Grants for Promotion of Culture and Tourism

Grants are awarded annually to provide marketing and promotion support for Salem historic and cultural facilities, tourist attractions, and special events. Grants are funded by revenue from Salem’s transient occupancy tax​—a tax on rentals of hotel rooms and other temporary lodging spaces.

The Cultural and Tourism Promotion Advisory Board recommends how funds are used. The Salem City Council makes final grant award decisions.

Grant applications are due November 15, 2019. Fiscal year 2020–21 application forms are available below. Read the grant announcement.

General requirements

Funds may only be used for:

  • Enhancement and beautification of vehicular and pedestrian entrance-ways to the city

  • Urban beautification generally

  • Improvements to or operation of major tourist attraction or cultural facilities

  • Activities performed directly by the City or through contracts that promote use of Salem for conventions, conferences, seminars, or general tourism

Applicants and grant recipients must meet certain reporting requirements and deadlines. This may include reports of how grant funds from a previous fiscal year were used.

More information about the transient occupancy tax and use of its revenue can be found in Chapter 9, Section 56 of the City Charter.

Applicant eligibility

To be eligible for most grants, your organization must be a non-profit corporation with tax-exempt status under section 501(c) (3), 501(c) (4), or 501(c) (6) of the Internal Revenue Code. You must provide a copy of your organization’s current 501(c) (3), 501(c) (4), or 501(c) (6) IRS determination letter when you submit your application.

Your organization may be eligible to apply for funding, even if not currently listed with the IRS as a 501(c) non-profit. To be eligible in this case, your organization must have an interest in promoting cultural and community events in Salem and is apply for a small grant ($2,000 or less).

How to apply

Applications for grants are only accepted during the submission period, which occurs once a year in the fall.

  1. You must attend a Transient Occupancy Tax Grant Orientation meeting for funding consideration. One or two orientation meetings are held right before the application submission period opens, usually in October.

    2019 Orientations will be held:

    • Tuesday, October 8, 2019, 5:30–7:00 p.m.
       Salem Public Library
      Anderson Room B
       585 Liberty Street SE
      Salem, OR 97301

    • Thursday, October 10, 2019, 2:00–4:00 p.m.
       Pringle Hall
      606 Church St SE
      Salem, OR 97301

  2. You must meet all of the applicant requirements detailed in the current application manual. Read the instructions and all application materials very carefully.

  3. Complete and submit all of the application materials listed on the grant application checklist. Applications missing any of the required materials will not be considered for funding.

Application forms

TOT Grant Application - Capital Grant (20-21)10/10/20191263 KB
TOT Grant Application - Event or Project 501(c) (20-21)10/10/2019280 KB
TOT Grant Application - Event - Non-501(c) (20-21)10/10/2019277 KB
TOT Grant Application - Facility (20-21)10/31/2019464 KB
TOT Grant Manual (2020-21)10/10/2019628 KB

Types of grants

  • Capital asset or improvement project grants
  • Facility operation grants
  • Event and project grants

Grant awards for events range from small (up to $2,000) to large (up to $10,000) for large events hosted by non-profit 501(c) organizations. Non-501(c) organizations are eligible for small grants.

All events proposed for funding must be:

  • Open to the public
  • Take place within Salem city limits
  • Be scheduled between July 1 and June 30 of the fiscal year for which the grant is awarded

Past recipients of grant funds include:

Contact us

Chris NeiderManagement Analyst IICommunity Development Department
Mailing address:
555 Liberty ST SE RM 305
Salem OR 97301
People in costume for easter egg hunt.

Adults and children alike enjoy family-friendly events in Salem year-round, such as this group at the Deepwood Easter Egg Hunt.

Bagpipe players in parade at art fair

Hundreds of visitors enjoy the Salem Art Fair every summer in Bush’s Pasture Park.

Deepwood Museum and Gardens

The City of Salem helps to support historic cultural facilities such as the house at Deepwood Museum and Gardens (pictured), tourist attractions, and special events. Grant awards for the promotion of cultural and community events are available in amounts of up to $2,000 or $10,000.

© 2008 Ron Cooper