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About the Boston Cultural Council

The Boston Cultural Council (BCC), under the umbrella of the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture, helps to ensure that grant making responds to the needs of the cultural community and grant solicitation, review and disbursement follows best practices. The BCC annually distributes funds allocated by the City of Boston and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency, to support innovative arts, humanities, and interpretive science programming that enhance the quality of life in our city.

Boston Cultural Council Equity Statement 

To truly thrive, Boston must be an equitable city. For the Boston Cultural Council, equity means equal access to resources and equal value of all cultural traditions and expressions. Equity operates as an out-loud process of actively reflecting, including, and rewarding cultural, economic, and racial diversity in the arts. The BCC actively encourages the creativity and engagement of all Boston residents and visitors. They do this through grantmaking guided by the Boston Creates cultural plan. BCC grants emphasize fair opportunity, accessibility, and understanding of Boston’s arts and cultural communities. BCC programmatic, financial, and informational resources also proactively encourage equity and inclusion within the organizations we support. 

Boston Cultural Council Funding Strategy

The BCC has an updated funding strategy with new eligibility requirements and guidelines. For the second time, grants will be made only to organizations with annual budgets under $2 million. Organizations will now fall under different categories depending on their budget size, and all grantees within a specific budget category will receive the same amount of funding. Please visit boston.gov/artsgrants to learn more about the BCC’s Funding Strategy.

Grant Guidelines

Please visit here to read the full guidelines for applying to the BCC. Guidelines include information on BCC review process, evaluation criteria, grant reconsideration, grant payment cycle. Please also review our website for information on how to prepare materials and for answers to commonly asked questions including a budget template and information on how to find a fiscal sponsor. Still have questions? Schedule a meeting with us here.

Grant Categories

The BCC offers general operating support grants to organizations with budgets of less than $2 million. If an organization is selected as a recipient, they will receive the total amount they are eligible for in their budget category.

  • Organizations with budgets less than $100,000 may apply for a grant of $2,000
  • Organizations with budgets between $100,000 and $500,000 may apply for a grant of $3,500
  • Organizations with budgets between $500,000 and $2,000,000 may apply for a grant of $5,000

Eligibility

  • Non-profit cultural organizations with budgets under $2 million whose mission and programming is focused in the following disciplines: Music, Film and Video, Traditional and Folk Art, Visual Art, Theater, Dance, Humanities, Literary Arts, Performing Arts, Social/Civic Practice, Multidisciplinary Arts. 
  • Non-profits whose mission is not primarily arts and culture based yet are looking to fund arts and culture programs are eligible to apply.
  • Organizations not based in the City of Boston, with primary programming that takes place in Boston are eligible to apply.
  • Unincorporated groups can apply with a fiscal sponsor as long as they meet the rest of the eligibility criteria. This can include artist collectives, volunteer groups, or publications.
  • Organizations can submit only one proposal per funding cycle.
  • Non-profits with L3C designations are eligible to apply. 

Grant Fund Restrictions

Grant funds may NOT  be used for the following items:

  • Salaries or stipends for employees of a school system, library, parks department, municipal agency or municipality.
  • Capital expenditures for schools, libraries, other municipal agencies.
  • Programming that discriminates or discourages participation on the basis of race, gender, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, disability, sexual orientation, or age.
  • K-12 schools, K-12 school foundations, and Main Streets organizations are not eligible to apply. 

Application Forms and Submission

  • We prefer to have all proposals submitted online. Hand written hard copies will be accepted delivered to 1 City Hall Square, 8th floor room 802, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 9am-5:00pm. 
  • Applicants must have Vendor ID, Application Name & Address match the information on the City of Boston supplier portal. For assistance using the Supplier Portal, creating a new vendor account, updating existing vendor account updates, creating a User ID, etc you will find detailed instructions with screenshots at this link. Scroll to the bottom of the page to the 'Related Documents' section. 
  • If using a fiscal sponsor, you must have a letter from the sponsor confirming that they will accept the funds and distribute the funds to the applicant.

Application Deadline 

  • Applications must be received on or before November 16, 2020 5:00 pm EST (ONLINE only) Paper applications received by November 13, 2020 5:00 pm EST. 
  • No late applications will be accepted.
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