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Commonwealth Places

MassDevelopment’s “Commonwealth Places” is a competitive opportunity to advance locally driven placemaking in downtown and neighborhood commercial districts in eligible communities throughout Massachusetts. Placemaking is a collaborative process through which people in communities work together to improve public spaces and maximize their shared value. The process facilitates creative patterns of use, and leverages the local physical, cultural, and social assets that define a place and support its ongoing evolution.

The Commonwealth Places program will make awards on a rolling basis through the following funding categories:

Category 1: Seed Grants: Impactful placemaking and/or placekeeping is a community-driven process. Seed grants should be used to fund inclusive community engagement, visioning, and local capacity-building that will support future placemaking efforts. MassDevelopment will award individual grants of between $2,500 - $15,000 to projects within this funding category. Grants made within this category of work require a 1:1 local match, either cash or in-kind. Eligible in-kind matches may include: volunteer work, staff time, relevant planning and coordinated activities by organizing entities, or any equipment, goods, or services contributed that would have been eligible costs under this funding category.

Category 2: Implementation Grants: MassDevelopment will award individual grants of between $5,000 and $50,000 for the implementation of locally led placemaking projects. Grant funding must be matched on a 1:1 basis with crowdfunding. In-kind contributions will not be counted towards the local match requirement for Implementation Grants.

This program is part of the Community One Stop for Growth, a single online application portal designed to allow applicants to apply for consideration of multiple sources of funding to support multiple phases and facets of a project. This process will streamline the experience for the applicant and better coordinate programs and staff on engagement and grant making. It will also reorient the State from a passive reviewer of funding requests to an active partner in economic development strategy, priorities, and investment. Access to this program is now exclusively available through the One Stop. Learn more about the One Stop.

NOTICE TO APPLICANTS: **Please indicate in the project description your preference in timing for receiving funds, based on the anticipated period of implementation.


Click here to view the Notice of Funding Availability including Program Guidelines

Click here to begin your application for Funding

Click here to register for our January 31 , 2022 webinar


For more information contact:

Nick Giaquinto 
TDI District Partnership Officer
Commonwealth Places Program Manager
Email: NGiaquinto@MassDevelopment.com


Background Information

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.