Grant Writing Advice and Tips: The Grant Helpers Blog

Grants for Tourism

Posted by Michelle Hansen on Wed, Dec 7, 2016 @ 18:12 PM

5543382531_9ab2df8e69_q.jpgTheatre shows, special events, concert series, summer festivals, tourist attractions. Though the thermometer is trending downwards, the time is now to start planning for your warm weather events that can entertain your community and also bring people to your town to enjoy events and spend money. Grant money is available for tourism activities. Below we have outlined a few to get you started.

  Insider Tip: Most states offer tourism programs for organizations within the state. Your state department that promotes tourism (In Illinois it’s the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity) would be a great place to start when looking for tourism grant money.  

Levitt Foundation

This foundation wants to bring live music to small and mid-sized towns across the country. The Levitt AMP (Your City) grant award is a matching grant program through the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation, a national private foundation dedicated to strengthening America through the power of free, live music. Up to half of the matching grant money may be through in-kind donations like marketing or equipment. Each year grants are awarded to 15 U.S.-based non-profits serving towns with populations of up to 400,000. Each grantee receives $25,000 in matching funds to present the music series, a minimum of 10 free outdoor concerts presented over 10 to 12 consecutive weeks. Music lineups must be diverse to be eligible for funding. Grantees also receive a toolkit to ensure success of the concert series. Applications become available in July with applications due in October. Utica, New York received a grant for the 2016 cycle. They used the award to support a series of concerts featuring everything from jazz to flamenco guitar to pop rock in an otherwise unused green space.

Tourism Cares

This is a unique grant program that supports tourism in the United States as well as throughout the country. The organization awards grants to nonprofit organizations around the world for conservation, preservation, restoration, or education at tourism-related sites. Tourism Cares has awarded nearly $2.5 million in grant funds since its inception. Mississippi River National Recreation Area was a recipient of grant funds to plant native plants and remove invasive plant species.

Market Development Cooperator Program

Trade associations, chambers of commerce and other non-profit businesses and organizations are generally eligible to apply for an MDCP award from the International Trade Association. Eligible groups represent the business interests of large numbers of firms, or even entire industries. Each dollar of federal funding requested must be matched on a 2-to-1 basis. The applicant must put up the first dollar of match. The second dollar of the match may be in-kind contribution by the applicant or it may be contributed by other organizations. The maximum award amount is $300,000. If you are an eligible organization, all you have to do is send a letter, email, or fax requesting an eligibility determination. Once you are deemed eligible the requests for proposals is generally published in January with applications due in March.


See something you like above? We can help give you a competitive edge when applying with our years of experience in the grant world. Need a different grant service? We are a full-service grant company with a wide array of services. Contact us today to set up a free phone consultation with one of our expert Grant Helpers.


Photo Credit: Audrey Stanton

Topics: tourism grants, grants for tourism, tourism, music grants, outdoor music grants, community grant, community development, economic development, nonprofit, non-profit, nonprofit grants, grants, grant opportunity, grants for nonprofits

Grants for Swimming Pools, Water Parks

Posted by Alisyn Franzen on Thu, Aug 7, 2014 @ 12:08 PM

As summer comes to a close, continues to get a great number of requests for information swimming pool grants, aquatic center grants, water park grants, and other similar types of funding.

In this blog article, we provide you a few examples of grants that might assist your municipality or non-profit organization in finding grants for the construction, rehabilitation, or running of aquatic swimming and leisure facilities. If you have any questions, or if you would like to speak to a specialist about finding additional funding for your project, please do not hesitate to contact us. After all, next summer will come around sooner than you expect, and many of these grant opportunities require some advanced planning before submitting a proposal.


Outdoor Recreational Grant Program

The National Park Service’s Outdoor Recreational Grant Program awards park districts and local government agencies grants to acquire, plan, and develop land for public recreational purposes. Swimming pools, bike and walking trails, tennis courts, soccer fields, restrooms, and water facilities are just some of the eligible projects for this grant. Deadlines and amount of funding given varies from year to year.


