The GO Laurel Highlands is accepting applications for its 2024 Fayette County Tourism Grant Program.
Donor Name: GO Laurel Highlands
County: Fayette County (PA)
Type of Grant: Grant
Size of the Grant: $25,000
Forty percent of the Fayette County Lodging Tax is appropriated for a grant program specifically established to support the county’s tourism assets. The purpose of this grant program is to enhance the tourism experience, increase tourism visitation, and to generate overnight stays within Fayette County. Awards are granted annually on the basis of merit as determined by the Fayette County Tourism Grant Review Committee and administered by the Fayette County Commissioners and GO Laurel Highlands (GO LH) (Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau). Thus, grant funding must be primarily used for marketing and advertising expenses that target potential visitors who reside outside of the Laurel Highlands counties and whose visit is likely to result in an overnight stay.
Based on the dollar amount, grants equal to or less than $25,000.00 will be issued in the full amount. Anything above $25,000.00 will be issued in two (2) equal checks.
Types of Grants
- Marketing and advertising programs must be targeted to media that primarily reach visitors outside of Fayette County. Cooperative programs, which include tourism partners in the three-county Laurel Highlands region, are eligible. The Grant Program will not fund advertisements in local event programs (i.e. high school sports programs, local dance troupe programs, etc.) Tourism-related marketing expenses are eligible for funding providing the contractor is with a 3rd party organization and not affiliated with the requesting organization in any way.
- Eligible expenses including but not limited to:
- Internet website development or enhancement if contracted with an entity not affiliated with the applicant.
- Creative services (creating photo or film libraries, logo development, new artwork, etc.) if contracted with an entity not affiliated with the applicant.
- Brochure design and printing
- Advertising (TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, billboards, search engine marketing, digital ad campaigns, etc. – local media may be included if the majority of their audience is out of county.)
- Directional signage.
- Exhibiting fees to participate in industry travel shows/trade shows.
- Trade show displays that include the GO Laurel Highlands logo.
- Eligible expenses including but not limited to:
- Capital Project Grants
- Capital improvements that benefit tourism and augment the visitor’s experience by developing new or enhancing existing Fayette County 501(c)(3) nonprofit tourist attractions or amenities will be considered. Funds may be used as matching grant funds for implementation of capital improvement projects.
- Operational Expense Grants
- Grants for rent, utilities, land phones (not mobile service), office equipment such as desks, chairs, computers, software, copy machines, etc., consumable supplies such as stationery, paper, postage, etc. will be considered.
- However, grants will not be awarded for:
- Visitor Center Grants
- Operation of a visitor center in a Great Allegheny Passage Conservancy recognized “Great Allegheny Passage Trail Town” in Fayette County.
- Expenses related to staffing the center such as: payroll, payroll taxes, and payroll fees and standard operational expenses such as rent, utilities, insurance, postage, etc., as directly related to the operation of a seasonal visitor center.
- Grants may be awarded to any tourism related 501(c)(3) nonprofit business or organization located in Fayette County that submits a request for such funds utilizing the official grant application furnished for this purpose and whose mission and operation are directly related to tourism and tourism development.
- Nonprofit organizations are required by Act 18 to have a 25% cash match or a 12.5% cash match and 12.5% in-kind match.
- Documentation for in-kind donated professional services and/or donated materials must be provided and must include work performed, date/dates of the services, and hourly rate and hours donated. (A discount is not considered as in-kind).
- In-kind volunteer work is only acceptable for events/festivals and only for the time the volunteer works at the event. The volunteer’s time is valued at $12 per hour and must be documented, including dates, services they provided, and hours of service.
- For-profit organizations can apply only for a marketing grant and are required to provide a dollar for dollar (1:1) match for dollars awarded.
- All lodging establishments, including campgrounds with cabin rentals, cabins, hotels, resorts, hostels, vacation rentals (including Airbnb, VRBO), bed & breakfast, and other overnight rental organizations must be in good standing and current in its submission of obligated funds for the Fayette County Lodging Tax. (If you have any questions on your status, please contact your County Treasury Department).
- If you receive a grant, you can incur expenses eligible for assistance immediately after you receive a grant notification letter. Expenses cannot be incurred before the notification date.
- Marketing grants may be awarded to any nonprofit or for-profit tourism-related business or organization located within Fayette County that submits a request for such funds utilizing the official grant application furnished for this purpose and whose mission and operation are directly related to tourism and tourism development.
- Grants are awarded on an annual basis.
- Applicants should not assume that they will be awarded a grant on an annual basis, nor should they consider these tourism grants a permanent addition to their budget.
- Applicants must use only the official forms and required documents for submission.
- A nonprofit organization may not file for more than one grant request for each type of grant.
- Each grant request must be submitted on a separate application.
- ALL grant applications MUST be submitted by an authorized representative of the requesting entity and MAY NOT be submitted by a third party or agency on behalf of the entity.
For more information, visit GO Laurel Highlands.