Grant Guidelines

It should be noted that since these grants are funded by tax dollars there are specific requirements that MUST BE MET for those grants to be awarded.

Grants can be awarded to any entity for the promotion, encouragement and support of conventions, visitors, and tourism within Hancock County. However, the focus of the grant itself must be for the purpose of attracting out-of-county people to come into the county for a “destination experience.” Tourism funds should not be granted to support a project or an event that does not create an interest by visitors outside of the county. However, the HCTC understands that quality of life of local citizens is also important. Therefore, grant applicants will be assessed based on “tourism impact” in distinct categories. Applicants who have a greater tourism impact will be the ones considered for larger grant awards. Applicants who have a smaller tourism impact may not be denied; however, their grant awards may not be as much. A “soft cap” grant award for those entities has been set at $10,000. HCTC will award larger grants to tourism-focused businesses, organizations, the arts, projects, events, activities, and festivals that show their project or event makes a significant effort to attract out-of-county people.

HCTC has spent a significant amount of time and money to better assess tourism efforts in Hancock County. These assessments will affect tourism grants in the future. We have:

· Hired a contractor to determine the impact of tourism on Hancock County.

· Purchased a retail location intelligence and foot-traffic tracking data software program. It uses geo-fencing and cell-phone tracking to better assess and understand the performance of retail locations, and to track event, festival, and activity attendance for current and past locations and events. This ability will help the Hancock County Tourism Commission and event planners to better understand attendance, demographics, travel info, length of stay, and popular destinations within the county. The software provides reports that are valuable in understanding the Return on Investment (ROI) of Tourism dollars and will assist the HCTC in making decisions on awarding future tourism grants.

· Committed to a significant financial pledge to be directly involved in collaboration with other organizations/entities to create innovative ideas that will enhance and grow tourism in Hancock County.

· Reduced grant awards to a “soft” cap of $10,000 with the understanding that additional funds might be available if the impact to tourism can be proven to be significant.

Starting in July of 2023, new grant categories were established by the HCTC that focus on a variety of specific tourism areas. HCTC will assign grant requests to a category as shown below during the initial review process. If your event does not have a large out-of-county draw, you will be limited to a “soft cap” of $10,000 or less. However, if your project or event has a large tourism impact in one of those categories, you will be able to request more than the $10,000 “soft cap.” Grants are available depending on the category where your project or event fits best.


· Arts Districts: designated arts organizations that provide regular public programming on a community-wide scale.

· Festivals and Events: Festivals are short-term in nature and must appeal to a wide variety of audiences, including out-of-area visitors. Designated organizations that create events in downtown areas and are scaled by size of community or maturity of the sponsoring organization (Main Street organizations and Chambers).

· Tourism Asset Development: Organizations that support enhancements or targeted installations such as public art, historic walks, etc.

· Tourism Partner Organizations: Organizations, businesses, or entities that have regular operating hours, can prove they attract regional audiences and are tourism-friendly or tell a story of a community that supports a culture focused on tourism.

· Special Tourism Event Opportunities: Start-up funding for unique or new opportunities with long-term potential.

Grant Application Process

The HCTC will begin a new review grant process beginning March 2024. The new process will allow the HCTC members more time to review and discuss grant applications received each round. This review will not include the Grantee. The following month the Grantee will attend in person at the scheduled monthly HCTC meeting to present their grant. There may be questions that arise between the submission of the grant and the presentation meeting, if this occurs a phone call or email will be sent asking for answers prior to the presentation of the grant. Please ensure contact information is included in the grant application. The HCTC Grant applications need to be completed via the online portal and must be submitted with all supporting documentation via that portal. Below is the schedule that will be utilized to support grant submissions on an annual basis:

Round 1:

· Grants submitted by 31 January

· Present Grant to HCTC on second Tuesday in March

· Apply for Round 1 here

Round 2:

