Arts Build Community - Rapid Response Small Grants


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 and organizations with arts and cultural programming in Berkshire County


BTCF will allocate funding to projects sponsored by Berkshire County nonprofit organizations that test emerging ideas to more effectively engage residents in the arts and creative process. The foundation encourages resident engagement in the research, design and implementation of the projects. A fast turnaround of three weeks from application to funding disbursement will allow ideas to be acted upon when energy and opportunity exist within an organization and a community.

Proposed projects must work to address the most significant barriers to cultural participation for underserved Berkshire 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 fear of rejection based on race and social class.

The one-time rapid response small grants may be used for any number of purposes that will test new ideas for community engagement in the arts. This may include, but is not limited to:

  • Research to further inform your programmatic strategies in the arts with underserved populations and pilot a project informed by your research
  • Expansion of or change in a current arts program or event with the goal of increasing access among underserved populations or addressing an identified barrier
  • Targeted marketing strategies to reach new arts audiences
  • A pilot project addressing any of the barriers noted above

View a list of the 2019 grantees


Applicants must:

  • Be incorporated as a 501(c)(3) organization or operate under the fiscal sponsorship of a 501(c)(3) organization.
  • 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.  


Grant awards will range up to $7,500 per organization. The total amount available for all awards is $40,000.


The grant process will open on March 2. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until all funds are expended.


Applications will be reviewed by Berkshire Taconic staff using the following criteria:

  • 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 ability of the organization to implement change and grow


  • BTCF staff anticipates responding within three weeks of application submission and disbursing funds within five weeks of submission.  
  • The foundation expects projects to be completed and reported on within six months of receiving funding.
  • To enable innovative new ideas to be considered in response to community needs, there is a rolling deadline with applications reviewed on a first-submitted, first-reviewed basis until grant monies are expended.
  • Please contact BTCF before submitting a grant to be sure funds are still available within this 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 who 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 $7,500 per organization


The application process opens on March 2 and will be considered on a rolling basis until all funds are expended.

How to Apply

Please read these important instructions.