Venture Portland Invests $63,668 in Neighborhood Business Districts During the Critical Holiday Season

This week Venture Portland awarded $63,668 to fund 13 Fall/Winter Grant Projects in Portland’s neighborhood business districts city wide. Projects range from retail-focused holiday events to dynamic district websites and placemaking banners – all with direct ties to the local economy. These grants will leverage an additional $101,803 in private business district investment – a more than 1.5-to-1 match.

“Our neighborhood small businesses are the backbone of Portland’s economy,” said Commissioner Fish, City Council liaison to Venture Portland. “There is no better time than during the Holiday season to support our small business community by shopping local.”

In addition to bi-annual Benchmark and Catalytic grants, this highly competitive round included a brand new Destination Investment funding stream created in partnership with Travel Portland. In support of Portland’s recently released Tourism Master Plan, Destination Investment funds 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. “The Tourism Master Plan identifies Portland’s neighborhood business districts as a critical tourism asset,” said Tamara Kennedy-Hill, Travel Portland’s Vice President of Diversity and Community Relations. “Travel Portland is excited to partner with Venture Portland to fund projects that help articulate the unique sense of place and character of these districts.”

“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. “The new Destination Investment grants are a great addition that 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, $68 returns to the local economy. A complete list of grant funded activities is below.


Benchmark Grant Awards

  • 82nd Avenue – Enhanced Website*
  • Foster Area – Enhanced Website
  • Gateway – Enhanced Website
  • Kenton – Shop Local Promotion (November 23-January 7)
  • Lloyd – District Map*
  • NE Broadway – Health and Wellness Event (May 2019)
  • Pearl District – Business Awards Luncheon (November 7)
  • St. Johns – District Banners*

NEW Destination Investment Grant Awards

  • Central Eastside Industrial – District Banners*
  • Hawthorne Blvd – District Banners*
  • Montavilla – District Banners*
  • Williams District – District Banners*
  • Woodstock – Pocket Parks*

*Funded in partnership with Travel Portland

In FY 17-18 Venture Portland awarded $99,467 to fund 39 projects in 20 business districts, leveraging an additional $257,508 in private investment, a 2.5-to-1 match. Since 1995 Venture Portland has granted more than $1.5 million to fund 571 business district projects, leveraging more than $5 million in additional private investment in districts city wide.