Round 11 applications for New York State Regional Economic Development Council opened on May 11 with a total of $750 million in economic development funding available across New York’s ten REDC regions. The program focuses on projects that advance a region’s long-term economic development strategies, including job retention and recovery in industries disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year, the state has changed the process for how the money will be distributed. Rather than one large funding announcement in December, $150 million from Empire State Development (ESD) will be available to fund certain projects on a rolling, competitive basis. To be considered for the first-round of grants, applications must be submitted by July 30.
Funding Opportunities for New York State Museums
Market New York
Market New York (Market NY) is a grant program established to strengthen tourism and attract visitors to NYS by promoting destinations, attractions, and special events. In 2021, Market NY has up to $15 million available in funding across the state. Funding will be awarded to projects that will create economic impact by increasing tourism in the state. Funding is available for tourism marketing initiatives, capital and construction projects, and for development of special events (like meetings, conferences, festivals). The REDC identifies two significant tourism initiatives. The first is COVID impacted tourism projects, events, and businesses, and the other are projects that market or promote “New York’s unique, world-class destination and special events, broad array of available activities, and strength in creating family memories through activities, like outdoor recreation, historic sites, and museums.” There are two categories of funding available.
Up to $7 million is available for regional tourism marketing. This fund supports projects that market NYS regional tourism destinations or attractions. Applicants must demonstrate how their project will promote the tourism goals for the REDC’s overall strategic plan as well as demonstrating increased visitation or increased spending per visitor. It is also noted that successful tourism marketing projects will also complement the goals and strategies of I LOVE NY.
Applications must request a minimum of $50,000 to be considered for funding. There is a 25% match of the total project cost. No other state funding can be used and the ESD will pay grantees on a reimbursement basis. It’s advised that the grantee should be prepared to subsidize the project for up to 6 months or more before reimbursement.
Explore & More Children’s Museum in Buffalo received $150,000 in Regional Tourism Marketing in Round 9 of REDC funding from Market NY. The grant was used to increase marketing outreach through a campaign that used play to tell the unique story of Western NY through the museum’s exhibits that celebrate waterways, cultures, traditions, architecture, agriculture, and more.
The Center for Brooklyn History received $169,950 to launch a marketing, advertising, and PR campaign in Round 9 aimed at increasing Brooklyn tourism by expanding its visibility. This campaign will promote two of the Brooklyn Historical Society’s unique sites, a landmark 1881 building in Brooklyn Heights and a 3200 square feet gallery in the Empire Stores building in DUMBO. The Center for Brooklyn History notes that this project is the most comprehensive campaign of its kind in its 155 year history.
In Round 8, the Genesee Country Village & Museum used Market NY funds to increase targeted tourism marketing efforts throughout the Northeast United States, Canada, and other selected countries to further promote and expand visitor engagement opportunities through their three core agritourism programs. In their successful application, GCV&M demonstrated that their efforts would grow the number of non-local visitors to their museum and the greater Finger Lakes region, arguing a broad economic impact.
Up to $8 million is available for regional tourism capital projects with a minimum grant request of $150,000. Applications will be accepted for projects that include plans to expand, construct, restore or renovate NYS tourism destinations or attractions. Like with regional tourism marketing, applicants for regional tourism capital must also demonstrate how the tourism capital project will work to promote and forward REDC’s tourism goals as well as I LOVE NY’s tourism goals and strategies.
Among eligible expenses for this category include pre-development costs, improving accessibility services, acquisition of land or buildings, remediation costs, and administrative costs up to 10% of the total project cost. An 80% match is required in addition to a $250 application fee. Similar to the regional tourism marketing grants, grantees will be paid on a reimbursement basis.
In Round 9, Storm King Art Center was awarded $460,000 to support the construction of its 221 Sarah Sze commissioned work, Fallen Sky, and the accompanying exhibition to increase tourism in Orange County and the Mid-Hudson Region.
