Downtown Grand Rapids Inc.

Let's Go. Out.

Downtown Events and Promotion Assistance Program


Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. (Downtown Inc.) is interested in encouraging events and promotions in Downtown Grand Rapids. We seek to support events through several methods:

  • The promotion of downtown events through social media.
  • Staff assistance and guidance in the development of events.
  • Financial support in limited cases.

The events that capture our attention are those that energize downtown merchants, provide cultural enhancement of the downtown, and brand downtown Grand Rapids as a place of inclusion, vitality, community, culture and entertainment. The desired outcome is a comprehensive offering of diverse, high quality events that provide compelling reasons to come downtown.

There are two funding programs currently available:

Please see the attached applications for more information.

In addition to creating retail vitality, cultural enhancement and positive exposure for the downtown, the grants are focused on new and emerging events that can demonstrate the ability to produce a sustainable event. These funds are not meant to be a continuing source of funding, but as seed money to start new events and programs for up to three years.

Assistance Available

This program provides grants of up to $1,000 per request. The approval and the amount of the grant will be determined by the Downtown Event Grant Committee, which reviews each application according to the evaluation criteria.

Events are eligible to apply for one grant. If event series span more than one season, they can apply for two grants a year, one per season. Applicants should allow one month for the processing of the grants. All applications must be approved before the event. The committee reserves the right to decline any application.


By submitting an application, an applicant agrees to be bound by all the terms and conditions included in this agreement, including but not limited to the indemnification provisions attached.

Events sponsored through Let's go. Out. grant program will meet with following requirements:

  • They welcome a diverse audience.
  • They are free to attendees and appealing to the general public.
  • They are not offensive, dangerous, political or religious in content.
  • The events are held within the Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. boundaries.
  • The event will benefit many downtown businesses equally. The event organizer will meet with the Downtown Merchants Council if requested.
  • The grant program is intended to assist:
    • events that provide entertainment.
    • new and emerging events that need financial assistance to proceed.
  • We are unlikely to fund:
    • Events selling or giving away food or alcohol, allowing non-downtown vendors, or fencing off public space.
    • Fundraisers or non entertainment events.
  • If the City of Grand Rapids requires insurance for the event, Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. will be listed as an also insured on the policy, and a copy of the policy will be given to Downtown Inc. in advance of the event.
  • The event will use the downtown logo and, if appropriate, the downtown marketing image on their printed materials.

Events not complying with the requirements may lose their sponsorship.


This is a reimbursement program; checks will be cut after the event has taken place. For payment, the organizer will send an invoice to Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. and attach copies of paid receipts for approved uses, as stated in the application.

Submittal and Timing

Please submit grant requests one month before the scheduled event to allow time for committee review and coordination with the Downtown Merchants Council.

Please submit the application through the online application form.


Proposals submitted in response to the RFP will be evaluated based upon the quality of the proposal and the following strategies and requirements listed below:

  1. Entertainment:
    • The main purpose of the event is to entertain the audience.
    • Events that are educational or fundraisers are not the focus of this program.
  2. Benefit to the downtown:
    • The event/promotion creates a positive image of the downtown.
    • The event will enhance the downtown's reputation as the center of art, culture, entertainment, dining, education, health and urban life.
    • Downtown businesses will benefit from the event. Events that discourage attendees from going into downtown restaurants and bars by selling food or alcohol are unlikely to be funded.
    • The event/promotion is coordinated with the downtown marketing campaign and directs attendees to the downtown website (
  3. Ease and Ability of Production
    • The organization coordinating the event has the capacity to carry out the event/promotion.
    • The event is pedestrian friendly.
    • All elements (security, promotion, staffing, clean up) are managed by the event organizer.
    • The funds provided by this program will leverage other funds and are used for costs that are incurred by the event. Approved expenses are for hard costs, including park rental, insurance, collateral, and clean up.
  4. Broad Popularity
    • The event can be enjoyed by a variety of audiences and is not offensive or dangerous. Political and religious programming is not eligible.
    • The event is open to the public and free of charge.
  5. Coordination and Collaboration
    • The event is coordinated with the City's Office of Special Events (
    • The event collaborates with downtown businesses. Opportunities are created to encourage interaction between businesses and the event attendees. First priority for event participation is given to downtown businesses.
    • For merchant promotions, participation is available to all merchant businesses within the defined district/group. The applying group is united by either:
      • geographic boundaries within the downtown
      • a common theme within the downtown (example: restaurants, retail)
    • Special attention will be paid to efforts that collaborate with other initiatives and resources in the community and other downtown stakeholders.
  6. Expansion and Diversity of the Downtown Event Calendar
    • The event will assist in creating a vast menu of downtown programming and give people a new reason to come downtown that currently does not exist.
    • The event will bring diverse clientele into the downtown or bring people into the downtown at a new time.


