Start-Up Event Grant

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The Rochester Downtown Alliance (RDA) annually looks for new partners to help continue making downtown Rochester a vibrant place. The Start-Up Event Grant is designed to help new one-time or event series, or existing successful events in need of support. If you are organizing an event downtown or want to move your event downtown, consider applying for the Start-Up Event Grant.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is Start-Up Event Grant Funding?

Up to $3,000 in funding is possible for new one-time events or event series, or existing successful events in need of support.

  • Please note: for existing events, the funding must be used towards a new feature of the event and promotion of that feature.

If awarded, organizers must also secure matching financial or in-kind contributions (see Grant Requirements section below).

Who Can Apply?

Individuals, businesses, community groups, and organizations may apply.

When do Funded Events Need to Take Place?

In the calendar year after you apply for the grant. For example, if you apply at the end of 2019, your event must take place in 2020.

Where Do Events Need to Take Place?

Events may be inside or outside and must take place in the Downtown Special Service District (SSD). Click HERE to view a map or the SSD.

Grant Requirements

To receive funds, organizers must secure matching financial or in-kind contributions.

In-Kind Contributions are donated, reduced-rate goods and services necessary to the event, or goods and services that would have been purchased for the event.

  • Professional services must be donated by an outside provider working in that profession and valued at the provider’s professional rate.
  • All in-kind contributions must be itemized and accompanied by receipts or confirming emails from the provider.
  • An applicant or partner organization may not provide in-kind donations to its own proposed project.
  • Volunteers cannot be calculated as part of in-kind services.

If awarded, organizers must submit the following no less than 60 days before the event:

  • A final budget with revenue (including in-kind) and expenses.
  • A final marketing plan, specifically describing how the RDA’s brand will be incorporated.
  • List of all event sponsors (financial and in-kind).
  • Permitting documents (if the event is being hosted outdoors).

Marketing Requirements

  • The Downtown Rochester logo must be incorporated in any print or digital promotions.
  • Websites, social media, or blogs must have a link directly to the website.
  • Promotions must also state that the event is funded in part by a Start-Up Event Grant from the Rochester Downtown Alliance.

Restriction of Grant Funds

Event grant applications will not be considered if:

  • An applicant or partner organization did not submit the required event recap form, photos, or receipts from a previous Start-Up grant-funded event.
  • An applicant or partner organization did not feature the Downtown Rochester brand in event promotions.

Rochester Downtown Alliance (RDA) Partnership

  • The RDA will not provide event coordination services- applicants are expected to coordinate or hire a coordinator to oversee all aspects of the event.
  • The RDA will not provide onsite event support.
  • The RDA will share up to two (2) social media posts at our discretion on the Downtown Rochester MN Facebook page prior to the event.


Contact Karli McElroy
Senior Director of Placemaking or 507-216-9883

New to Event Planning?

Click HERE to access our First-Time Event Planning Guide to help you plan your next event downtown.

Past Start-Up Grant Funded Event Photos