Approvals & Modifications
Grant decisions are based on eligibility, as well as state guidelines and council priorities. The approved applications will best meet these criteria for each community. As approved projects take place, instances may occur where the original project is altered in some way. This section will discuss several topics related to approved applications such as what to do if a project needs to be changed, and how applicants can acknowledge the council's financial support.
Clear communication with applicants at the time of the award will help prevent common problems later in the grant cycle. Councils should immediately send out disapproval letters (hard copy or email) following the voting meeting. After sending the disapproval letters, the council must wait a 15 day reconsideration period which starts on the notification date of the disapproval letter (postmark on envelope or timestamp on email). If the council does not receive any requests in this timeframe, then it can complete the Annual Report to the MCC. Once completed, the MCC will notify the council that their Annual Report has been received.
With this notification from the MCC, councils can notify successful applicants that their grant was approved by sending final approval letters via email or hard copy after completing the annual report. Please note that in the case than an email approval notification is undeliverable, councils should follow up by sending a hard copy. If a council member needs to be reimbursed for administrative expenses, the council member should submit a Reimbursement Form to the town accountant with proof of expenditures. The town may have additional requirements, which they should communicate with the LCC.
Final approval letters to successful applicants should include:
Councils should tailor the sample approval letter to meet their specific needs. The letter of approval should make clear to the applicant the council's expectations in regards to:
- Any conditions the council has placed on the grant.
- Any specific publicity requirements the council has in addition to the state requirements.
- The date by which the council expects the project to take place.
- The procedure the applicant should follow in regards to requesting a project extension or modification.
- The documentation the applicant needs to provide in order to receive payment.
- Any forms that the municipality may require of the grantee such as a W-9 or 1099 tax form.
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Councils can make a "conditional" approval as a way to work with an applicant to improve upon a good idea. This means that the application will receive funds if a certain condition is met. Some examples of conditions that could be put on an approval are changing the date to coincide with a community event, using a different site that is wheelchair accessible, collaborating with a different school than proposed, or requiring that the activity is marketed well and that some funds are used for that purpose. Before placing a condition on a grant that requires the grantee to perform at a specific community event, the council should contact the event organizers to ensure that they welcome the opportunity to host the grantee and to avoid any surprises for both the event organizer and the grantee.
Placing conditions can allow a council to extend the impact of its funding so as to address needs that applicants may not be aware of or consider. Councils must communicate any conditions to the applicant in writing (email or hard copy) and note them in the minutes for that meeting. The applicant has the right to refuse the condition and forfeit the grant.
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Credit and Publicity Requirements
As a recipient of public funds, all grant recipients must acknowledge the financial support of the specific Local Cultural Council who granted them funds and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. LCC grant recipients are vital partners in raising the visibility of the role these funds play in the lives the cultural organizations, audiences and communities across the Commonwealth. For more information about acknowledgement requirements for grantees, please review the credit and publicity kit.
LCCs should include the credit and publicity enclosure with approval letters and direct grantees to the online credit and publicity kit.
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Councils can allow an application that has been approved to be modified. In order to approve a modification to an approved project, the council must reconvene a quorum of LCC members and vote. Project modifications should be requested in writing and the modification should not significantly alter the original purpose of the approved application. The council must inform the applicant in writing about any approved/disapproved modification requests and ensure that the vote is reflected in the meeting minutes.
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Grant recipients have one year from the date of their approval letter to request a reimbursement. Councils can, at their discretion, approve reasonable extensions for projects. In order to approve an extension to an approved project, the council must convene a quorum of LCC members and vote. An extension should be requested in writing and the council must inform the applicant in writing (hard copy or email) whether their request was approved or denied and ensure that the vote is reflected in the meeting minutes.
The procedure for extensions and/or modifications should be explained in your award letter to approved applicants.
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Reallocation of Funds
Because councils cannot accumulate state funds at the local level, if an applicant does not complete the project in the grant period or ask for an extension, the funds become unencumbered. Councils must reallocate the funds to a new project in the next available grant cycle. As a courtesy, councils should let the applicant know this is going to happen by contacting them and giving them a final deadline by which they need to request reimbursement. Read more about unencumbered funds.
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