Start-Up Grant

The Start-Up Grant application window for 2019 events is now closed. Grant decisions will be communicated no later than January 2, 2019.

The Rochester Downtown Alliance (RDA) annually looks for new partners to help continue making Downtown Rochester a vibrant place. The Start-Up Grant is designed to help first–time events come to fruition, while additionally bringing excitement to Downtown and enriching the community of Rochester and its residents.  If you are organizing a first-time event consider applying for the Start-up Grant.

Start-Up Grant funds range up to $3,000. Eligible events must be new, first-time events that take place within Downtown Rochester. Click HERE for Start-Up Grant guidelines.

Contact Karli McElroy, RDA Program Manager or 507-216-9883

2018 Start-Up Grant Funded Events

1st Annual Rochester Math Festival
When: Wednesday, March 14, 2018
Time: 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Where: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Rochester - Mayo Clinic Area
Cost: FREE 

Organized by the Rochester Math Club, Math Fest will take place on National Pi Day and feature a keynote speech by 3-time TED talk speaker and world-famous mathematician, Dr. Arthur Benjamin, a math competition, and a variety of math-related family-friendly activities. Admission is free and open to the public.

Paint Off
When: Saturday, May 12, 2018
Times: 5:00 pm – 10:30 pm
Where: Gallery 24
Cost: FREE

Paint Off, coordinated by Gallery 24 President and local artist Cassandra Buck is an art competition which will showcase 6 artists painting a given theme under pressure of limited time and a live audience. Prizes will be awarded to winning artists by a panel of judges. Additionally, attendees will be encouraged to participate in a public art project outside Gallery 24. Admission is free and open to the public.

When: Tuesday, May 15, 2018
Times: 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Where: Rochester Civic Theatre
Cost: FREE, pre-registration is encouraged

US TOO is an event devoted to the issue of sexual misconduct, assault, and the voices of people who have experienced it. Topics will be expressed through visual art, videography, spoken word, storytelling, and music. US TOO is organized by Regina Mustafa of Community Interfaith Dialogue on Islam, Dawn Sanborn, and Pam Whitfield. Organizers say the goal of this event is to promote healing, question assumptions, combat victim shaming, and further discussion between communities in our region. This will be a free event, but pre-registration is encouraged.

Drums, Please!
When: Monday, August 20, 2018
Times: 4:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Where: Peace Plaza
Cost: FREE

Drums, Please!, organized by the Greater​ ​Rochester​ ​and​ ​Olmsted​ ​County​ ​Arts​ ​Response​ ​Team (G.R.O.C.A.R.T.) helps end summer on the Peace Plaza with experience that goes beyond the traditional after-work event. Drums, Please! will feature local high​ ​school​ ​drumlines, ​a​ ​community​ ​picnic, an​ “angry​ ​hour”, and ​summertime​ ​games. Admission is free and open to the public.

New to Event Planning?

Click HERE to access our First-Time Event Planning Guide for a how-to on:

  • Engaging Sponsors
  • Marketing
  • City of Rochester Permitting
  • Volunteers

Past Start-Up Grant Funded Event Photos


311 Broadway Ave South, Suite A2
Rochester, MN 55904



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