The Tourism Grant Program awards funds annually to projects that strengthen Montana’s economy through the development and enhancement of the State’s tourism and recreation industry. Funds are awarded annually to projects that develop and enhance tourism and recreation products that have the potential to increase out-of-area and resident visitation. Entities based in Montana that are eligible to apply for a Tourism Grant include:
- A primary, registered non-profit 501(c) organization
- A Tribal government
- A City or County government
Eligible entities cannot use funds as a pass-through for ineligible entities, which include for-profit businesses, individuals, subsidiary's of a non-profit, and other State or Federal agencies. Eligible entities must be in good standing with the IRS and the entity information must match the filed tax information or, for a 501 organization, the most recently filed Form 990-N. Eligible entities are limited to one application for one proposed project per funding cycle. The asset/proposed project must be owned by the entity applying for the grant or the applicant must have a long-term lease with automatic renewal in place [such as for placing or constructing signage on municipal land or an enhancement project that is within a commercial facility]. If a non-profit is considering submitting an application where the asset, or land where the asset will be constructed, is owned or co-owned by a City or County or Tribal government, it is recommended that the City or County or Tribe be a co-applicant.
Qualified applicants must demonstrate a match of actual and committed money and in-kind investment, if applicable, in the proposed project. The match is $1 applicant to $2 award. For example: if the project costs $9000 to complete, an applicant requesting $6,000 grant award must demonstrate they have $3,000 committed to the completion of the project as match. Reasonable in-kind services, in-kind labor, and/or volunteer hours can count up to 25% of applicant match yet the remaining 75% of applicant match must be hard cash.
Applications are evaluated by a review team comprised of staff in the Office of Tourism Bureau, a staff member with the Office of Indian Country Economic Development, a staff member with the Community Development Division, and at least one board member of the Tourism Advisory Council. Applications are reviewed and recommended for funding by how well the applicant would market the proposed project upon completion to measure the impact to out-of-area visitors; proposed projects that are identified by the community as key tourism development product in a community, strategic, or tourism/recreational plan; and proposed projects that have invested support by tourism and community partners.