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Grants to Illinois Nonprofits, Agencies, and For-Profits to
Increase Tourism in the Wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Tourism Attractions and Festivals Grant Program

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO)

Deadline Date:

09/23/22 5:00 PM


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Grants to Illinois nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and businesses to promote tourism in the wake of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Applicants must pre-qualify prior to applying. Funding is intended to develop and enhance tourism-focused programs throughout the state. The goal of the grant program is to revitalize the hard-hit tourism industry by supporting new and returning attractions, events, and festivals. At least 30% of the available funds will be used for projects located outside the Northeast region (Cook, Lake, McHenry, DuPage, Kane, DeKalb, Kendall, Will, Kankakee, and Grundy Counties). Priority will also be given to areas that have experienced declines in hotel tax revenue comparing 2021 to 2019.

Applicants can apply in one of two categories:

  1. Tourism Attractions
  2. Tourism Festivals and Events

A successful application under this program is one that focuses on reviving the tourism, travel, and hospitality industries in the area of the event, creating partnerships within the small business community that has been negatively impacted by the pandemic. The program should attract visitors and locals to the neighborhood and business corridor to increase foot traffic and patronage of the local businesses.

Expenditures and activities for which grant funds can be utilized by Grantees include, but are not limited to, the following for Tourism Attractions:

  1. Capital projects: Land and building acquisition, construction, and renovation of buildings for the purpose of creating or enhancing a Tourism Attraction;
  2. Equipment: The purchase and installation of machinery and equipment designed to create or enhance tourism attractions;
  3. Training: Development and presentation of hospitality, quality service, and/or other types of tourism training programs intended to provide a competitive workforce for the tourism industry of Illinois; and,
  4. Interpretive Programs: Creation, implementation, and staffing of, and fabrication of exhibits for, interpretive programs located within historic/cultural sites.

For Festivals/Events, expenditures and activities for which grant funds can be used include, but are not limited to:

  1. Transportation & Housing;
  2. Building or equipment rental;
  3. Receptions/banquets;
  4. Entertainment/programming;
  5. Photography
  6. Audio Visual equipment; and
  7. Temporary staff for the festival/event

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 198030

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant:

Award Range: $15,000 - $500,000

Term of Contract:

The anticipated start date for awards is October 2022. The period of performance is expected to be July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible Applicants include:
1. Units of local government;
2. Counties;
3. Municipalities;
4. Not-for-profit organizations;
5. Local promotion groups; and
6. For-profit businesses.

Pursuant to the policy of the Illinois Office of the Comptroller, to receive grant funds from the State of Illinois, a grantee must be considered a regarded entity by the IRS for federal income tax purposes. Disregarded entities will not be eligible to receive grant funds.

Entities on the Illinois Stop Payment List at time of application submission will not be considered for an award.

Ineligible projects and activities for Tourism Attractions include, but are not limited to, the following:
1) Studies (feasibility, research, development, marketing, etc.);
2) Debt refinancing;
3) Contingency funding;
4) Normal payroll or operating expenses;
5) Administrative expenses;
6) Purchase of alcoholic beverages;
7) Marketing

Ineligible projects and activities for Tourism Festivals/Events include, but are not limited to, the following:
1) Debt refinancing;
2) Contingency funding;
3) Normal payroll or operating expenses;
4) Administrative expenses, including indirect costs;
5) Purchase of equipment;
6) Purchase of alcoholic beverages;
7) Marketing.

Pre-Application Information:

The deadline to apply is September 23, 2022, at 5 pm.

Applicants must be pre-qualified before applying. For additional information, see:

Applicants must have a valid FEIN number and UEI number and must be registered with

At the Department’s discretion, grants to units of local government, municipalities, counties, not-for-profit organizations, or local promotion groups may exceed 50% of the entire amount of the actual expenditure for the project; however, preference will be given to applicants seeking funding for 50% or less of the entire amount of actual expenditure for the project. If an applicant is a for-profit business, the grant amount will not exceed 25% of the entire amount of actual expenditure for the project.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply online at

Direct questions to Libby Shawgo at

Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity
Illinois Office of Tourism
500 East Monroe Street
Springfield, IL 62701
Tele: 217/558-1653

Funding or Pin Number:

CSFA Number 420-27-2645; NOFO ID: 2645-2334

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Illinois

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