· Grants submitted by 31 March

· Present Grant to HCTC on second Tuesday in May

· Apply for Round 2 here

Round 3:

· Grants submitted by 31 May

· Present Grant to HCTC on second Tuesday in July

· Apply for Round 3 here

Round 4:

· Grants submitted by 31 July

· Present Grant to HCTC on second Tuesday in September

· Apply for Round 4 here

Round 5:

· Grants submitted by 30 September

· Present Grant to HCTC on second Tuesday in November

· Apply for Round 5 here

Round 6:

· Grants submitted by 30 November

· Present Grant to HCTC on second Tuesday in January of next year

· Apply for Round 6 here

Based on this new schedule, grants being submitted for any event or activity that will take place between 1 June 2024 and 31 December 2024 will follow the Round 2 review cycle above.

The HCTC has an expectation that all entities submitting grants for consideration do so as far in advance as possible of the date of the project, event or activity.

As each grant is received by the HCTC, the date and time received will be recorded, and the grants will be considered in the order of receipt. Each grant will receive an initial review from the HCTC Executive Director. So, it is important to have all your documentation and information in place when you submit the application. If there are no questions or need for clarification, the grant application will be placed in the review process queue. If you are not contacted for any clarification or further information, you need to expect to be present at the HCTC meeting for your grant presentation as defined above. If the grant is incomplete or has any missing information, you will need to provide that information before it can be officially reviewed by the HCTC. Your grant will not be placed in the review process queue until that information has been updated, and the grant potentially resubmitted.

Grant Application Requirements

The following requirements must be met to be considered for the award of a Grant from the HCTC. The Grant Application must be completed providing information for the HCTC to form a clear understanding of how the Tourism tax monies will be utilized.

· The grant must support a tourism project, event, or activity that draws has the primary intent of drawing out-of-county visitors.

· Applicants can be a not-for-profit organization, a government entity, or a private entity.

· If you are applying for advertising support, you should be using media sources that will be targeting out-of-county residents. Advertising in local media sources alone will not be funded.

· Where possible, you should submit supporting documentation for quotes and estimates for projects or advertising packages.

· You must utilize the Hancock County Tourism logo on all your promotional pieces and at events or on projects. A variety of Hancock County Tourism and Visitor Center Logos in different formats are available on the Hancock County Tourism website in the Media Section.

· HCTC support for a project, event or activity should not be considered a permanent funding source.

· Projects, events, or activities should strive to become self-supporting. Our goal is to continue working to find new projects, events, and activities that will continue to draw even a wider population of visitors.

· Provide an OVERALL budget for your ENTIRE project, event or activity (not just the tourism funded portion). This should include all of your funding sources (including your own), quotes or estimates for ALL project costs.  This should be uploaded as an attachment. For the Tourism funded part of your budget, please complete the section on the application with actual costs and attach supporting documentation from vendors (invoices or quotes are encouraged). You should not be submitting “guesstimates.” 

· The HCTC requires you to utilize the tourism website to obtain the list of hotels, Air BnBs and local food and beverage businesses to enhance your event. This can be done by collaborating with these facilities to negotiate rooms and rates for vendors or attendees and promoting local restaurants.

· You can submit supporting documents with your application. This includes details and data from past events regarding visitors and their origin. These should be submitted along with the grant application.

· If this is a ticketed event, you will need to include visitor demographics. For non-ticketed events, an estimate will suffice. However, please note – foot-traffic information will be gathered using tourism’s new software program.

· Tourism should not be the sole sponsor or supporter of your event. You need to provide evidence of support from your business or organization, or evidence of other outside sponsors. A detailed list of other entities providing financial support should be included in your overall project budget. This will be helpful to show where all your funding sources originate.

· Projects, events, or activities are funded on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the HCTC.

· No later than sixty(60) days after the completion of a project, event, or activity you must submit a Grant Report (the form is also on the online portal) documenting the expenditure of funds provided by the HCTC. You must also submit receipts for all the tourism money spent on the project or event.

