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Community Celebrations Grants

Grants to Tompkins County, New York Nonprofits and Municipalities
for Events that Promote Local Culture, History, and Heritage

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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Tompkins County

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

03/19/18 11:00 AM


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Grants ranging from $500 to $2,000 to Tompkins County, New York municipalities and nonprofit organizations for community events that promote and support the region's unique history and culture. Applicants are strongly encouraged to utilize the technical assistance available and attend an event management workshop on March 7 and March 28. Funding is intended to enhance the quality of life for local residents. Preference will be given to applications containing components of local culture, heritage, and/or history.

These grants allow the local community to dig into its past, to educate the public about local cultural inheritances, to give residents a way of understanding and enjoying local culture, and to expand contemporary local culture in ways that are informative, educational, and just plain fun.

A Celebration is an event, program, or series of events endorsed by a municipality or other recognized community, is free and open to all, and is planned by community members as a benefit to the community. A Celebration is also defined as an observance, commemoration, jubilation, inauguration, presentation, or any other "red letter day" or salute that has meaning for the community.

Fundable expenses include, but are not limited to:

- Local artists, performers, or providers of cultural programming
- Support for volunteers
- Certain professional services needed to produce a successful Celebration
- Educational materials
- Food is fundable only if it is related to the theme of the event and is demonstrated to the audience. Example: If the event celebrates Italian culture, the grant could be used for the purchase of Italian food and a cooking demonstration.
- Reusable banners

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 175718

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant:

Individual grants may be requested for a minimum of $500, up to a maximum of $2,000. The average award has been approximately $1,250, with some grant recipients receiving more and some receiving less.

Term of Contract:

Funding is for events that occur between May and December, 2018.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

These grants are available to any recognized community within the County. The Celebration must take place in Tompkins County.

A community is a recognized municipality, or a part thereof, within Tompkins County; a traditional, cultural, and/or ethnic organization; or group that hopes to build on historical, architectural, musical, culinary, agricultural, and/or cultural traditions by providing venues for local performers and products.

Awards will be paid directly to municipal governments or to registered not-for-profit organizations.

All events must be free and open to the public without discrimination.

Ineligible requests:

- Carnival-type events or attractions are not typically funded.
- For-profit organizations are not eligible to receive a grant.
- Events that exclusively promote religious traditions are ineligible.

Ineligible expenses:

- Bounce houses, carnival-type rides, gifts, fireworks, building repairs or alterations, and prizes
- Paid staff time

Pre-proposal Conference:

Tompkins County Festivals Program Presents: FREE Event Planning Workshops

WEEK 1 | BEGINNER TRACK: Wednesday, March 7, 2018
WEEK 2 | ADVANCED TRACK: Wednesday, March 28, 2018

9:00 - 3:00 PM each day at Cinemapolis Movie Theatre in Downtown Ithaca

Who should attend?

- Individuals and groups applying for STPB Room Tax grant funding
- Any event planners looking to do projects in 2018
- Groups and organizations interested in considering new events or growing existing ones
- Anyone interested in learning more about event coordinator responsibilities and planning.

New event planners are encouraged to attend both workshop days. Intermediate and professional organizers with experience are welcome to attend both as well, but may find the March 28th workshop to be most valuable.

Register using the link in Contact Information below.

Pre-Application Information:

Applications are due online by 11 am, Monday, March 19, 2018.

Applicants are invited to request a review of their draft submission in advance; email or call the grant administrator by 10 days in advance of the deadline to ask for review of a draft online application. Complete a draft of your application by March 9, 2018.

Grant applicants are strongly encouraged to take advantage of support provided by the Tompkins Festivals Program. The following resources may be available for your Tompkins County–based Celebration:

- Annual event management workshops on various topics. Led by the Downtown Ithaca Alliance and Tompkins County Tourism Program.
- Technical event assistance. Topics of individualized technical assistance include, but are not limited to, budgeting and fundraising, site planning and permitting, volunteer management, site management, succession planning, etc.
- Event equipment loan service
- Tompkins County event vendor lists
- Tompkins County event planning manual (see link below and pdf in Supporting Documents)

Contact Allison Graffin for more information on these resources.

Applicants should contact the United Way to create a new account and with technical questions connected to the Apricot online grant management system.

Applicants are encouraged to source goods and services locally.

Applicants must demonstrate a financial match of at least 50%. The match can be met through cash support from other sources, event revenues, and/or in-kind contributions.

More on the Tompkins Festivals Program:

Event Planning Manual:

General information on the Tourism Program:

Contact Information:

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

Register for workshops:

Online application portal:

Kristin McCarthy, Tourism Program staff

Allison Graffin
Downtown Ithaca Alliance

United Way contact information:

Kelsey Rossbach:
Samantha Granison:
Phone: (607-272-6286)

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: New York: Tompkins County