The State of Michigan, the City of Grand Rapids and Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. (DGRI) offer a variety of performance-based incentives to developers, entrepreneurs and companies undertaking projects to grow and enhance the urban core. Here below is a list of major and commonly used public sector tools available to support the growth of Downtown.

Activate This Place Grant

This grant focuses on animating and energizing underutilized public spaces in the Downtown neighborhood.

The program aspires to incentivize and support creative interventions such as permanent public artwork, window displays that add energy to empty storefronts, pop-up parklets that enhance street life and other "placemaking" initiatives.

What is placemaking? According to Project for Public Spaces, “Placemaking inspires people to collectively reimagine and reinvent public spaces as the heart of every community." MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning defines "placemaking" as “the deliberate shaping of an environment to facilitate social interaction and improve a community’s quality of life.”

Towards these goals, DGRI's Activate this Place Grant Program organizes around:

  • Public art installations, programming, and interactive initiatives
  • Expanding public space and amenities for people

The level of funding available depends on the nature of the proposed project.

This grant is currently not taking applications.

Grant Info: Activate This Place Grant Info

Window Activation Reimbursement Program

This grant program provides funding support to Downtown retailers, bars, restaurants and other storefront businesses with temporary installations of artwork that activate Downtown’s streetspace by showcasing active businesses and promoting vibrancy within the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) boundary.

Grant funds are intended to be used for helping businesses promote themselves and Downtown economic activity.

Proposals are accepted between the periods of October 1 through November 30, to reset annually.

To apply, please fill out the application. Paper applications are also available at DGRI's offices at 29 Pearl St NW #1.

See full policy here: Window Activation Reimbursement Grant (PDF)

Pop-Up Marketplace Sponsorship Grant

Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. seeks to promote pop-up, artisan, retail and vendor marketplaces in order to support growth in economic opportunities for existing Downtown businesses as well as allow opportunities for small business owners to test business concepts in the Downtown economy.

To apply, please fill out the application. Paper applications are also available at DGRI's offices at 29 Pearl St NW #1.

See full policy here: Pop-Up Marketplace Sponsorship Grant (PDF)

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Please allow 5 business days for a response.

Event Management Program

The one-day course hosted by Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. (DGRI) and the City of Grand Rapids provides essential knowledge and tools to organize successful public and private events of any size in the City of Grand Rapids..

The program covers all City of Grand Rapids and Office of Special Events requirements for permits, park rental, equipment and more as well as cover DGRI's Sponsorship Program, how to advertise and market events, how to team up with community partners, food trucks and more.

This opportunity is open to the public and specifically geared for event organizers, volunteers and staff.

Participants will receive a Certificate of Completion after the full-day training.

Upcoming Event Management Program Dates:

Seasonal Event & Programming Grant

Through the GR Forward process, the community called for expanding winter activities to make Downtown more fun and dynamic all year long. Downtown, for example, hosts hundreds of special events and programs from May - October. But the action tends to slow down when the cold blows in from November - April. To help build a great four-season city, Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. retooled its Event Grant Support Program to encourage and promote events and public space activation efforts during the cold weather months. If you have an idea to help make Downtown GR a more active year-round city, download the application below to learn more about this grant program.

Application: Seasonal Event & Programming Grant