Community Facilities Grant Program

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Community Facilities Grant Program awards funding to repair facilities used for community purposes, public safety, and health care. Municipalities with fewer than 20,000 residents are eligible for this grant, but communities with fewer than 5,000 residents or with median incomes below 60% of the state’s median income receive highest priority.


Community Entitlement Grants Program

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development supports the Community Entitlement Grants Program, which awards grants to municipalities with over 50,000 residents and counties with more than 200,000 residents. The purpose of the program is to support community projects that improve the economic development and living conditions of residents. Projects may include land acquisitions, construction and rehabilitation of facilities, and more.


Angles to Consider

It seems obvious that when searching for grants for swimming pools or water parks, you would look for grants that promote such types of recreation. However, as we often encourage, try to think outside the box. Ask yourself, “What, besides recreational activity, will such a pool/center/facility be able to do for the community?”

You might realize that, depending upon your location and your design for your facility, you might be able bring additional dollars to your community through avenues such as tourism, business and economic development, community development, promotion of healthy living, and more. Do not forget to examine grants in these areas as well as more traditional areas like those mentioned above.


As always, if you need assistance brainstorming or finding funding sources for your projects, offers free initial consultations. Contact one of our experts today.


Image credit: David Schott

Topics: community development, community development grant, economic development, parks and recreation grants, swimming pool grants, recreation grant, community facility grants, parks and recreation, outdoor recreation grants, community improvement grant

A Buffet of Upcoming Municipal Grant Opportunities

Posted by Michelle Hansen on Tue, Mar 11, 2014 @ 08:03 AM

There are a lot of appetizing grants available for municipalities this fiscal year. We have prepared for you a hand-selected buffet of grants in a wide variety of subject areas, all with upcoming deadlines. can help facilitate rush jobs if your favorite grant seen below has a deadline only months, or weeks, away. So pull up a chair, pick your favorite “dish,” and let us help you fund your projects.

FY14 Brownfields Training, Research, and Technical Assistance Grant

The United States Environmental Protection Agency has released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for its Fiscal Year 2014 Brownfields Training, Research, and Technical Assistance Grant Program. A brownfield is land previously used for industrial purposes or some commercial uses. The land may be contaminated by low concentrations of hazardous waste or pollution, and has the potential to be reused once it is cleaned up.This year’s program is focusing on four areas:

  • technical assistance to environmental workforce development and job training grantees

  • technical assistance on the integration of environmental justice and equitable development for brownfields-impacted communities

  • research on the benefits of brownfields redevelopment

  • technical assistance on brownfields financing and economic development strategies to brownfields-impacted communities.

One grant will be made in each subject area, with grants totaling between $500,000-$1 million. Eligible costs include: costs for personnel, technical experts, materials, supplies, room rentals, travel, and transportation expenses. Proposals are due April 18.  

Planning Program and Local Technical Assistance Program

Applications are accepted on a continual basis for the Planning Program and Local Technical Assistance Program through the Department of Commerce. Grants can be up to $100,000, and there is a cost matching requirement. State and local governments can apply for these grants which aim to create regional economic development plans designed to stimulate and guide the economic development efforts of a community or region. Specifically, grants should be used to develop, implement, revise, or replace Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies, which are documents that express a region’s economic goals. 

Adult Drug Court Discretionary Grant Program

Units of local governments that wish to implement or enhance an adult drug court are eligible for this grant program from the Department of Justice. This program funds drug courts that effectively integrate evidenced-based substance abuse treatment, mandatory drug testing, sanctions and incentives, and transitional services in a judicially supervised court setting with jurisdiction over substance-abusing offenders. These courts have been shown to reduce crime and substance abuse among high-risk, high-need offenders. Municipalities hoping to create a new drug court are eligible for a $350,000 grant, while cities wishing to enhance their already-established court are entitled to a $200,000 grant. Governments must provide a 25% non-federal portion of the total project cost. Applications are due March 18.    

