ARTSBUILDCOMMUNITYINNOVATIONGRANTS

Arts Build Community Innovation Grants

GRANT GUIDELINES

OVERVIEW

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 arts and cultural programming as they launch new projects, expand existing programs and collaborate with other organizations.

WHO CAN APPLY

Nonprofit arts, cultural and community organizations or fiscally sponsored projects* in Berkshire County led by artists or community groups. Collaborations between one or more organizations is welcomed.

GRANT INFORMATION

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 to support applicants who are engaging in innovative projects or programs designed to have greater reach into the community, more effectively engage residents, leverage resources and achieve greater impact.

If the project involves multiple organizations, the lead organization in the collaboration should be an arts organization or fiscally-sponsored group with arts programming as its primary focus.

Proposed projects must work to address the most significant barriers to cultural participation for Berkshire County residents, including one or more of the following populations: youth, people of color, immigrants and/or low-income communities. Collaborations with partner organizations that work directly with the populations as described above are particularly desirable.

BTCF’s community-based participatory research identified the primary barriers in 2018 as social discomfort and anticipated rejection based on race and social class, time constraints, cost and transportation. In addition, more recently, the Berkshire Black Economic Council conducted research about the involvement and experience of Black residents at arts and cultural organizations in the Berkshires. Among logistical barriers this research identified were timing, transportation and ticket prices. Respondents also said they would like to see more street festivals, poetry, comedy and spoken word events.

ELIGIBILITY

BTCF will accept applications from arts and culture nonprofits or fiscally sponsored projects in Berkshire County, Mass. The applicant must:

  • Be incorporated as a 501(c)(3) organization or individuals or groups operating under the fiscal sponsorship of a 501(c)(3) organization.
  • Have operated with active arts and/or community engagement programming for at least one or more years.
  • Be based in and serve residents of Berkshire County, whether as an organization, project or program. Fiscal sponsorship may be based outside Berkshire 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, gender identity or expression, military status, political affiliation or religious belief.

*What is a fiscal sponsorship?  

  • The Council of Nonprofits defines fiscal sponsorships this way: “A fiscal sponsor is a nonprofit organization that provides fiduciary oversight, financial management and other administrative services to help build the capacity of charitable projects.” 
  • Another definition: The fiscal sponsor is “the administrative "home" of the cause. Charitable contributions are given to the fiscal sponsor, which then grants them to support the cause.”

If you are interested in fiscal sponsorship, please be in touch with Emily Bronson.

AWARDS

Grant awards will range up to $10,000 per grant award. The total amount available for all awards is $100,000. Applicants will be notified of a decision by December 15, 2022. The grant term is one year and final reports will be due by December 1, 2023.

KEY DEADLINES

Innovation grant applications are due by November 1, 2022. Notifications will be sent by December 15, 2022. Final reports for funded applicants are due by December 1, 2023.

REVIEW CRITERIA

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 organization(s) 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 of the proposed program to strengthen your organization
  • Potential impact of the proposed program to build or uplift the Berkshire County community, including potential hiring from within the Berkshire County community
  • Demonstrated ability of the organization(s) to implement change
  • Demonstrated impact in the community, based on measures or indicators the organization(s) track (Such as: How many members of your target audience did you reach through the grant? What barriers to the arts were addressed by your organization’s rapid response project?)

DESIRED OUTCOMES

BTCF expects that new ideas for community engagement will be developed, leading to positive results in the community, greater understanding of community interests and key lessons that can inform additional program development.

Additional desired outcomes include:

  • Increased engagement in a wide range of cultural activities, especially among lower-income Berkshire County residents, communities of color, youth and immigrants;
  • New and enhanced collaborations among arts and cultural organizations, community groups and among lower-income Berkshire County residents, communities of color, youth and immigrants, and marginalized communities;
  • 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;
  • An increased awareness of social justice principles, and a willingness to bring these principles into current and future projects.

Grant guidelines were reviewed and approved by BBEC’s Criteria Evaluation.