Venture Portland’s Spring/Summer 2020 grant applications are now available!

Venture Portland’s Spring/Summer 2020 grant applications are now available!

This round will be highly competitive. Successful applicants take advantage of Grants Office Hours including Final Draft Review (see dates below). Venture Portland staff are here to help you succeed! Don’t wait until the last minute – book an appointment to call or stop by, or simply email us a draft and we’ll call you with feedback.

Destination Investment Grants: Destination Investment Grants, distributed once a year, provide strategic financial support for significant physical improvements in business districts that enhance the customer/visitor experience, reinforce the district’s identity and promote the district as a destination. Districts can apply for one-time-only funding in each of six key Categories of medium-scale, publicly accessible physical improvements. Once a Destination Investment project has been completed, business districts are eligible to apply for a project in a different Destination Investment Category. Applicants may apply for $5,000-$10,000* for a project that fits into one of the six Destination Investment Categories.

Economic Development Grants: For the second year, Economic Development grants are now being offered in the Spring/Summer grant cycle. These grants help business districts strengthen the economic competitiveness of their community by meaningfully addressing neighborhood economic development. Eligible projects must show quantifiable results of economic development during the grant cycle (jobs/businesses created or retained, neighborhood business revenue growth, etc.). This cycle member business districts may apply for $5,000-$10,000*.

Benchmark Grants: Benchmark grants, distributed twice a year, help business districts meet key milestones to build strong, vibrant and financially stable business district associations. Eligible projects must show quantifiable progress towards benchmark achievement and business district self-sustainability. Benchmark Definitions are available to help you prioritize and plan projects. This cycle project funding is a maximum of $3,000 but districts may apply for up to three Benchmark Achievement grant bonuses worth up to $1,250 to increase their total Benchmark grant request up to a maximum of $4,250*.

Catalytic Grant: District Staffing Kickstarter: Ongoing professional staff is the single most catalytic way for districts to improve programming and increase membership, business benefits and revenue. To help Venture Portland achieve its strategic goal of all districts having at least 10 weekly hours of staffing by 2020, Venture Portland is offering Catalytic grant funds to invest in first-time, ongoing, professional staff, or permanently increase the hours of a current staffer working less than 10 hours per week. Applicants may apply for up to $2,000* for seed funding to invest in first-time, professional staff working a minimum of 10 hours per week or increasing the hours of a current staffer working less than 10 hours per week.

Catalytic Grant: Corporate Infrastructure Improvement: Volunteer-run organizations depend on stability to maintain programming and remain legal and sustainable. Venture Portland is offering Catalytic grant funds to help districts implement corporate infrastructure improvements that protect board members and ensure that districts meet the requirements of state and federal governments. Applicants may apply* for up to $1,000* to update and/or implement any of the following critical infrastructure improvements: Articles of Incorporation, bylaws, policies, non-profit status and investing in initial insurance. Grant funds can be used to pay for non-profit consulting, filing fees, legal counsel, initial insurance and other approved expenses related to district infrastructure improvement.

Again, we strongly encourage you to take advantage of Grants Office Hours, especially Final Draft Review so that we may be able to identify any issues in enough time to address them. Grants Office hours and Final Draft Review take place at Venture Portland’s office (1125 SE Madison St, Suite 112). This free technical assistance helps your business district and improves your chances of getting funded. Email to reserve a slot.

Spring/Summer 2020 Grants Important Dates

  • 1/31/20 – Application Released/Info Session (9:30am-5pm)
  • 2/6 – Grants Office Hours (9:30am-5pm)
  • 2/12 – Grants Office Hours (9:30am-5pm)
  • 2/20 – Grants Office Hours (9:30am-5pm)
  • 2/25-2/27 – Grants Office Hours: Final Draft Review (9:30am-5pm)
  • 2/28 – Grant Applications Due at Noon (12pm)
  • 4/1 – Grant Awards Announced
  • 4/1-9/15 – Spring/Summer Benchmark Grant Activities
  • 4/1-2/15/21 – Destination Investment, Economic Development and Catalytic Grant Activities

Please note the following:

  • Grant Office Hours and in-person application submission occur at Venture Portland’s office – 1125 SE Madison St, Suite 112
  • We highly recommend scheduling a phone or in-person appointment for the best service – call or email to book your appointment today
  • Staff are available the week grants are due to review drafts in person or by phone/email to proofread, double check math and provide any late-stage assistance needs – applications not yet in final draft form will not be reviewed after 2/24/20
  • Staff will not offer any assistance beyond accepting complete applications on 2/28/20
  • Incomplete applications will not be not be accepted
  • No application will be accepted after NOON (12pm) on 2/28/20**
  • Venture Portland membership is mandatory to apply. For membership questions and payment, contact Brad at