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Cultural Investment Grant

Transformative growth opportunities for an equitable arts sector in Boston.

The Cultural Investment Grant aims to grow and sustain arts and cultural organizations that have a clear vision of a creative, equitable, and more just city.

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Background and Overview

The Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture (MOAC) established the Cultural Investment Grant (CIG) in January 2023 to make new and unprecedented investments in cultural solutions. This is a $10 million multi-year investment through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). It aims to grow and sustain arts and cultural organizations that have a clear vision of a creative, equitable, and more just city. CIG will build capacity for organizations working with communities in Boston who have been most harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly communities of color.

Grants will range from $600,000 - $3 million and will be distributed over four years. The grant will provide investments in the cultural sector that will:

  • give organizations a path to thrive in Boston

  • create long term opportunities for all Boston communities to have access to the arts, and

  • strengthen our local arts ecosystem.

Read the complete grant guidelines

What is Transformative?

ARPA funding is a unique opportunity. To establish this grant, we had to define what is “transformative” for organizations. This funding will create a transformative opportunity for cultural organizations to:

  • stabilize, build roots, and anchor in their community or communities

  • make space to explore methods that catalyze innovation and elevate their work

  • build holistic sustainability beyond the scope of the grant

  • scale their work and impact, and

  • shape solutions in partnership with community stakeholders.

MOAC will work with grantees to assess what they need to maximize this opportunity. We will determine what resources and opportunities we can leverage for grantees to thrive over the long term. We'll also engage with funders and City partners to support policies, spending, and social beliefs that align with grantees' missions.

Grant Categories

We have divided the funding into three tiers. An organization's operating budget determines its funding amount. These grants would be transformative for a range of organizations within these tiers. MOAC has also allocated $200,000 for technical assistance and program support.

Tiers Description

Tier One:

Organizations with operating budgets under $500,000

At least three grassroots organizations will each receive up to $600,000 over four years.

Tier Two:

Organizations with operating budgets between $500,000 and $2 million

Up to two arts and cultural organizations will each receive $1 million over four years.

Tier Three:

Organizations with operating budgets between $2 million and $3 million

Up to two arts and cultural organizations will each receive $3 million over four years.

Eligibility

Arts and cultural organizations that meet the following criteria are eligible for consideration:

Mission

Its mission statement commits to fostering and sustaining the arts or creative expression.

Location

It is located in Boston, or the funding allows an organization working with Boston communities to be located in Boston. Priority will be given to organizations located within communities disproportionately harmed by COVID-19.

Equity

It shows a commitment to equity, leadership development of those historically excluded from decision-making power. There are liberatory practices across its mission, histories, and core programming.

Representation

Its vision, mission, and programming is reflective of and shaped by the communities with which it works. Its leadership, staff, board and decision-makers are also reflective of those communities.

Active partnerships

It is building or intending to build collaborative partnerships with community stakeholders toward a shared vision of a more creative, equitable, and more just city. 

Fiscal Budget

It has a fiscal budget under $3 million. We encourage smaller grassroots organizations to apply.

Tax exempt status

It is a 501(c)3 with federal tax exempt status or has a fiscal sponsor.

We are committed to helping address the ongoing financial inequities that have harmed organizations founded by and for communities in Boston that have been excluded from access to resources. We also recognize that people experience inequities in many intersecting ways. To that end, we will focus on organizations that strive to address the overlapping ways their constituents experience social, economic and power inequities.

Application Process

Letter of Inquiry and Application Process

All organizations that meet the criteria and eligibility requirements of the grant can submit a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) by February 1, 2023, at 11:59 p.m.

Learn more about the LOI process

Cultural Advisory Team

We will pilot a Cultural Advisory Team. Their scope of work includes supporting organizations in completing applications and providing MOAC with funding recommendations. The deadline to apply to be on the Cultural Advisory Team is January 22, 2023.

Learn more about the Cultural Advisory Team

Timeline

All ARPA money must be encumbered by the end of the calendar year 2024 and be spent by the end of calendar year 2026. We will disburse funds over four years on a timeline that meets the fiscal spending of grantees. For the first year, we will disburse funds in early April 2023. A condensed timeline is below:

  • January 9, 2023: Official announcement and Letter of Inquiry (LOI) launch for the Cultural Investment Grant

  • February 1, 2023 at 11:59 p.m.: LOI submission deadline

  • February - early March: Up to 12 organizations from LOI submissions are selected to complete applications. The Cultural Advisory Team conducts interviews of applicant organizations and supports application submission.

  • March 13: Deadline for application submission

  • Mid-March: Final decision process with support of the Cultural Advisory Team

  • Late March: Organizations informed of grantee decisions, grant agreements and paperwork submitted

  • Mid-April: First round of funding disbursed

Accessibility and Accommodations Statement

Anyone seeking technical support or accommodations can reach out to artsgrants@boston.gov or call us at (617) 635-4445. This includes, but is not limited to, people who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, or have difficulty speaking or reading. Large print and translated materials are available upon request.

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