The New-York Historical Society received $500,000 in Round 9 to construct an annex to house the new Academy for American Democracy, public galleries with exhibitions for family audiences to increase visitation.
In Round 8, the Rochester Museum & Science Center used $200,000 to purchase a new star projector for the Strasenburgh Planetarium renovation.
Non-profit organizations must be qualified in the New York State Grants Gateway (https://grantsmanagement.ny.gov/), be registered and up to date with filings with the NYS Office of the Attorney General’s Charities Bureau and be registered and up to date with the NYS Office of the State Comptroller's VendRep System. It is also strongly advised that all non-profit organizations register with Grants Gateway during the application process.
Applications that will be highly considered for funding should demonstrate that their project will increase tourism to and within NYS and will have an overall positive impact on their region. I LOVE NY will give additional consideration to applications that identify and demonstrate project partnerships, like collaborating with regional partners on the project, especially tourism promotion agencies (TPAs).
Market New York Guidelines and additional resources can be found at www.iloveny.com/MarketNY or email the Division of Tourism at RegionalTourism@esd.ny.gov
Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
Up to $19.5 million is available from the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation via the Environmental Protection Grants Program for Parks, Preservation and Heritage. Grants can cover up to 50% of the total eligible project cost. Grant awards are capped at $500,000, however if the total project cost exceeds $1 million, up to $750,000 may be requested.
Under the Historic Preservation Program, funds can be used to acquire, improve, protect, preserve, rehabilitate or restore properties listed on the State or National Register of Historic Places and for structural assessments and/or planning for such projects.
This grant program is administered on a reimbursement basis and successful applicants are expected to fund project expenditures upfront and then submit for reimbursement.
In Round 9, the George Eastman Museum was awarded $600,000 to restore and repair three original, historic garden structures that are integral to the National Historic Landmark. The Museum also added accessibility features to increase visitation.
In Central NY, the Oneida Community Mansion House was awarded $600,000 to complete Phase 1 of its exterior rehabilitation project for the museum, education center, residence and inn buildings. The work includes roof repairs, drainage, masonry, painting, and window restoration.
In Round 8, Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion State Historic Park received $500,000 used to secure an additional property once part of the original estate to create a new entrance and visitor center for offices and collections storage.
New York State Canal Corporation
Up to $1 million in funding is available for the Canalway Grants Program. Non-profit organizations that are along the NYS Canal System (Erie, Champlain, Oswego, and Cayuga-Seneca) are eligible to apply for special canal related projects.
Projects applying for NYS Canal Corporation funding should achieve at least one of the following for the NYS canal system–including the Canalway trail: expand public access, increase visitation and recreational use, stimulate private investment, improvise services and amenities for Canalway land and water trail users, and enhance connections between the canal and the corresponding region consistent with the REDC strategic plans.
The minimum grant request is $25,000 and the maximum grant request is $150,000. These funds must be used for capital improvement projects, requires a 50% match, and grant funds will be provided on a reimbursement basis.
In Round 9, the Buffalo Maritime Center was awarded $120,000 to construct an historically accurate replica of DeWitt Clinton’s 1825 Erie Canalpacket boat. After construction, the Maritime Center will partner with cultural organizations in villages, towns, and cities where the packet boat can play an inspiring role in helping other communities to identify their unique Erie Canal culture and history and will be central to a grand reenactment of Governor DeWitt Clinton’s opening voyage from Buffalo to New York City in 1825.
For more information, visit https://www.canals.ny.gov/community/grant.html or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Helpful Next Steps
To be considered for the first-round of early grants, you must get your application in by July 30. Be sure to read the CFA Resource guide, watch the program webinars that are relevant to your project, and attend public meetings held by your Regional Economic Development Council.
Click here to learn more about REDC Funding including the 2021 REDC Guidebook, 2021 Resource Guide (including more details regarding the funding opportunities listed above) and for upcoming webinars.