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Business District Organization Program

The Business District Organization Program provides support to foster emerging and existing merchant and business associations serving one of Charlotte’s priority business districts. The program awards up to $30,000 per year to eligible business associations serving one of the City’s targeted business districts as defined by the Business Corridor Plan. Program funds can be used for administrative/operating expenses, special events & projects, marketing & promotions, and business district communications. Grants are competitive each year and all interested organizations must submit a proposal to be considered for the program. 

 
Organizations interested in applying must submit applications by May 12, 2014 to be given consideration. Late applications cannot be considered. Grantees selected through the application process will receive a one-year investment commitment of up to $30,000 (or 66.6% of eligible expenses whichever is less) with the potential for additional investments in upcoming years. Funding decisions will be made in early June, and contracts will be developed and fully executed by June 30. The contract will fund eligible organizations for their work plan activities for the 12 month period of July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2015.
 
Below are several tips to help you prepare for this funding opportunity:
  • Assess your organization’s structure and determine if you are eligible to apply for the BDOP program. Eligibility requirements are set forth in the attached program description.
  • Allocate time over the next 3 months to spend with your Board or Council to develop a thoughtful and impactful work plan and budget for the July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2015 funding cycle. The earlier that you begin planning your forthcoming funding year, the easier the application process will be.
  • If your organization is planning to host business district events, count on spending some extra time and effort planning the event details: date of event, individual work activities that must occur in preparation for the event, assigning roles & responsibilities, venue location, permits and insurance, competitive cost estimates, etc. As you know, hosting a successful event takes a lot of planning and work, and now is the best time to get started working through the details.
  • Revisit your organization’s vision and mission statements and make adjustments as needed. Consider the strategic vision for your business district and how it aligns with your mission and vision statements. Having meaningful conversations about this will help shape not only your strategic priorities for the next 12-month BDOP program funding cycle, but your long-term future as well.
  • Engage business district stakeholders in the work plan development process as well as in reviewing the strategic vision for your business district. Remember to ask “who’s missing at the table”, and develop a strategy to engage them as part of your work plan.
  • Gather competitive cost estimates for each activity you plan to undertake. This will help shape not only your budget, but your work plan as well.
  • For questions or technical assistance, contact Gail Whitcomb with Neighborhood & Business Services at 704-336-5849 or gwhitcomb@charlottenc.gov.