Preservation Assistance Grants for Smaller Institutions

The National Endowment for the Humanities is accepting applications for its Preservation Assistance Grants for Smaller Institutions Program. The aim of this program is to assist small to mid-sized institutions like libraries, museums, or historical societies preserve and care for humanities collections. Applications from institutions that have never received a NEH grant previously are strongly encouraged. In the last five competitions the Preservation Assistance Grants program received an average of 313 applications per year. The program made an average of 106 awards per year, for a funding ratio of 34 percent. The application deadline is May 1.

FY 2014 Economic Development Assistance Program

Municipalities hoping to better their economic development strategies should apply for this grant program through the Economic Development Administration. Grants support the implementation of regional economic development strategies designed to create jobs, leverage private capital, and encourage economic development. Specifically, the EDA hopes to foster job creation and spur private investment by providing these grants. There is a matching requirement for this program. The next deadline is June 13 for the last funding cycle of FY2014. The deadline for the first funding cycle of FY15 is October 17.  


Contact us today and our municipality expert, Rebecca Motley, will walk you through our services, all of which are completely customizable to your needs. And remember, the first consultation is always free.


Photo credit: Jorge Gobbi

Topics: economic development, humanities, grant notification, grant announcement, brownfields, drug court, grant opportunity, municipal grant

Economic Development Grant Opportunities

Posted by Michelle Hansen on Wed, Sep 11, 2013 @ 12:09 PM

Almost every government entity, from the U.S. Department of Commerce to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to state government departments, has grant monebuildingy available annually to help fund economic development projects. Millions of dollars are available for both economic development training and projects. Below is a selected list of such opportunities.

Smart Growth Implementation Assistance

In response to the need for technical assistance for economic development, the Environmental Protection Agency created the Smart Growth Implementation Assistance Program in 2005. This is an annual program open to state, local, regional, and tribal governments as well as to non-profit organizations that have partnered with a government entity. Typically, 3-5 communities are selected for this program each year and receive direct technical assistance from a team of national experts in one of two areas: policy analysis (e.g., reviewing state and local codes, school siting guidelines, transportation policies, etc.) or public participatory processes (e.g., visioning, design workshops, alternative analysis, build-out analysis, etc.). For example, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) received assistance in 2008 to help develop a scorecard that would evaluate the transportation options available to urban, suburban, and rural residents. It is anticipated that Requests for Letters of Interest will be issued in January 2014.

Rural Cooperative Development Grants (RCDG)

This is a competitive grant program through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that aids to improve the economic condition of rural areas by providing assistance in the startup, expansion, or operational improvement of rural cooperatives and other business entities. Grants are awarded competitively on an annual basis to Rural Cooperative Development Centers, who in turn provide technical assistance to individuals and entities. Applicants can include non-profit organizations or institutions of higher education. This program does require a 25 percent match of the total project cost. The maximum grant amount is $200,000, and in Fiscal Year 2013 there was were $6.5 million in program funding. The anticipated deadline for next year is July 2014.

Community Development Block Grant Program

Every year each state administers Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) to local governments to aid in the development of viable communities by providing decent housing, a suitable living environment, and expanding economic development opportunities primarily for low to moderate-income individuals. HUD distributes funds to each state based on a statutory formula that takes into account population, poverty, incidence of overcrowded housing, and age of housing. Each state develops its own funding priorities and criteria for funding, while also choosing which local governments receive funding. However, local governments must ensure at least 70 percent of its CDBG grant funds are used for activities that benefit low and moderate-income persons. Communities may use CDBG funds for a variety of activities including, but not limited to, acquisition of property, planning activities, public activities, and demolition.

Community Development Assistance Program (CDAP)

In our home state of Illinois, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity administers this federally-funded grant program. It provides grants of up to $750,000 to local governments that can then be loaned to businesses locating or expanding in the community.  Funds may be used for machinery and equipment, working capital, building construction, and renovation.  Grants may also be available for improvements to public infrastructure in direct support of a business that would create and/or retain jobs in the community.  Units of local government in communities with population under 50,000 people are eligible to apply. Many other states offer similar programs to assist local businesses in expansion projects.

