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ToolkitLCC Program Information

Council Originated Grants (LCO)

Local council originated (LCO) projects are those that are developed by the council itself. They might represent some larger project that has a wide public benefit, such as a work of public art, festival or exhibition. LCO projects are funded using a portion of the councils own allocation. Councils thinking about submitting an LCO application should review the following information about the LCO process:

Community Need

In addition to meeting the LCC criteria and eligibility requirements, an LCO application must demonstrate that the project responds to a specific unmet public need in the community. Determine what your neighbors want through community input meetings, surveys and analyses of grant applications over the past few years.

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To apply for an LCO grant, contact Councils who apply for an LCO grant must submit a draft to the MCC by October 1 and then mail their final application and materials to the MCC by the October 15 postmark deadline. Because an LCO application is essentially competing for funds with community applicants, such proposals must address additional questions about the intended community benefit. LCO proposals must fulfill any local requirements that are expected of other applicants, such as a complete budget, supporting materials, matching funds, etc. When developing an idea, keep these things in mind:

  • How is this project benefiting the community?
  • Does this project respond to a specific, unmet public cultural need in the community?
  • What kind of support does the council have from the community and town government?
  • Is the council collaborating with any other organizations or communities?
  • What percentage of the council's total allocation is the council requesting for the LCO? Requests for more than 20 percent of the council's total allocation are unusual and will be heavily scrutinized by the MCC to ensure that there is sufficient community input and community support for the project.
  • LCO projects take teamwork and time. Be careful to do the necessary logistical planning.

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Important Dates

Draft:LCCs are encouraged to submit a draft of their application to the MCC by October 1 each year. MCC staff will provide feedback and offer the LCC an opportunity to improve their proposal before the final deadline. Drafts should be emailed to Jennifer Atwood.

Application: Final applications are due to MCC on the October 15 postmark deadline. Please mail the LCO application, supplemental materials and the council's contact information to:

Massachusetts Cultural Council
Attn: Jennifer Atwood
10 St. James Ave., 3rd Floor
Boston, MA 02116-3803

Applicants are notified of their decisions by mid-November. Councils should plan to hold their voting meeting after receiving final notification. Child

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Panel Process

Local council originated projects will be evaluated at the state level by a panel of MCC staff who are familiar with the activities of local cultural councils. The panel's recommendations go to MCC senior staff for final approval. It is important to note that any amount awarded to a council must be paid for from the council's allocated funds.

In reviewing LCO grants, the MCC uses the eligibility requirements outlined by the LCC Program Guidelines (PDF):

  • Applications are subject to the same guidelines as all other LCC applications.
  • Applications must demonstrate that they respond to a specific unmet public cultural need in the community. Councils are strongly encouraged to use their community input process to ask for specific suggestions for projects or to elicit feedback on a proposed LCO project.
  • LCO applications must demonstrate significant planning and community support.
  • Capital expenditure requests are not eligible.
  • LCO funds cannot be spent on projects that are primarily typical council administrative expenses, such as paid administrative staff or standard council publicity efforts. Councils may use up to five percent of their allocation annually for such purposes.

If a council's LCO application is approved, an LCC must weigh the merits of its own proposal, and how well it meets program guidelines, against all other locally submitted proposals and decide how much of its allocation it ultimately wishes to set aside for its own project. An LCC can choose to allocate less than the amount approved by the MCC, but not more.

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Complete the Project

The council should let the community know about the project. Publicity is important, both before and after the project happens. Invite local officials to attend the event; call your MCC staff contact to help with legislative invitations. And don't forget to have fun!

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