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Waterloo Hotel-Motel Tax Grants - Capital Grants

Grants to Waterloo, Iowa Organizations for Capital
Projects that Promote the Local Tourist Trade

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Experience Waterloo

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Grants of up to $20,000 to Waterloo, Iowa organizations for capital projects that promote the local tourist industry. Funding is intended to support equipment purchases and capital improvements that have a notable effect on the tourist trade, drawing increased numbers of visitors who remain overnight in the City.

Experience Waterloo offers several streams of grants for events and projects that will have a positive impact on the tourism industry in Waterloo, both in the short and long-term. The grants have been established to reach the following goals:

1. Support capital projects significantly impacting Waterloo visitor’s experience (50%).
2. Support organizations and activities that strengthen the perception of Waterloo (25%).
3. Make impactful events or activities possible with financial support from this process (25%).

The grants are intended to:

- Drive overnight stays in Waterloo
- Support active partners who serve and drive visitors to Waterloo
- Support organizations and activities that have a positive impact on Waterloo
- Provide seed money for new or innovative ideas/projects
- Provide assistance in marketing outside of Black Hawk County

Specifically, the FY 2020 Waterloo Hotel-Motel Tax Capital Grant Application supports capital improvement-related projects that will have a positive impact on the tourism industry in Waterloo during Fiscal Year 2020 (July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020).

Applications will only be considered if requested funds are used to close a funding gap (i.e. hotel/motel tax dollars should not be requested at the beginning of a capital campaign, but instead at the end to ensure that funds awarded are distributed in that fiscal year). Grants are intended to support capital improvement projects that help advance the aforementioned goals.


- Includes purchase of equipment that allows the applicant to operate events more effectively, draw more out-of-county visitors, and have financial benefit to the organization in the long term. Applicants should show with specific data how the purchase provides a long-term impact on tourism in Waterloo.
- Transportation to and around Waterloo for the event.

Overall scores may be increased when an application demonstrates the following:

- Support applications that are clear, complete and well-thought-out.
- New projects or projects that have significant changes from prior year’s event.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 149253

Estimated Size of Grant:

Organizations may apply for no more than $20,000.

In the event that the project(s) included in an application “materially change” from the original application, said application will be re-scored by the Experience Waterloo Board and funding will be adjusted appropriately based on the revised scoring percentage and how similarly scored applications were funded during the initial annual funding distribution. A material change will be defined as a change to the economic impact of more than 25%. However, if the economic impact is greater than 25% but less than $50,000, no adjustment will be made to the award.

Term of Contract:

Funding is for projects that are completed between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020 only.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Grants are available to organizations whose events are held in Waterloo, regardless of where the organization itself is based.

Applicants must have a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) in order to apply.


- Annual operating expenditures.
- Salaries, wages or administrative fees.
- Professional services - Includes legal, engineering or other services not expressly listed as fundable.
- Travel expenses of staff and guests not expressly listed as fundable.
- Tangible personal property, including but not limited to, copy/fax machines, computer equipment, other office equipment or furniture, light fixtures, musical instruments, permanent collections and exhibits.
- All food and beverage.
- Toll-free phone numbers, in-house postage, or material inventory.
- Interest or reduction of deficits or loans.
- Anything contrary to state or federal law or local ordinance.

Pre-Application Information:

For the Fiscal Year 2020 (July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020), applications are due to Experience Waterloo on Jan 11, 2019.

Grant applications are online. The online application must be used or the application will not be considered. The application should be completed and submitted based on the deadlines listed below.


- Nov 16, 2018: Applications available on
- Jan 11, 2019: Applications due to Experience Waterloo
- Feb/Mar 2019: Board meets and makes recommendations to City Council
- Apr/May 2019: Applicants notified of funding results
- July 1, 2019: Funds available after completion of project
- 60 Days Post Project: One hard copy and one electronic copy of evaluation form/final report due to Experience Waterloo

Applications must score a minimum of 65% to be eligible for funding.

Applicants must show matching funds of 50% or more for the project. The grant will fund no more than 50% of the total project cost. Only funds directly involved with the project may be used as matching dollars. Project-related expenses that are non-fundable may be shown as matching funds. Operational funds may not be used to match the grant funds. If the total project cost is less than what is provided in the application, the approved grant payment will be reduced and would fund no more than 50% of total project cost.

Experience Waterloo Partner Program participants cannot apply for funding during the two fiscal years following a Capital or Event award.

Grant funds will be paid only after the project is completed and reimbursable expenses are confirmed with Experience Waterloo staff.

Questions about the grant application process may be directed to Tavis Hall.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

To submit the online application:

Tavis Hall

Experience Waterloo
500 Jefferson Street
Waterloo, Iowa 50701
(800) 728-8431
(319) 233-8350

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Iowa: Waterloo