GUIDELINES OF THE BUCKS COUNTY TOURISM GRANT PROGRAM
*Please note: The 2020 Spring Grant Program deadline has been extended to May 1 due to disruption from COVID-19 and to allow organizations additional time to re-strategize and adjust plans as needed. Applications will be accepted prior to the May 1 deadline.
We intend to expedite the review process and deliver formal notifications by the end of May.
Applications can be submitted online or mailed to the Visitor Center (3207 Street Road, Bensalem, PA 19020.) The Visitor Center is currently closed until the end of the month; delivering applications in person will not be possible at this time. Visit Bucks County will continue to closely monitor the evolving situation surrounding COVID-19 and communicate any further program adjustments in a timely manner.
THE PURPOSE OF THE BUCKS COUNTY TOURISM GRANT PROGRAM
Visit Bucks County (VBC) will designate a portion of the proceeds of the County's tax on lodging, agreed upon by the County Commissioners and Visit Bucks County, towards funding a tourism grant program. The program will look to fund eligible participants in Capital Projects related to tourism promotion, marketing, historic preservation and enhancement of attractions and the staging of special events designed to attract visitors to the county.
Beginning in 2020, one grant recipient each cycle will be recognized as the Charles H. Martin Grant Recipient, in recognition of Commissioner Martin’s commitment in starting and supporting the Bucks County Tourism Grant Program for nonprofits in the travel and hospitality industry.
Eligible recipients are limited to non-profit (501-c3 or 501-c6) organizations or other entities and are tourism and/or hospitality businesses located in Bucks County.
Grants will be awarded under the following categories: Special Events, Capital Projects and Marketing Efforts.
Festivals, shows, performances, exhibits, programs and other events that will attract visitors, especially from outside of Bucks County, will be considered. Annual events will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
The development and implementation of a marketing and fundraising plan should be designed to increase visitation to an attraction or event. This can include development of materials (printed, audio, visual or web based), which aid visitors to better understand, appreciate, or interpret their visit or experience.
Grant amounts will vary for each application.
TIMETABLE FOR APPLICATIONS*
The Bucks County Grant Committee Panel will review grant applications twice a year, in April and October. Applications are due to the Visit Bucks County offices by 5:00 p.m. on the first day of these two months. The Bucks County Grant Committee Panel will review applications by the end of the application month, and formal notification will be given by the end of May and November, respectively.
*Please note: the 2020 Grant Deadline is May 1.
Applicants are requested to submit on forms provided by Visit Bucks County, which are available on VisitBucksCounty.com/grants, outlining the details of the project or program, how it is expected to attract new visitors to Bucks County, especially from outside of the county, the extent of funds raised independent of the grant funding requested, as well as the amount of the funding requested, and the date the funds will be required. The application must include information on anticipated visitation, audience profile, marketing plans and benefit to the community.
Applicants must provide documentation of fund raising and marketing efforts of at least 25% matching funds, being cash or in-kind.
Applicants submitting a hard copy application by mail must also fill out the applicant information section of the web application and hit submit. Hard copies can be mailed to:
Attn: Bucks County Grant Committee Panel
Bucks County Visitor Center
3207 Street Road
Bensalem, PA 19020
The Bucks County Grant Committee Panel reserves the right to consider special grant requests.
ALLOWABLE FREQUENCY OF APPLICATIONS
Applicants may receive up to two grants per calendar year. However, the applications may not be for the same project. Multi-year grants will be considered, not to exceed three years.
OTHER STIPULATIONS AND REQUIREMENTS
Grant applications for activities or events that are, in the opinion of the Bucks County Grant Committee Panel, primarily related to fundraising for the sponsor, are strongly discouraged. The only deviation from this policy will be if the Bucks County Grant Committee Panel views the event as a bona fide tourism generator bringing in significant visitation from outside the County.
Grant funds are not to be used for general operating expenses.
Successful applicants will be asked to sign an "Agreement to Terms and Conditions" form in order to receive their check.
Each application must clearly state who is the director for their application's activity. This must be the person who signs all paperwork.
All awarded funds must be spent. All corresponding paperwork completing the grant must be submitted by the last day of the month one year after the grant funds have been received. (i.e., if a business received awarded funds in December, it must close out the grant by the end of the following December). If these terms and the deadline are not met, Visit Bucks County will seek reimbursement of its funding from the recipient unless an extension is approved by the Bucks County Grant Committee Panel.
Applicants will be required to submit a Closeout Report on the provided Bucks County Tourism Grant Program Closeout Report template to Visit Bucks County.
Copies of cancelled checks, bank statements showing electronic payments, credit card statements, receipts and/or invoices will be required to document your total expenditures.
Staff costs (salaries, wages and fringes) and volunteer time are not eligible for reimbursement. Applications for activities or projects that take place before the grant application deadline will be denied. In special occasions, a waiver from this policy may be requested from the Bucks County Grant Committee Panel. Contact Kelley Keeling, Visitor Experience and Partner Outreach Manager, for more details. A waiver being approved does not imply the application will be approved.
Grant recipients are required to credit Visit Bucks County for funding this project in whole or in part.
All Bucks County Tourism Grant Program inquiries should be directed to:
Kelley Keeling, Visitor Experience and Partner Outreach Manager
215-639-0300 ext. 240