Arts Build Community - Collaborative Grants




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, cultural and community organizations in Berkshire County in collaboration with one other organization


Arts and culture providers and other community organizations have unique strengths and limitations, and very often greater effectiveness and efficiencies can be achieved when they work together rather than independently. BTCF seeks applications from Berkshire County nonprofit organizations to support projects or programs involving one other organization working in collaboration in order to have greater reach into the community, more effectively engage residents, leverage resources and achieve greater impact. At least one organization in the collaboration should be an arts organization.

Each collaborating partner must be an integral part of the project. Examples of collaborative partnerships include shared resources, joint planning, and coordination of programs and services. Applicants should have a history of collaboration with others to amplify community impact.

Proposed projects must work to address the most significant barriers to cultural participation for underserved Berkshire residents, including one or more of the following populations: youth, people of color, immigrants and low-income communities. Collaborations with partner organizations that work directly with the target populations as described above are particularly desirable. BTCF’s community-based participatory research identified these barriers as: cost, transportation, social discomfort, time constraints and fear of rejection based on race and social class.

Organizations may use collaborative grants for any number of purposes related to the overall goal of the project. This may include, but is not limited to:

  • Two organizations partnering to share arts programming with a community group representing one or more of the underserved populations identified above.
  • Expanding an existing collaborative program that focuses on arts and creativity that has proven effective and holds the potential, if adapted, to serve new communities or to deepen engagement with a current population segment.


BTCF will accept applications from one lead organization in association with one other organization. Lead organizations must:

  • Be incorporated as a 501(c)(3) organization or operate under fiscal sponsorship of a 501(c)(3) organization.
  • Have operated with active arts and/or community engagement programming for at least three years.
  • 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.


Grant awards will range up to $15,000 per collaborative grant award. The total amount available for all awards is $85,000. Applicants will be notified of a decision within six weeks of the deadline date.


Collaborative grant applications are due on Sept. 15.  No late submissions will be considered.


Applications will be reviewed by Berkshire Taconic staff and the Arts Build Community Advisory Committee comprised of area residents who are active in their communities and have expertise in the arts, creativity and community engagement. Applications will be reviewed using the following criteria:

  • Readiness of the organizations to participate in the grantmaking program, evidenced by organizational capacity, partnerships within the community and approach to developing new or expanded initiatives or programming
  • Synergies among the proposed partners in addressing barriers to arts participation
  • Potential impact of the proposed program on the organizations internally
  • Potential impact of the proposed program externally
  • Demonstrated ability of the organizations to implement change and grow
  • Demonstrated impact in the community, based on measures or indicators the organizations track


BTCF expects that new ideas for community engagement will be incubated and tested, leading to positive results in the community, greater awareness of what works, and key lessons that can inform additional program development.

Additional desired outcomes include:

  • Increased engagement in a wide range of cultural activities by those that are underrepresented (especially among lower-income residents, communities of color, youth and immigrants);
  • New and enhanced collaborations among arts and cultural organizations, community groups and underrepresented populations;
  • More high-quality strategies and programs that engage diverse audiences in the community;
  • Increased capacity of organizations to continue to design and implement these strategies and programs.

It is the intention of the foundation to bring together grantees to learn from each other, as well as provide technical assistance and professional development, to amplify and improve grantee success.


Up to $15,000 per collaborative grant award


September 16

How to Apply

Please read these important instructions.