used by one or more nonprofit cultural organizations
  • Accessible to the public

Public or private institutions of higher education that own cultural facilities that:

  • Provide service and open access to the community and the general public beyond their educational mission
  • Demonstrate financial need

Municipalities that own cultural facilities provided that the cultural facility is at least:

  • 50,000 square feet, and
  • 50% devoted to cultural purposes

All grants from the Fund must be matched by contributions from the private or public sector.

Case Study – Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts

With funds from private and government organizations, the Worcester Center for the Performing Arts renovated and reopened the former Poli Palace in March 2008 as The Hanover Theatre.  The theater, with seating for 2,300, provides a stunning venue for Broadway plays, nationally recognized performers and family-oriented shows.  The CFF awarded the Theatre a $675,000 capital grant to help with this important restoration project in downtown Worcester.  In the early stage of the project, MassDevelopment provided a $25,000 predevelopment loan as well as a $300,000 development loan to help fund an architectural study and partnered with the Nonprofit Finance Fund and Commonwealth National Bank to provide loans totaling $2.35 million.

Case Study – Rockport Chamber Music Festival

The Rockport Chamber Music Festival received a $22,500 Feasibility and Technical Assistance Grant to develop a marketing and development plan for a new performance arts center.

Case Study – Springfield Library & Museum Association

The Museum of Springfield History received a $675,000 capital grant from the Cultural Facilities Fund.  The Museum used the funds to improve its facilities by installing an elevator and upgrading HVAC and fire/security systems.

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