Grant Submission

The completed Grant Application and any additional documentation should be submitted to the HCTC following the process below.

Grant Applications will be reviewed by the HCTC at regularly scheduled meetings as shown above in the Grant Application Processing Schedule.

The HCTC meets monthly at 5pm on the second Tuesday of each month. They currently meet in the Hancock County Visitor Center, located at 119 W. North St., Greenfield.

To be placed on the agenda, your grant application, and attachments, if applicable, must be submitted to the HCTC by the last day of the month each quarter based on the Grant Application Processing Schedule.

The requestor is required to attend in person to present the grant application to the HCTC during the scheduled public meeting unless contacted and told it is not necessary. HCTC requires all Grant Applications be submitted electronically utilizing the online application portal. If you need assistance preparing the Grant Application, you may contact the HCTC Executive Director and set up a time to meet. A HANDWRITTEN APPLICATION WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. AN E-MAILED APPLICATION WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.

The Executive Director will determine if the Grant Application is complete and ready for the HCTC meeting review. HCTC board members will receive the application at the time of submission, and they will be making an initial review as well. The Grant Application will be assigned a tracking number upon acceptance.

Upon submitting a Grant Application, you will receive a confirmation email that the application has been received. You will also receive a copy of the completed application. Please check your SPAM folder for this confirmation and copy of your grant application. You will need this information when it is time to submit the Grant Report at the completion of your project, event, or activity. Information from the application will be required on the Grant Report when you submit that document.

HCTC Meeting

The HCTC meets the second Tuesday of every month at 5pm at Greenfield City Hall. A representative for your grant MUST be present at the designated meeting for your specific grant round in order for your grant to be considered.

At the HCTC meeting your representative is primarily there to answer any questions that the board might have about your grant application. You can be expected to do a 5-minute introduction of yourself and your grant application, and then see if the board has any questions. Please note, the HCTC is a government entity (like a school board); therefore, this is a public meeting. Anyone can attend. Therefore, you can expect members of the press, and other interested individuals at this meeting. Since this is a public meeting, you are welcome to bring additional individuals from your organization or business to be present to support your project or event. However, please note – they will not be allowed to speak unless the HCTC president requests it.

Grant Final Report

Within SIXTY (60) DAYS of the close of your project, event, or activity you must provide a follow up Grant Report. This report also needs to include all the receipts and documentation to show how the grant money was spent. The ability to upload supporting documents with the Grant Report is also available. If the HCTC desires an in-person report at a monthly meeting that will be communicated via email after receiving the Grant Report. The information submitted in the report may be enough and an in-person meeting may not be necessary. A HANDWRITTEN REPORT WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. AN E-MAILED REPORT WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.

If the full amount of the grant money is not utilized, you must return all unspent money to the HCTC. This should be submitted via check and made out to Hancock County Tourism Commission and mailed or dropped off at the Tourism office.

Failure to complete a Final Grant Report and submit the necessary documentation could result in an organization being banned from receiving future tourism funds. Failure to supply the necessary receipts for these expenditures could require the return of funds that are not supported by appropriate documentation. These would be considered unspent funds.

If you should have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the HCTC Office at 317-477-8687. You can also email the office at

Please reach out to Executive Director, Brigette Cook Jones, if you have any questions or need help filling out the Grant Application or Grant Report.

Grant Completion

An approved, executed and finalized grant that has been reviewed by the HCTC and approved for permanent filing should include the following documents:

· A complete Grant Application that includes the proper signatures (this is completed by HCTC staff and is stored electronically)

· The completed Final Grant Report includes all receipts and applicable documents related to the project, event, or activity.

· A check from the receiver of the Grant for any unused funds, if applicable

Please note:  This Grant completion packet is a public record and may be reviewed by the State Board of Accounts, County or Local Officials or any member of the public. Please be advised that it may be reviewed in an audit of Tourism funds by State agencies.