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Grants to California Nonprofits to Help Small Businesses and Promote Tourism and Economic Development in Eligible Locations

Economic Development Funding Programs


GrantWatch ID#

Funding Source
City of San Diego
Economic Development Division
Array ( )

Geographic Focus
USA: California: San Diego

Important Dates
Deadline: 04/06/23 5:00 PM Save

Grant Description
Grants of $15,000, grants of $40,000, and grants of $60,000 to California nonprofit organizations to help small businesses and to promote tourism and economic development in eligible locations. Applicants must attend a mandatory workshop prior to applying. Funding is for organizations to attract, expand, retain, or launch local businesses. Funds are intended to benefit San Diego businesses, with the goal of promoting the city and enhancing tourism.

The Economic Development Funding Program covers economic development, tourism and small business support. This grant program allocates Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) revenue to promote San Diego as a business and tourism destination; and utilizes the Small Business Enhancement Program (SBEP) to support small business efforts Citywide and in Microdistricts. 

Goals of funding:

  • Goal A: Create, retain and/or expand small businesses with a neighborhood-based focus, excluding Business Improvement Districts (This Goal aligns with SBEP Microdistricts program)
  • Goal B: Create, retain and/or expand nonbase-sector small businesses by offering a  program to small businesses Citywide, not focusing on specific commercial neighborhoods with BIDs or Microdistricts (This Goal aligns with SBEP Citywide program)
  • Goal C: Promote the City of San Diego as a visitor destination, enhancing the Tourism base sector.
  • Goal D: Enhance San Diego's economic standing and reputation as a center for innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology development for base-sector businesses (Manufacturing and Innovation, International Trade and Logistics, or Defense).


Additional Eligibility Criteria
Your Organization is eligible to apply by submitting an RFP response if:
- California corporation*: Your Organization is incorporated within the United States and is registered with the California Secretary of State; and
- Nonprofit status*: Your Organization holds tax-exempt nonprofit status under Sections 501(c)(3), 501(c)(6), or 115 of the Internal Revenue Code and can also demonstrate its tax-exempt status under the State of California Revenue and Taxation Code; and
* Please note that incorporated nonprofit status is not required for Microdistrict Organizations to apply for in-kind services under Goal A
- History of operations: Your Organization had any kind of contract with or received funding from the City in the past five years and has a three-year history of operating with its own independent governing board and
- Service area: Your Organization’s Program/Project will take place within the limits of the county of San Diego and funds will be used to only benefit City of San Diego businesses; and
- Mission alignment: Your project aligns with the purpose of TOT or SBEP funding in providing a program, services or benefits to City of San Diego businesses to fulfill a Goal and Objective/Outcome as described in Part 1 above.

Your Organization is not eligible for Economic Development Funding if any of the following apply:
- Fiscal sponsors: Fiscal sponsors cannot apply on behalf of a Program/Project producer.
- General operating support: Your Organization is seeking funding for general operating support.
- Regranting: Your Organization’s primary purpose is grantmaking.
- Special event: Your Organization is seeking funding for a festival or event that is typically funded through the City of San Diego’s Commission for Arts and Culture.
- Multiple applications: Your Organization has applied or will apply for FY2024 funds through another TOT category as defined in Council Policy 100-03. **
** Please note that Organizations that also apply for and are awarded funding from another City of San Diego source, such as Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) or Tourism Marketing District (TMD) funding through the San Diego Tourism Marketing District Corp., may have any recommended funding amount developed under this RFP process reduced or eliminated. A variety of factors, including overall availability of funds, will be considered when evaluating any potential modification of recommended amounts.

For a list of ineligible expenses:

Pre-Proposal Conference
RFP Workshops for potential applicants:
Attendance is mandatory to one (1) of the two (2) sessions below. A representative of the organization must attend.
- March 14, 2023 from 10:00-11:30 a.m: RFP Workshop for potential applicants via Zoom.
- March 29, 2023, from 1:30-3:00 p.m: RFP Workshop for potential applicants via Zoom (Link to workshop to be posted 24 hours in advance).

Pre-Application Information
Key Dates:
- March 6, 2023: Application guidelines published.
- March 14, 2023: RFP Workshop for potential applicants via Zoom.
- March 28, 2023: RFP Addenda published, if necessary.
- March 29, 2023: RFP Workshop for potential applicants via Zoom.
- April 3, 2023 at 5:00 p.m.: Cutoff for questions on the Economic Development Funding Programs RFP Application.
- April 6, 2023 at 5:00 p.m.: Seamless docs RFP Application deadline.
- April 2023: Staff vetting of applications to identify missing documents, ineligible activities, and whether any applications are disqualified due to non-compliance with the application guidelines. Funding recommendations will be made after review and scoring proposals.
- May 3 – May 18, 2023: City Council Budget Review Committee hearings. Tentative award amounts have historically been available in late May to begin pre-agreement budget/scope and required documentation discussions with each application.
- June 2023: Final award amounts will be confirmed by City by the end of June.
- July 1, 2023: Performance period begins July 1. Formal, signed agreements need to be in place with each organization prior to requesting reimbursements. This process is anticipated to take 2-3 months, from July to September, depending on the receipt of agreement materials.
*All dates are subject to change

The Economic Development Funding online RFP application available through SeamlessDocs must be completed in one session. It is highly recommended that you follow the steps below, including preparing a Sample RFP Application and attachments in advance. Please plan ahead: whoever completes and submits this form must be authorized to electronically sign and to create a legally binding RFP submission between the applying Organization and the City of San Diego.

Each Organization awarded funding will only be paid on a reimbursement basis and only once an agreement is fully executed and the purchase order issued. Expenses must be incurred by the Organization during the FY2024 agreement period (July 1, 2023 through June 30, 2024) before the City will reimburse. Organizations may not submit a request for reimbursement for the entire grant amount at any one time.

Estimated Size of Grant
The minimum and maximum amounts of funding that can be requested by funding source are as follows:
- TOT – Economic Development: $20,000 to $60,000
- SBEP - Citywide: $10,000 to $40,000
- SBEP - Microdistricts: $3,000 to $15,000

Term of Contract
The funding, if approved, will apply to proposed Program/Project budgets for FY2024, which is from July 1, 2023 through June 30, 2024.

Contact Information
Apply online:

For questions:
Call: 619-236–6700

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