Creative Spark Mini-Grant Program

Part of the Creative Worcester Initiative (Pilot)

Greater Worcester Community Foundation is excited to partner with the Barr Foundation to support and elevate the creative community of Worcester. Through several initiatives, we look to do our part to energize and elevate Worcester’s dynamic creative ecosystem by helping support innovative projects and thoughtful planning.

The Creative Worcester Initiative will support organizations and individuals in the creative sector, and those committed to strengthening the sector, to develop deeper engagement with our changing and diverse community. Our aim is to foster a city where artists and creative entrepreneurs are welcomed and supported, quality projects are expanded and emulated, the contributions of our diverse populations are celebrated, and the sector is supported as a key driver of vitality and well-being.

Values Guiding Our Work

Greater Worcester Community Foundation believes that we build a stronger community when we use our grants and other resources to:

  • Improve access to creative experiences for those who may have been traditionally excluded;
  • Celebrate the assets of a diverse community, address injustice, welcome newcomers, and incorporate the views of those who are intended to benefit from funded programs;
  • Foster dynamic collaborations among organizations and across sectors;
  • Adopt practices based on proven evidence and use data to drive decisions;
  • Help nonprofits improve their financial and management practices, and expand the base of community support.

About the Creative Spark Mini-Grant Program

Greater Worcester Community Foundation, an active partner in the development of the City of Worcester's Cultural Plan, is also a strong advocate for it. We believe that Worcester’s arts and culture community has a unique and important role to play, especially when it comes to our city’s highly diverse population. 

The Creative Spark Mini-Grant Program is intended to help enable organizations and individuals engaged in or committed to the creative sector - those focused on the arts, culture, and humanities - to advance the Cultural Plan by supporting new/first-time projects that align with our values, and address one or more strategies in the plan. 

Areas of Interest

The one-time Spark Mini-Grants may be used for any number of purposes that will bring the innovative idea to fruition. This may include, but is not limited to: 

  • Cultural events;
  • Exhibits or installations;
  • Special performances or performance series;
  • Communal engagement programs or workshops;
  • Purchase of equipment needed for project delivery;
  • Creative collaborations.

Grant Range

Grants may range in size from $500 to $5,000. The Foundation does not need to be the sole funder of any project. Funds will be dispersed upon approval/acceptance, unless specific circumstances exist that warrant delayed payment.


  • Projects must take place within Worcester City Limits.

  • Projects must have a demonstrated public benefit, specifically in relation to the Cultural Plan.

  • Organizations and individuals chosen will be expected to:
    • Participate in one grantee gathering organized by the Foundation;
    • At the conclusion of their project: 
      • submit a progress report outlining project achievements and, more importantly, describing lessons learned that can be shared with others to increase the capacity of the sector; and, 
      •  submit some form of visual documentation of the project.

Eligibility & Restrictions

  • Applicants must be either (a) a tax-exempt, nonprofit organizations as recognized by IRS code 501(c)(3) serving Worcester or a contiguous community; (b) an unincorporated organization in a documented fiscal sponsorship agreement with an established nonprofit; or, (c) an individual member of the creative sector looking to deliver a program or project in Worcester.
  • Projects that are already underway are not eligible. Grants may not be used for expenses already incurred.
  • Spark Grants may not be used for afterschool or summer enrichment programs for youth; applicants interested in funding for such programs should apply through our Community Grants Program.
  • An organization or individual may receive a maximum of one Creative Spark Mini-Grant per calendar year.


None. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis from July - December, 2019, or until available funds are exhausted.

Application Forms & Instructions

The application form is online. The first time an organization applies to the Foundation through our online application system, it creates an Organization Account to use for each application going forward. Please use the same account you have previously used, or create a new one if this your first time applying online. You may contact Foundation staff to find out if your organization already has an account in our system.

Contact: Jonathan Cohen
Telephone: 508-755-0980 

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