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Downtown Rochester Start-Up Event Grants Available for COVID-19 Appropriate Efforts

Release Date: March 24, 2021

Media Contact: Katie Adelman
Rochester Downtown Alliance
Direct: 507-216-9886



Downtown Rochester Start-Up Event Grants Available for COVID-19 Appropriate Efforts

ROCHESTER, Minn.—Up to $3,000 per grant award is available for new, pandemic-appropriate events, activities, or program in downtown Rochester.

The Rochester Downtown Alliance is accepting applications for the Start-Up Event Grant. Applicants may apply for funds to host new events, or passive programs like public art, in downtown Rochester.

“This year, we expect event planning to still be challenging in the ever-changing context of COVID-19. In this grant cycle, we wanted to remove as many barriers as possible for event planners and maximize the chances of bringing new ideas and energy to downtown,” said Holly Masek, RDA executive director.

The 2021 cycle of RDA’s Start-Up Event Grant will utilize the following changes:

  • Applicants can now propose an event, activity, or program, including public art or other more “passive” attractions that allow for easier physical distancing.
  • The proposed event/activity/program must be COVID-19 appropriate and comply with all state and federal guidelines.
  • A Q&A with experienced downtown event planners will be hosted virtually so first-time applicants can receive advice early in the application process.
  • To bring more energy to downtown on weekends, activities occurring on Saturdays and Sundays will be given priority.
  • The RDA has removed the matching funds requirement of previous years, as fundraising may be more challenging coming out of the pandemic.
  • Twenty percent of the funding is reserved for events that engage underrepresented communities in Rochester, or that are planned by minority-led/owned enterprises.
  • Individual awards are up to $3,000, with $11,000 total in grant funds available.

For any proposed event, program, or activity, it must take place within the 44-block special service district in downtown Rochester to be eligible for funding.

Start-Up Event Grant applications are due April 9, 2021 and are available here.

More information about the Start-Up Event Grant can be found online at

About the Rochester Downtown Alliance
The Rochester Downtown Alliance is a nonprofit corporation comprised of a broad range of people representing property owners, business leaders, the city and others with a direct stake in enhanced business and economic development conditions in the downtown district. We work together to build a vibrant downtown community. We believe a strong core positively impacts the greater city of Rochester. Through a series of special events, activities, and initiatives, we create energy, excitement, and a unique character to Downtown Rochester, Minnesota.