A collaborative initiative from MassDevelopment and the civic crowdfunding platform Patronicity, Commonwealth Places provides a funding mechanism to advance community-driven placemaking projects in downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts throughout Massachusetts. The program seeks to engage and mobilize community members to make individual contributions through a crowdfunding platform with the incentive of a dollar-for-dollar funding match of up to $50,000 from MassDevelopment if the crowdfunding goal is reached within 60 days.
Proposed projects should seek to enhance the new or underused public spaces at the pedestrian scale and demonstrate the potential to catalyze economic impact. Past projects have included art installations, public space improvements, bike trails, markets, and more. It is important that projects have established public awareness and local momentum.
Any community member can propose a project, but before funds can be awarded, a local public or nonprofit entity must be identified as a sponsor. Once a project has been approved, Patronicity will assist project community teams and sponsors with their fundraising efforts to help ensure successful crowdfunding campaigns.
Commonwealth Places funding of up to $50,000 is available for projects located in Massachusetts communities where the median household income is equal to or less than 100% of the state median household income. Funding of up to $25,000 is available for projects located in Massachusetts communities where the median household income is between 100% and 120% of the state median household income.
For more information about applying to the Commonwealth Places Program, please refer to the program guidelines below.
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What is Placemaking?
Placemaking aims to improve the quality of public places and the lives of communities through a participatory process. While urban design and economic development is central to placemaking, the most significant component is the community process and programming that can facilitate social interaction, spark public discourse and increase local capacity and engagement. Increasingly, placemaking has been used to revitalize commercial districts using these small, community-driven investments that leverage economic growth and development.
What is Crowdfunding?
Crowdfunding is an increasingly-used tool by which private organizations and public entities are able to fund projects ranging from consumer products to public space improvements. This, in effect, has democratized the raising of capital by allowing the public to monetarily support initiatives. Simply, it allows the public to vote with their wallets. By tapping a large donor pool for small donations, organizations are able to better leverage funds. Further, crowdfunding engages the public to play a part in achieving community improvements and instills community pride as residents become invested in their surroundings.