Venture Portland Awards $30,000 to Support Holiday Lighting and Activities in Business Districts

Portland, OR – Portland is home to 23,000+ neighborhood businesses that provide 300,000+ jobs, the majority of which have been hit hard by the pandemic. In response to the current economic crisis, Venture Portland awarded $30,000 to fund eight Fall/Winter grant projects in Portland’s neighborhood business districts citywide. These funds will help business districts create a merry and bright atmosphere for holiday shoppers with new lighting, decorations, and family-friendly activities.

Venture Portland’s Grants Committee, comprised of neighborhood business owners and representatives from partner organizations RACC and Bricks Need Mortar, evaluated grant submissions to determine business district grant funding. “The small business community in Portland is what really makes this city so special,” said Grants Co-chair, and Co-founder of The Celery, Matt Trenkle. “It is very rewarding to be able to fund some amazing programs and lift up communities all around the city. Projects that energize and unite neighborhoods have the potential to be a huge impact this winter. Being a small business owner in Portland for the past decade has shown me the power of our communities and I am very grateful to be a part of this program to make them even stronger.”

This highly competitive round of grants funds included grant guidelines that were revised to increase equity and support businesses during COVID-19. The application process was simplified and accelerated to help infuse funds into struggling business districts as quickly as possible. The response was overwhelming, and the Grants Committee was forced to get creative to fund as many projects as possible.

“Portland’s small businesses and business districts continue to feel the devastating impacts of COVID-19. Now with the Delta variant very much in play and staffing shortages and supply chain issues, the need to support local is greater than ever,” said Joy Church, Venture Portland’s Executive Director. “Thanks to Prosper Portland, we are thrilled to award Fall Grants to business associations who have a variety of excellent projects planned-including holiday lighting, activations, and promotions.”

To further support neighborhood businesses, Venture Portland hosts monthly webinars for small business owners on topics such as social media, district clean-ups, events, permitting, and more. The organization’s weekly e-newsletters keep Portlanders in the know about the latest happenings in business districts and small business owners’ creative responses to the challenges posed by the pandemic.   

A complete list of grant-funded activities is below:

  • Alberta Main Street – Holiday Events Series
  • Hillsdale Business and Professional Association – Storefront Holiday Lighting
  • Midway Business Association – Marketing Campaigns
  • Multnomah Village Business Association – Winter Street Tree Lighting
  • NW Industrial Business Association – Holiday Food Drive
  • Old Town Community Association – Environmental Design 
  • St. Johns Boosters Business Association – Light Up St. Johns
  • Williams Vancouver Business Association – Warming Up Williams