Creative Spark 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 Grant Program

We are strong advocates for the City of Worcester's cultural plan, which lays out a vision for how we want Worcester to be for all of its residents. We also 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 Grant Program is intended to empower the arts & culture sector to advance the cultural plan by activating under-served populations and amplifying under-heard voices. Organizations and individuals engaged in the creative sector – those focused on the arts, culture, and humanities – with a first-time project idea that aligns with these values and advances the plan are invited to apply for a Creative Spark Grant.

Areas of Interest

Creative Spark Grants are meant to spark more connections with and expressions by diverse community voices. Funds will be used to support new efforts in amplifying diverse community voices and presence within the creative sector. 

Applicants are not expected to engage every underserved population. Applicants are expected to have a thoughtful justification and strategy for targeting the population(s) they choose. 

The one-time Spark 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;
  • Creative collaborations.


  • Be a tax-exempt, nonprofit organizations as recognized by IRS code 501(c)(3) serving Worcester or a contiguous community; or, an unincorporated organization in a documented fiscal sponsorship agreement with an established nonprofit; or,
  • Be an individual member of the creative sector looking to deliver a program or project in Worcester.


Grants may range in size from $500 to $2,500. 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.

Terms and Conditions

  • Projects must take place in Worcester or a contiguous community.
  • Projects must have a demonstrated public benefit, specifically in relation to the identified focus population(s). 
  • 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.
  • 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.


TBA (spring/summer)

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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