Venture Portland Invests $31,700 in Neighborhood Business Districts During the Critical Holiday Season

This week Venture Portland awarded $31,700 to fund 10 Fall/Winter Grant Projects in Portland’s neighborhood business districts city wide. Projects range from retail-focused holiday events to dynamic district websites and visitor-friendly maps – all with direct ties to the local economy. These grants will leverage an additional $77,760 in private business district investment – a 2.5-to-1 match.

“When you shop at a local small business instead of a big online retailer, you are investing in your community,” said Commissioner Nick Fish, City Council liaison to Venture Portland. “Portland is a small business town, and there’s no better way to show the holiday spirit than by supporting neighborhood small businesses.”

In addition to bi-annual Benchmark and Catalytic grants, this highly competitive round included a Destination Investment grant made possible with a partnership with Travel Portland. In support of Portland’s recently released Tourism Master Plan, Destination Investment grants provide strategic financial support for significant physical improvements in business districts that enhance the customer/visitor experience, reinforce a district’s identity and promote the district as a destination. “Portland’s neighborhoods are a key aspect of what attracts visitors to our city because each one offers a place to truly explore like a local,” said Michelle Comer, senior destination manager-equity and community affairs. “Travel Portland is excited to continue our partnership with Venture Portland in support of projects that highlight the unique characteristics each Portland neighborhood and its local businesses have to offer visitors to our city.”

“Venture Portland’s grants stimulate neighborhood economic development in real time,” said Matthew Mičetić, Venture Portland’s President and Owner of Red Castle Games in Foster Area Business District. “This round of grants will help make districts a wonderful place to visit during the holiday season and all year long.” Venture Portland’s Grants Committee, comprised of Venture Portland Board members and community stakeholders, evaluated the grant submissions to determine business district grant funding.

Many of the Fall/Winter grant projects focus on the exceedingly important holiday retail period, a time to ‘Localize the Season’ and support neighborhood businesses. Shopping locally also spreads holiday cheer – for every $100 spent at a local business, 70% stays in Portland’s local economy. A complete list of grant funded activities is below.

Benchmark Grant Awards

  • Central Eastside – District Photography*
  • Division/Clinton – ‘Bright Lights, Warm Hearts’ Shop Local Promotion (November 30-December 31)
  • Gateway – ‘Gateway Winter Festival’ Multi-Cultural Celebration (December 7)
  • Midway – District Map*
  • NE Broadway – District Map*
  • Pearl District – Website Enhancements*
  • St. Johns – District Map*
  • Williams District – Website Enhancements*

Destination Investment Grant Award

  • Old Town – Festival Street Improvements*

Catalytic Grant Award

  • Montavilla – District Staffing Kickstarter

*Funded in partnership with Travel Portland

In FY 18-19 Venture Portland awarded $117,168 to fund 29 projects in 20 business districts, leveraging an additional $401,149 in private investment, a 3.5-to-1 match. Since 1995 Venture Portland has granted more than $1.6 million to fund 587 business district projects, leveraging more than $5.3 million in additional private investment in districts city wide.