- The Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC), a state agency, manages the Local Cultural Council program. The MCC has about $14 million in the state budget this year; of that, $2 million goes to the LCC program; of that, $4700 goes to Montague.
- The Montague Cultural Council is a local cultural council (LCC). It’s a group of volunteers who were appointed by the Selectboard and who are authorized to award small grants (usually $50-$300) for cultural programs.
- Now is the time to submit proposals for programs that will take place in 2017! All towns use the same application, which is online at www.mass-culture.org. The deadline is October 17, 2016.
Additional tips and advice, submitted by Jen Audley.
Almost anyone can apply!
This one of the most accessible funding programs I know of – individuals, groups and organizations are all welcome to apply and the application is pretty simple. The program, event or project you propose needs to have a clear connection to the arts, humanities, and/or science education, and it needs to benefit the public in some way. You should have some experience doing whatever it is you propose to do, but you don’t have to be a professional. You must have been a MA resident for at least one year before you can apply.
Every town gets money to distribute.
Montague has about $5000 this year, and most towns nearby have about the same amount. (Greenfield has a bit more.) This means that if you have a program in mind that you think will benefit residents of more than one town, you might want to apply to more than one LCC. You can submit the same proposal to more than one LCC — but keep in mind that some LCCs prioritize programs that take place in their own town. Go to the MCC website and look up each town’s “local priorities” before you fill out the application.
Do your homework.
Be sure to review the state’s guidelines, which include criteria that all proposals have to meet. Read the local cultural councils’ guidelines and focus on the LCC(s) where your project is a match. If you have received a cultural council grant in the past, don’t recycle your old application. Many local councils prefer not to award grants to the same people year after year, so if you are a repeat applicant, be sure to explain what’s different about what you have in mind for this year.
They want you to have a solid plan.
The best proposals convince the committee that the applicant has what it will take to make the program happen — for instance, because they have a proven track record, or they’ve already lined up a venue and collaborators, or they just do a really good job explaining how it will work. The bottom line is that the committee wants to feel confident that you will use the money they give you, because if they choose your project, they going to set the money aside to reimburse you. That means it will be tied up whether you use it or not.
Try not to put all your eggs in one basket.
Most LCCs receive proposals for more programs than they can fund. Councils make decisions in a variety of ways, but one common approach is to give applicants some, but not all, of the money they requested. There is a place on the application to explain what you will do if awarded less than the full amount. Think this through and be honest! If you really need the full amount to do the project, say so, or – better yet! – describe some other ways you could raise the money you need.
They want to hear from you!
The people who read and vote on these grant applications are volunteers who live right here … you might even know some of them! The committee wants to help you make a strong proposal. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with them if you have questions or ideas you want to run by them.