Venture Portland Awards $49,000 to Support Spring and Summer Activities in Business Districts

With warm and sunny weather right around the corner, Portland’s neighborhood business districts are currently gearing up to host a variety of activities to welcome visitors and showcase their unique local businesses. That is why Venture Portland recently awarded $49,000 to fund eleven Spring/Summer grant projects in business districts across the City. These funds will help launch new summer events, beautify public spaces, create public art, and retain critical staff who support local businesses.

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. “One of the most rewarding things we do at Venture Portland is our service as Co-chairs of the Business District Grants Program,” said Bridgid Blackburn, co-owner of Cargo, and Matt Trenkle, owner of The Celery. “We know firsthand how meaningful this program is to Portland’s small businesses, and how uplifting the projects are for Portland’s diverse business districts. Never has the grant funding and Venture Portland’s resources been more needed than now, as the City emerges from the pandemic. We are grateful to be able to be a part of the City’s awakening this spring and summer!” 

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.

“We can’t thank Prosper Portland enough for providing funds for us to distribute to our grant award winners. We don’t make these decisions lightly, which leads me to extend my gratitude to our volunteer Grants Committee on their commitment and support,” said Executive Director, Joy Church. “I am excited to see these newly-funded projects take shape in the form of summer events, business district murals, and marketing campaigns showcasing the Shop Local philosophy.”

“Amazing work by the Venture Portland team for continuing the Business District Grant Program,” said Mayor Ted Wheeler. “Portland has always proudly been a small business city. Our strong local economy is the driving force behind our city’s character and community. These funds will assist and support Portland business owners in recovery so they can continue to stay open and share their passion and dedication with the rest of us. Thank you, Venture Portland.”

To further support neighborhood businesses, Venture Portland hosts monthly webinars for small business owners on topics such as Event Planning, Leadership, Sustainability, 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:

  • Beaumont Business Association – Website Reboot
  • Central Eastside Industrial Council – Visitor Map
  • Foster Area Business Association – Summer Market Series
  • Gateway Area Business Association – Great Days in Gateway Event Series
  • Historic Mississippi Ave Business Association – Enhanced District Lighting
  • Lents Grown Business Association – Sign Caps
  • Lloyd Community Association – Staffing
  • Midway Business Association – District Mural
  • Montavilla East Tabor Business Association – Staffing
  • Multnomah Village Business Association – District Beautification
  • Old Town Community Association – ‘Shop Local’ Billboards