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As part of the Washington County Tourism Promotion Agency’s (WCTPA) mission to provide economic development by attracting business and leisure travelers, a portion of the county’s hotel room tax is directed to support area tourism assets through the WCTPA Grant Program.  The purpose of this grant program is to increase visitation and enhance the tourism experience within Washington County.  Grants will be awarded based on merit, with a strong emphasis on the project’s ability to generate overnight stays, as determined by the WCTPA Grant Review Committee and administered through the WCTPA.
1. Grants will be considered for any eligible tourism-related entity located within Washington County that submits the accompanying application for funds to promote tourism.  For-profit entities may apply for grant funding for targeted marketing programs which promote a specific event or unique activity.  For-profit requests for general marketing support are beyond the scope of this grant and do not qualify. Non-profit entities may apply for grant funding for capital projects and/or marketing programs as defined and outlined below:
a. Capital Projects must enhance the visitor’s experience by developing new or improving existing Washington County tourist attractions or amenities.  A variety of eligible tourism-related projects include restoration or acquisition of historic or cultural exhibits, on-site signage, and physical development or improvement of a tourism facility.  The applicant must own or have a long-term lease/easement for the property.
b. Marketing Programs must primarily target non-Washington County residents.  A variety of eligible tourism-related programs include development of printed promotional material, image marketing, website development/enhancement, tourism awareness programs, and specialized advertising.  The Tourism Grant Program will not fund advertisements in local publications, signage or related materials in which the majority are distributed or targeted within Washington County nor within media for which the WCTPA may incorporate similar promotion.
2. Grants will be awarded based upon a fully illustrated campaign according to the following criteria: potential to attract overnight stays; ability to attract visitors from outside Washington County; ability to generate cross-spending; ability to attract return visits; and previous success where applicable (i.e. attendance figures, public acknowledgement). Consideration will be given to start-up organizations or inaugural events which demonstrate a well-developed plan of action.  A Grant Budget and copy of quotes/bids for all project activities are required.
3. Grants will not be awarded for staff costs, resale items, routine maintenance, standard operational or travel expenses.
4. For-profit entities are required to provide a 50 percent match from other funding sources which must be applied specifically toward the intention of the project for which grant funding is being requested; non-profit entities are required to provide a 25 percent match from other funding sources and/or in-kind support which must be applied specifically toward the intention of the project for which grant funding is being requested.  Volunteer work for non-profit entities is valued at $10/hour and must be documented, including names, dates, duties, and hours of service.
5. Grants for this cycle must be appropriately spent in total no later than April 30, 2025.  Extensions may be considered if notified in writing by March 1, 2025.  Successful applicants will be required to sign a “Grant Agreement” developed by the WCTPA to receive grant funds.
6. Grant recipients may incur eligible expenses immediately after grant notification.  Expenses cannot be incurred before notification date.  Grant awards will require proof of payment or copy of invoice if needed in advance prior to the release of funds.
7. Each grant cycle is based upon available funding and at the discretion of the WCTPA.  Applicants should not assume that they will be awarded a grant on any regular basis, during any given time frame, nor should a tourism grant be considered a permanent budget line item.
8. Grants for capital projects and marketing programs may be awarded concurrently, but recipients of a prior grant will not be eligible to receive successive grant funding within the same category unless the respective Close-Out Report is submitted and accepted by the time of review of this application cycle.
9. If a member of the WCTPA Grant Review Committee serves on the Board of the applicant, or is affiliated in another manner, it is mandatory that said member remove him or herself from the review and/or decision-making process of that specific application.
10. The WCTPA Grant Review Committee will review all grant applications and announce the awards by April 30, 2024.
1. Applications must be received by the WCTPA no later than 3:00 p.m. on March 21, 2024.  Applicants are responsible for verification that on-time submission was made with the WCTPA.  Any application received after the deadline will be disqualified.
2. Applicants must use only this application and required documents for submission.  Please use additional space and provide attachments whenever necessary.  Additional information may, however, be requested.
3. Questions may be directed to Dana Bucci at 724.225.3010 or dana@washcochamber.com.

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