These terms and conditions are incorporated into Downtown Grand Rapids Inc.'s "Grant Assistance Program for Downtown Events" (the "Program") grant application and apply to any event sponsored in whole or part by funds provided by the Program.


"Downtown Grand Rapids Inc." shall mean Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc., a Michigan nonprofit corporation.

"Event" shall mean any event sponsored in whole or part by any funds donated or distributed in connection with Downtown Grand Rapids Inc.'s Grant Assistance Program for Downtown Events.

"Grantee" shall mean any individual, organization, entity or group receiving funds from Downtown Grand Rapids Inc.'s Grant Assistance Program for Downtown Events.

"Indemnitees" shall mean Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. and its trustees, committee members, employees, agents and servants.

"Program" shall mean Downtown Grand Rapids Inc.'s Grant Assistance Program for Downtown Events.


Representations of Grantee. Grantee represents that it shall be fully responsible for every aspect of the Event, and that Grantee shall assure that the Event complies with applicable laws, rules, regulations, ordinances, orders, restrictions and insurance policies. Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. shall not be liable to Grantee, any vendor, or to any other third party for any matter arising out of or in connection with the Event. No director, committee member, officer, employee, agent or servant of Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. shall be charged personally with any liability, or held personally liable in connection with the Event. Unless Grantee discloses the conflict of interest in its application, no director, officer, employee, agent or servant (including any event committee member) of Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. will have any interest, direct or indirect, in any contract or subcontract for work to be performed, services to be rendered, or goods to be purchased in connection with the Event or in any proceeds of the grant.

Obligation to Indemnify. Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. is only a grant source and is not responsible for management, administration, compliance or any other aspect of any Event. Therefore, Grantee shall defend, indemnify and save Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. and its directors, committee members, officers, employees, agents and servants (collectively, the “Indemnitees” and each an "Indemnitee") harmless from and against any and all liabilities, suits, obligations, fines, damages, penalties, claims, costs, charges and expenses, including, without limitation, court costs and attorneys' fees and disbursements, that may be imposed upon, or incurred by, or asserted against, any of the Indemnitees by reason of any of the following, except that no Indemnitee shall be so indemnified and saved harmless to the extent that such liabilities, etc., are caused by the gross negligence or intentional tortious acts of such Indemnitee: any accident, bodily injury (including death at any time resulting therefrom) or damage to any person or property occurring in connection with any Event or the failure to act on the part of Grantee or any of its respective partners, joint venturers, officers, shareholders, members, managers, directors, agents, grantees, servants, employees, licensees or invitees. Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. is not Grantee's partner, joint venturer, servant, and/or employee and has no relationship to Grantee whatsoever beyond donating funds under the Program.

Contractual Liability. The obligations of Grantee under these terms and conditions shall not be affected in any way by the absence of insurance coverage or the inadequacy of any insurance coverage, or by the failure or refusal of any insurance carrier to perform an obligation on its part to be performed under insurance policies related to the Event or the property on which it is held.

Defense of Claim, Etc. If any claim, action or proceeding is made or brought against any of the Indemnitees in connection with any event referred to in these terms and conditions, then upon demand of Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., Grantee shall either resist, defend or satisfy such claim, action or proceeding in such Indemnitee's name, by the attorneys for, or approved by, Grantee's insurance carrier (if such claim, action or proceeding is covered by insurance), or by such other attorneys as each Indemnitee shall reasonably approve. The foregoing notwithstanding, any such Indemnitee may engage its own attorneys to defend such Indemnitee, or to assist such Indemnitee in such Indemnitee's defense of such claim, action or proceeding, as the case may be, at Grantee's sole cost and expense.

Notification and Payment. Promptly, upon having actual knowledge thereof, an Indemnitee shall notify Grantee of any cost, liability or expense incurred by, asserted against, or imposed on, such Indemnitee, as to which cost, liability or expense Grantee has agreed to indemnify such Indemnitee pursuant to these terms and conditions. Grantee agrees to pay such Indemnitee all amounts due under these terms and conditions within fifteen (15) business days after Downtown Grand Rapids Inc.'s request therefor, if Grantee is obligated to make such payment pursuant to the terms of this Agreement.

Additional Information

For additional information contact Kimberly Van Driel at 616.719.4610 or at