Business Development Public Infrastructure Program (BDPIP)

The State of Illinois also offers the Business Development Public Infrastructure Program (BDPIP) to local governments for improvements on public infrastructure on behalf of businesses undertaking a major expansion or relocation project. This project must result in substantial private investment and creation or retention of jobs in the state. The grant amount is based on the amount of investment as well as the job creation or retention involved. For this program, at least one private sector job must be created or retained for every $10,000 awarded by the department. Typically, the department will limit its assistance to $500,000 or less. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis, with grants available on a very limited basis. Again, other states may have similar programs to assist in infrastructure projects for business expansion.


Our team of experts, including Municipality Specialist Rebecca Motley, can help walk you through every step of your grant journey. Please contact us, visit our municipality page, or see our complete list of services to see how we can help you find your funding needs.


Photo Credit: Clearly Ambiguous


Topics: community development, economic development, government grant, federal grant, grant opportunity, state grant

Municipal Economic and Community Development Grants

Posted by Michelle Hansen on Wed, Apr 10, 2013 @ 09:04 AM

In our previous blog, "Municipal Water and Wastewater Grants," we outlined several grants available to municipalities that will aid in water and wastewater grants and tradevelopmentining.  In this blog, we detail several grants available to those municipalities hoping to improve economic and community development. These grants fund everything from community facilities to planning efforts to bus programs. There are many more of these types of grants available so let us help you find the optimal ones for your needs. Contact us for your free initial consultation.

Investments for Public Works and Economic Development Facilities

The U.S. Department of Commerce administers this grant program, which aims to support the construction or rehabilitation of integral public infrastructure and facilities. Projects covered under this agenda include business parks, industrial access roads, brownfield redevelopment, telecommunications, and broadband infrastructure improvements, as well as many others. Projects awarded grants must be necessary for business creation, retention, or expansion.

Economic Development_Support for Planning Organizations

Those municipalities aiming to create an economic development plan can look into this grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce. This program provides assistance to eligible recipients to create a regional economic development plans. These plans should identify and leverage the unique asset of each region, including those that help create and retain higher-skill and higher-wage jobs. These grants applications are accepted on a rolling basis and awards are announced throughout the year.

Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program Planning Grant

There is an estimated $45 million available for this grant program in fiscal year 2013. Municipalities eligible for these grants must be developing programs that integrate housing, land use, economic and workforce development, transportation, and infrastructure investments. This grant program puts an emphasis on partnerships, including non-traditional partnerships such as arts and culture, public education, or food systems.

FY 2013 Economic Development Assistance Programs

Both rural and urban towns can apply for this grant program from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA). This program supports the implementation of regional economic development strategies designed to create jobs, leverage private capital, encourage economic development, and strengthen America’s ability to compete in the global marketplace. There are two deadlines remaining for this program: June 13, 2013 for funding cycle four of fiscal year 2013, and September 13, 2013 for funding cycle one of fiscal year 2014.

Bus and Bus Facilities Grants

Local governments who operate a bus transportation system can receive assistance for their programs through the Bus and Bus Facilities Grants through the U.S. Department of Transportation. Eligible expenses covered under this program include the purchase of new buses, bus maintenance, mobile radio units, park-and-ride stations, shop and garage equipment, passenger shelters, and more.

Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)

There are several different headings under this U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development grant program. The CDBG Entitlement Community Grant allows larger cities to apply for funding to create affordable housing and opportunities to expand economic opportunities, particularly for low to moderate income individuals. The Small Cities CDBG Program, administered by individual states, assists local governments to carry out community development programs. Each state develops funding priorities annually. Also, different states have different mechanisms for distributing HUD funds, so procedures and deadlines vary from state to state. Through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, HUD awards grants to communities hardest hit by foreclosures and delinquencies to purchase, renovate, or redevelop homes and stabilize neighborhoods.

Contact information to determine deadlines are on each grant’s website listing.

We want to help you in your pursuit of grants. See a complete list of all of our services and determine how best we can help you meet your goals.

Photo Credit: Moving Mountains Trust

Topics: community development, community development grant, economic development, grant announcement, bus facilities grants, municipal grant, municipality grant, bus grants