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Start-Up Event Grant

The 2023 grant application is now closed. Click here for a list of 2023 recipients.

The Rochester Downtown Alliance (RDA) has closed the application period for the Start-Up Event Grant's 2023 cycle. Applicants could receive up to $3,000 in funds to host new events, activities or programs planned to encourage community engagement throughout downtown.

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is Start-Up Event Grant funding?

Up to $3,000 per event is possible for new events, activities or programs planned to encourage community engagement throughout downtown.

If awarded, organizers must submit pre-event documentation including a final budget with revenue (including in-kind) and expenses and a marketing plan that includes all planned paid and organic tactics and how Downtown Rochester MN's brand will be used.

Who can apply?

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

When do funded efforts need to take place?

The grant-funded event, activity, or program must take place between February 4, 2023, and December 31, 2023.

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 of the SSD.

Grant requirements

Location: Events may be inside or outside and must take place in the downtown special service district (SSD). Click here to view a map of the SSD.

The following SSD locations will be given priority additional priority:

  • Alleyways
  • Existing downtown retail spaces
  • Riverfront paths and public spaces, specifically The Deck on 4th and Zumbro
  • Vacant lots or underutilized open spaces
  • Prominent intersections
  • Peace Plaza, for which Destination Medical Center has allocated an additional $10,000 to be divided among events, activities, or programs taking place there

Weekend priority: RDA is especially interested in drawing audiences downtown for events, activities, or programs that take place on the weekends. Saturdays and Sundays will be given priority.

Timeline: The grant-funded event, activity, or program must take place between February 4, 2023, and December 31, 2023.

Pre-event documentation: If awarded, organizers must submit the following no less than 30 days before the event: 

  • A final budget with revenue (including in-kind) and expenses. 

  • A marketing plan that includes all planned paid and organic tactics and how Downtown Rochester MN's brand will be used.

Post-event documentation: 

  • Any remaining receipts and invoices relating to RDA’s funding for the event, activity, or program.

  • Final budget.

  • Summary of event attendance and other key metrics.

  • Photographs.

  • A completed W9.

  • Completed event recap form.

Marketing requirements

  • All marketing must be reviewed and approved by the RDA at least 60 days prior to your event. An additional $500 is available to use toward design of promotional materials by an approved downtown graphic designer. Guidelines are as follows:
    • The Downtown Rochester logo must be incorporated in any print or digital promotions. Downtown Rochester logos amend usage guidelines are available here. For questions, please contact Elia Banuelos, RDA marketing and design project manager, at ebanuelos@downtownrochester.com.
    • Websites, social media, or blogs must have a link directly to the DowntownRochesterMN.com 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

Funds may not be used for:

  • Food or beverage
  • Alcohol
  • Permanent (depreciable) assets (tools, laptops, cameras, etc.)
  • Salaries for staff
  • Political or religious events, activities, or programs
Timelines
  • November 14, 2022: Applications open
  • November 21, 2022: 1 p.m. Zoom Organizer Planning Q&A
    • Applicants can send questions ahead of time, and we'll send a recording in case applicants cannot attend.
  • November 30, 2022: 6 p.m. Grant application workshop in person
  • December 5, 2022: Application close
  • December 5-12, 2022: Applications reviewed for completeness including requirements
  • December 19, 2022: RDA staff will contact applicants who will participate in the Pitch Night
  • December 28, 2022: In person Pitch Night workshop
  • January 11, 2023: Pitch Night at Cafe Steam in One Discovery Square
To apply

Applications for the 2023 grant cycle are closed as of 12 a.m. December 6, 2022.

Each submitted request will be initially reviewed by RDA staff for completeness. Grants that meet requirements will be sent to the review committee. Those applications that meet all the grant requirements will be asked to participate in a Pitch Night January 11, 2023.

Applications will be evaluated based on:

  • Mission alignment: How does your request align with the RDA mission statement, which is, “To create, enhance, and promote a downtown experience that is welcoming, fun, and livable.”
  • Location: Does the event, activity, or program take place within the designated downtown SSD?
  • Weekend priority: Downtown Rochester, MN is particularly interested in activating downtown on weekends, and priority will be given to events, activities, or programs that occur on Saturdays and Sundays.
  • Uniqueness of event, activity, or program: Does the program introduce new ideas, perspectives and promote acceptance to Rochester?

2023 Values focus:

  • Community engagement: Involve a range of cultures, ages, and backgrounds.
  • Introduce new ideas and perspectives that encourage curiosity/interest in Rochester and add value to the downtown experience?
  • Engagement of underrepresented communities: Does this event, activity, or program engage minority or underrepresented groups with downtown?
  • Demonstrated experience: Does the applicant have demonstrated ability to organize and execute this event, activity, or program?
    • First-time organizers can strengthen their application by attending RDA's optional Organizer Planning Q&A session (virtual session 1 p.m. November 21, 2022 or in person at 6 p.m. November 30, 2022).

Questions?

Contact the Rochester Downtown Alliance
info@downtownrochestermn.com or 507-216-9882


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