2024 Destination Development Grants available in Erie and Ottawa counties

What is it: A popular grant program is available for the purpose of assisting Erie and Ottawa county organizations and businesses in developing projects that will attract and engage visitors and residents, serve and educate regional tourism partners, and generate economic growth for the community through travel and tourism development.

The Shores & Islands Ohio Destination Development Grants will be awarded to Erie and Ottawa county organizations again in 2024 and are in addition to the organization’s sponsorship grant programs, which also will continue. Over the past two years, more than $990,000 in Destination Development Grants have been distributed to 97 different local businesses to help them better serve their customers.
Project eligibility: The eligibility of projects and perimeters of the grant process have been modified from previous years to allow for increased participation and value to the grantees and wider region. Eligible grant recipients must be a partnering business/organization with Shores & Islands Ohio and could include, but are not limited to, local governments, for-profit enterprises, and non-profit organizations. Organizations with active projects funded through the Destinations Development Grant are not eligible to apply until the previously funded project is complete and all requirements have been fulfilled.

Projects should align with Shores & Islands Ohio’s mission and strategic plan and increase the likelihood of visitation from outside the area. Partnerships that bring together local and regional organizations, economic development and/or government organizations and tourism-related businesses will be looked upon favorably, as will public/forward-facing projects including: placemaking improvements, exterior beautification, new signage, murals on buildings, or revitalization/restoration. Some grants require at least a 50% match while others provide full project funding. The full grant application provides details on eligible and ineligible projects.

How to get involved: Informational meetings detailing the grant, eligibility, application process, and reporting requirements will be held at both Shores & Islands Welcome Centers in November. Interested parties are encouraged to join one of these meetings and can attend at any location, regardless of county of origin.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 15, 9 a.m. - S&IO East (125 E. Water St., Sandusky)
  • Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2 p.m. - S&IO West (770 S.W. Catawba Road, Port Clinton)
Application proposals are being accepted now and will be due by noon on Wednesday, January 31, 2024. Grant finalists will be notified by March 1, 2024, with finalist meetings taking place from March 4-15, 2024.

For more information on the grant process or to receive an application, contact Shores & Islands Ohio Destination Development Director, Amanda Smith Rasnick, at [email protected] or 419.625.2175.