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Waterloo Hotel-Motel Tax Grants - Event Grants

Grants to Waterloo, Iowa Organizations and Businesses for
Events that Foster Increased Tourism to the Area

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Experience Waterloo

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Grants of up to $5,000 and grants of up to $20,000 to Waterloo, Iowa organizations and businesses for events that promote the local tourist industry. Funding is intended to support marketing and other event-related costs such as facility rentals, honorariums, mailings, security, and transportation.

The Experience Waterloo Hotel-Motel Tax Grants include several streams of grants for event-related 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. Recognize and support events that have a significant economic impact on Waterloo.
2. Support organizations and activities that strengthen the perception of Waterloo.
3. Make impactful events or activities possible with financial support from this process.

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 Event Grant supports event-related projects that will have a positive impact on the tourism industry in Waterloo during Fiscal Year 2020 (July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020). Events should bring visitors to Waterloo, both for this event, and in the long-term. The grants are not intended to provide long-term or operational support, but are intended to support marketing and event efforts that help advance the aforementioned goals. There are two categories of Event Grants:

- Visitor Event Grants are for events that draw greater than 50% of its attendance from outside of Black Hawk County.
- Community Event Grants are for events that are Waterloo-centric, drawing less than 50% of its attendance from outside of Black Hawk County.

Grant funds are intended to increase economic activity for the City of Waterloo.

Fundable Items:

- Advertising and marketing (Print/Electronic/Billboard).
- Direct mail campaign expenses related to the event/project. Includes materials, design and postage.
- Entertainment related to the event/project.
- Honorariums for speakers, officials, etc. (Travel expenses including hotel rooms and mileage may be included as allowable honorarium payments with prior approval from Experience Waterloo).
- Printed materials that promote visits to the event/project prior to the event occurring.
- Prize funds and/or purses (Prize money paid in cash must be acknowledged in writing by recipient(s) in order to qualify for reimbursement. No exceptions will be allowed.)
- Travel shows (Funding for booth space and registration fees).
- Bid money for events, tournaments, conventions, etc.
- Basic facility rental costs.
- Event-related security and safety services.
- Marketing and design services.
- 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#: 184808

Estimated Size of Grant:

- Visitor Event Grants may apply for no more than $20,000. The top scoring grant each year may be fully-funded.

- Community Events may only apply for a maximum of $5,000.

The Experience Waterloo Board reserves the right to establish a “maximum funding limit” in any particular grant cycle based on the total number of applications, total funds requested and total funds available.

In the event that the event(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 events that occur between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020 only.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

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

For-profit applicants should provide specific information demonstrating how grant funds will increase economic activity for the City of Waterloo.

Non-Fundable Items:

- New construction, renovation, restoration, installation of new fixtures and other capital projects that are not event-specific.
- Annual operating expenditures.
- Professional services - Includes legal, engineering, accounting, auditing, consulting or other services not expressly listed as fundable.
- Salaries, wages or administrative fees.
- 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.
- Program books, trophies, medals, plaques, bumper stickers, table tents, shirts, hats, banners, flags, stationary, etc.
- Toll-free phone numbers, in-house postage, or material inventory.
- Membership solicitation materials and donations/contributions to sponsors.
- Reprinting of current brochures.
- Prizes for fundraisers, raffles, or events (including electronics, gift certificates, etc.).
- Interest or reduction of deficits or loans.
- Anything contrary to state or federal law or local ordinance.
- All food and beverage.

Pre-Application Information:

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

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
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

Community Event Grants: Events are allowed to apply in this grant category for only three years. After that time, the event must apply under the Visitor Event Category or will no longer be allowed to apply for funding. The three-year period commences the first year funding is received.

All project printed materials, signage or advertising must contain a logo provided by 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.

Funds may be used solely for fundable items (see Description above). Any use of grant money for non-fundable items will result in total funding being reduced by the amount spent on non-fundable items.

Funding must be used for the project designated on the application or funding may be forfeited. Any changes in the project must be approved prior to the project occurring.

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

Questions about the grant application process may be directed via email 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 apply online:

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