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Cultural Capital Fund2021-10-07T12:37:26+00:00

In October of 2020, the Cambridge Community Foundation (CCF) and the City of Cambridge joined forces to  launch a new Cultural Capital Fund with over $600,000 to address urgent needs in the local arts and culture sector as an initial step. The Foundation has also committed to building an endowment for the arts and culture sector, targeting $5 million over five years, to protect the city’s cultural richness over the long term.  

As the first major donor to the Cultural Capital Fund, the City of Cambridge allocated $500,000 from the Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund to provide grants to local arts organizations of up to $25,000 for capital improvements necessary due to the COVID-19 pandemic and up to $10,000 for operations and programming during the COVID-19 pandemic through the new Fund.  In December of 2020, the first round of grants were awarded from the fund. As of Summer 2021, the fund has awarded 40 grants to arts organizations. 

CCF is thankful also for a generous $100,000 gift from the Wagner Foundation, a long-time supporter, to address urgent needs in the local arts and culture sector, with a focus on the Central Square Cultural District.  

For anyone interested in contributing to the Cultural Capital Fund, please scroll down to learn more. 

“Starlight Square”. Photo courtesy of the Central Square Business Improvement District.

For arts organizations


The deadline for Capital Grants applications is Friday October 22th, 2021 at 11:59PM.

Through the Capital Grants, the Cultural Capital Fund aims to help arts and cultural venues to safely reopen according to the City’s and State’s COVID-19 reopening plans and directly enable work, education, and health monitoring, including remote options, in response to the public health emergency. Preference will be given to intermediary organizations that house and support more local artists beyond their own organization.

Examples eligible work include:

  • The repair, renovation, rehabilitation or deferred maintenance of a cultural facility. Capital Grant applicants must either own or lease the facility.
  • Planning and installation of health and safety infrastructure and fixed equipment needs (i.e. HVAC evaluation and upgrades, air quality/humidity/CO2 sensing equipment, plexiglass/barrier installation, etc.)
  • Costs of Internet service, equipment, devices, or skills training.
  • Investments in depreciable assets and the ancillary costs needed to put capital assets in use.
  • Costs related to the assessment of facilities.
  • New projects that demonstrate a transformative impact on the community.

We are currently only accepting applications for capital grants of up to $25,000.

At this time, applicants must have 501(c)(3) status or a fiscal sponsor with 501(c)(3) status. For more eligibility requirements, please scroll down to the FAQs.

Deadline to apply: Friday, October 22, 2021 at 11:59pm.

Please send your questions to Minjee Lee, [email protected]

Frequently Asked Questions

Can my organization apply for more than one grant from the Cultural Capital Fund?2021-03-04T20:23:47+00:00

No, at this time, an organization is only eligible to receive one grant from the Cultural Capital Fund.

Will there be additional funds available to nonprofits through the Cultural Capital Fund?2021-03-04T20:21:23+00:00

The Foundation anticipates having an additional call for applications when more money is raised through the Cultural Capital Fund. 

Who can I talk to about more information?2021-03-04T20:20:40+00:00

Please direct emails to [email protected].

What is the review process?2020-10-28T13:04:59+00:00

After applications are received, all complete applications will be distributed to a committee of reviewers, made up of representatives from the Foundation and the City and local arts leaders. 

What’s the application deadline?2021-06-24T18:34:26+00:00

We are accepting applications on a rolling basis and reviewing them on a rolling basis, until the funds are depleted. 

If we received COVID-19 relief funds or a Community Fund grant from the Cambridge Community Foundation, can we apply to this Fund?2021-03-08T19:20:44+00:00

Yes. However, if you’ve already received a grant through the Cultural Capital Fund, you may not re-apply for a second grant. 

If we received COVID-19 relief funds from the Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund, can I apply again?2020-10-28T12:58:39+00:00

Organizations that were funded through the Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund can apply for grants again, but the grant application must be for a different purpose than what was previously funded.  

Are artists and arts groups eligible for grants from the Cultural Capital Fund now or in the future?2021-03-04T20:17:57+00:00

Individual artists and groups are not eligible at this time but the Foundation will look to partner with local arts organizations to ensure artists in the community are supported through arts nonprofits. The funding available will expand based on additional funds raised and community needs. 

Who is eligible for funds from the Cultural Capital Fund now?2021-03-04T20:17:14+00:00

The grants in this initial grantmaking phase are earmarked for Cambridge nonprofits with either 501(c)(3) status or a fiscal sponsor. Applicants must be located in Cambridge, MA and serve the Cambridge, MA community.

What are the criteria for eligibility for grants?2021-03-08T19:41:07+00:00
  • Primary mission must be to promote access, excellence, diversity, or education through arts and culture. 
  • Be tax exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code or apply through a 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor and be in good standing with the Secretary of the Commonwealth. 
  • Must be located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 
  • Must describe any funds the arts organization has previously received in COVID-19 relief funding from the City, including other grants from the Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund or CARES Act. 
  • Media arts organization applicants such as community tv stations shall have over 50% of programming time for arts and culture and/or the core business is related to youth programming or workforce development in arts and culture.
  • If you are applying as an emerging organization: 
    • Be an arts organization engaged in planning / running arts programming and events in response to local needs or community issues. 
  • If you are applying as an established organization:  
    • Be an arts organization that has provided public arts or cultural programming for both 2018 & 2019 in the City. 
    • Offer public cultural programming in and have a history of year-round operations in the City.  
  • In addition to the requirements aboveestablished organizations seeking capital grants must: 
    • have had minimum cash expenses of $50,000 for both calendar years 2018 and 2019; and 
    • include two written quotes for the capital needs funding requested. 


For arts supporters

The Fund – the first of its kind – serves as a central channel for donors and other stakeholders to pool their resources into a common purpose: to meet the immediate needs of artists and arts organizations and to preserve the viability of the arts ecosystem.  

Before the pandemic, the arts and culture sector was a $174.8 million per year contributor to the Cambridge economy and central to its vitality. We must act now — together, we can preserve and nurture the arts and culture vital to our community. Please support the arts through the Cultural Capital Fund. Donate here. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Who may I contact with more questions about giving to this fund?2020-12-02T19:09:45+00:00

Please contact Michal Rubin, vice president of development at [email protected]. 

Where does my donation go?2020-12-02T19:07:22+00:00

The Foundation is currently raising dollars to support the Cultural Capital Fund’s dual purpose: to support to arts and culture organizations for urgent needs and to grow an endowment to support and preserve arts and culture in Cambridge in longevity. 

Funds currently collected though our through our Cultural Capital Fund online giving portal, support the immediate needs faced by local arts and culture organizations. 

Offline gifts are split between immediate needs and the endowment track. 

In addition, donors may make specific designations for their gifts to the Cultural Capital Fund. To learn more on how, please contact: [email protected]