Ends on February 5, 2018
The Free For All Fund was established to ensure the permanent legacy of Charles Ansbacher’s vision to enhance the lives of all Bostonians through the common language of music.  The mission of the fund is “to ensure that everyone from the Boston region—children, adults, families—will have regular and permanent access to the rich world of classical, orchestral music and related cultural events.”
A Free For All Grant will provide:

  • Up to $7,500 in flexible, project-specific funds to unincorporated, fiscally-sponsored ensembles/groups or organizations with annual budgets of $1.5 million and below to create free and open-to-the-public classical musical performances for Greater Boston audiences. Applicants can apply for support of a single performance or a series.

Funding priorities

Funding priorities will be given to applications that demonstrate:

  • Artistic Quality: Evidence of technical acumen and mastery of the art form; innovative and interesting programming; evidence of risk-taking*; and performance-based programs versus education-based programs. (Note that the performances and programs can occur in educational settings like schools, but that funds are not intended to support music classes or master classes and instead will be directed to artistic programs and performances.)
  • Public Benefit: Activation or use of interesting or underutilized spaces for the program, with a focus on serving audiences with limited or no access to arts and culture programming.
  • Likelihood of success: Evidence of high likelihood of success based upon solid plans, collaborative relationship with a venue (or venues), ability to get appropriate permitting and licensing, and clear, thoughtful marketing and outreach plans.

* “Risk taking” may include engaging new audiences or communities, performing in venues (outdoor/indoor) that are new to your organization or group, forging new artistic collaborations, or performing material that is different from your organization or group’s regular repertoire.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible to apply, applicants must meet each of the following criteria:

  • Applicants can be 501(c) 3 nonprofit organizations that have a primary mission focused on arts and culture and budgets of $1.5 million or below for the most recently completed fiscal year, OR fiscally sponsored unincorporated groups/ensembles. For more information on fiscal sponsorship, see below.
  • ALL applicants must have been presenting work for at least a year prior to January 1, 2017.
  • 501(c) 3 nonprofit organizations must have a business address within The Boston Foundation’s catchment area.
  • For unincorporated groups/ensembles, the Primary Contact for the application must reside full-time and make work within the Boston Foundation’s catchment area, defined here.  See more information about applying as a group/ensemble below.
  • Performing artists must be at least 18 years old.
  • Performing artists in proposed projects must be professional musicians. The word “professional” refers to the nature of the artist’s commitment to his or her art form as one of his or her primary vocations, rather than the amount of financial remuneration earned through the art form.
  • The performance venue(s) must fall within the Boston Foundation's catchment area.  Please see the list of covered towns and cities here.
  • Non-profit organizations or unincorporated groups/ensembles that have previously applied for The Boston Foundation’s Open Door grants or Live Arts Boston grants are still eligible to apply for Free For All grants.

Program Guidelines

  • Public Performance Requirement: The program(s)/event(s) must be free and open to the public. 
  • The grantee organization or group/ensemble must obtain proper permitting and licensure.
  • The grantee organization must pay participating artists.
  • The proposed program(s) must focus on classical* live music performance, but may also incorporate components of other artistic disciplines, including but not limited to film, dance, theater, spoken word, and visual art.
  • Please submit a complete program budget for the entire program for which funding is requested. If it is a series, please submit a budget including expenses from the series. If it is a single event, the budget can include only items related to that event. If the event is larger than the highest possible Free For All Fund request amount ($7,500), please include other income sources, whether potential, probable or actual, to help offset expenses of more than $7,500. Include line items for all aspects of the production, marketing and outreach, artist payment, etc.
  • Final Report:  Awardees will be required to complete a simple final report at the end of the grant period detailing the ways in which funds were used. Receipts for expenditures will not need to be submitted, but documentation (e.g., video, photos, marketing materials) from relevant public performances of the proposed project will be required. More information about final reporting will be provided to awardees when grants are disbursed.


Groups and ensembles should apply jointly and submit a single application under the name of the group, but MUST identify a Primary Contact for the application.

Groups and ensembles MUST be fiscally sponsored in order to apply. (Please see section on Fiscal Sponsorship below.)

It is NOT required that all ensemble or group members meet the residence requirements listed above for performing artists; however, the Primary Contact for the group must meet this eligibility requirement.  The remaining eligibility requirements apply to all members of the group/ensemble (i.e., each person must be at least 18 years of age, be a professional musician, and have had a one-year history of public presentation).

Program Timeline

Launch Date:  January 5, 2018

Application Deadline:  February 5, 2018, MIDNIGHT (NOTE: Do not attempt to submit applications at or around midnight; the application platform will likely close you out.)

Decisions Anticipated: March 2018

Grant Period: Funds must be spent between March 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018

Note About Fiscal Agency

Unincorporated ensembles or groups MUST utilize a fiscal sponsor with 501(c)(3) status when applying.

While any nonprofit can act as a fiscal sponsor for another, provided both parties to the sponsorship agree to an arrangement in advance, several local and national organizations specialize in serving as fiscal sponsors, including: Have any questions about the application or the program?   Please email your questions to Aimee Scorziello at Aimee.Scorziello@tbf.org, and put "Free For All Fund" in the subject heading.