Creative Worcester Initiative

GWCF is partnering with the Barr Foundation to support and elevate the creative community of Worcester. We seek to help propel Worcester's "cultural renaissance" by energizing dynamic cultural institutions, empowering innovative creatives, and engaging with community leaders.

As the world changes around us, we depend on arts and creativity to continue to change as well – to help bridge divides, build understanding, and enable all to find their voice and place in our communities. Through this initiative, we aim to foster a city where artists and creative entrepreneurs are welcomed and supported, quality projects are replicated or taken to scale, the contributions of our diverse populations are celebrated, and the sector is supported as a key driver of vitality and well-being.

Our work is part of the Barr Foundation's Creative Commonwealth Initiative, a project launched in 2018 that brings together five community foundations from across Massachusetts who recognize the power and importance of arts and creativity in our communities. We are proud to have been selected by Barr to advance this work!

Advancing Worcester's First Cultural Plan

Worcester's Cultural Plan

The plan lays out 5 over-arching goals, and 90 different strategies to be implemented over the next ten years, with a range of community partners on board to help make it happen. 

View the Plan


The Foundation recently lead the way in the development of Worcester's first-ever Cultural Plan, made available to the public on May 29, 2019. Created in partnership with the City and the Worcester Cultural Coalition, the Plan promotes a shared vision that recognizes the power of culture to make our City a better place for people to live, work and thrive.

We're proud to take a leadership role convening and educating our community about the Cultural Plan. We are also directing financial and knowledge resources to our creative sector to further advance the Plan and strengthen the creative sector.

Cultural Plan Activation Mini-Grant Program: Intended to inspire organizations and individuals engaged in the creative sector to help advance the City’s Cultural Plan. This grant program seeks to fund projects that: celebrate & amplify diverse communities; increase access, equity & inclusion; uplift & empower the community; and, are innovative, thought-provoking & collaborative.  Learn more.

Nonprofit Support Center for Creatives (NSCfc): We are offering workshops targeted to the needs of our region's arts, culture and creativity organizations through our Nonprofit Support Center. The NSC is a program of the Foundation aimed at fostering a strong, collaborative, and forward-thinking nonprofit sector. As part of this initiative, the NSC is now doing this specifically with creatives in mind! Learn more.

Granting to Elevate Arts & Creativity

We believe that Worcester’s nonprofit cultural organizations can be supported to serve and engage with communities that represent Worcester’s changing demographics. Our Creative Impact granting program is designed to help arts & culture organizations in need of additional funding to transform innovative ideas into successful programs or partnerships that address critical needs.

Each year, the Foundation will identify an area of priority for creative impact grants. In addition to grant funding, the selected organizations will be provided with technical assistance through a learning cohort to advance their project or partnership, thus providing a mechanism for the Foundation to draw out key learnings that can be shared with the wider community.

Questions about the Creative Worcester Initiative? 

Contact Program Officer Jonathan Cohen 
by email or at 508-755-0980.

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