Arts Build Community - Capacity Building Program


Grant Guidelines


The grantmaking component of Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation’s Arts Build Community initiative supports the testing of new ideas to increase community engagement through the arts and creative process, especially among lower-income residents, communities of color, youth and immigrants. BTCF seeks to aid innovation among Berkshire County nonprofit arts and cultural organizations and community organizations that present significant arts and cultural programming as they launch new projects, expand existing programs and collaborate with other organizations.


Nonprofit arts and cultural organizations participating in BTCF’s intensive yearlong Arts Build Community Capacity Building Program. This grant opportunity is in addition to the $2,700 technical assistance funds available to all participants.


Pilot Project

Funding will be allocated to projects sponsored by the nonprofit organizations participating in the ABC Capacity Building Program. The projects must test emerging ideas that will more effectively engage residents in the arts and creative process.

Proposed projects must work to address the most significant barriers to cultural participation for underserved Berkshire County residents, particularly one or more of the following populations: youth, people of color, immigrants and low-income communities. BTCF’s community-based participatory research identified these barriers as cost, transportation, social discomfort, time constraints and fears of rejection based on race and social class.  

The pilot project grants may be used for any number of purposes that will test new ideas for community engagement in the arts, as long as the project:

  • Identifies and addresses underlying issues that create barriers to participation
  • Builds your capacity to effectively engage residents

Technical Assistance

The proposed project must have a goal of deepening the understanding of your organization around issues of diversity, equity, inclusion and cultural competency. It should be designed to build your capacity, strength and learning as an organization and therefore influence programming that impacts and engages youth, people of color, immigrants and low-income communities in the Berkshires.

The technical assistance grants may be used for any number of purposes. Some examples of potential projects may include:

  • Training with your organization’s board of directors and staff on identified areas where your organization could use additional support
  • Programmatic development with a professional that can provide additional knowledge and feedback on design


Applicants must:

  • Be incorporated as a 501(c)(3) organization or operate under the fiscal sponsorship of a 501(c)(3) organization.
  • Be currently participating in Berkshire Taconic’s Arts Build Community Capacity Building Program.
  • Have operated with active arts and/or community engagement programming.
  • Be based in and serve residents of Berkshire County. Fiscal sponsors may be located outside of the county.
  • Not include in its by-laws or practice discrimination against a person or group on the basis of age, race, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability, sexual orientation, political affiliation or religious belief.
  • Have as its mission a focus on arts and creativity or is an organization for which an arts and creativity program can further its core mission.  


The total amount available for all awards is $65,000 through a competitive process. Awards are expected to range from $7,500 to $10,000. Funding allocations will be determined based on the review criteria outlined below.


  • The deadline for applications is May 15, 2019.
  • Notification and payment of awards will be made no later than July 1, 2019.
  • Interim reports are due Nov. 1, 2019.
  • A final report is due March 1, 2020.  


Applications will be reviewed using the following criteria:

  • Quality of the proposed project and the strength of the connection between the project, the lessons learned in the capacity building program and findings from the community-based participatory research
  • Emphasis on arts and creativity as a program strategy
  • Readiness of the organization to implement and learn from the proposed project
  • Potential impact of the project on the residents with whom it engages
  • Demonstrated willingness and ability of the organization to implement change and adapt


$7,500 to $10,000 per organization


May 15

How to Apply

Please read these important instructions.


The application is open only to participants of BTCF’s Arts Build Community Capacity Building Program.