Downtown Ithaca launching a new grant program for merchants

The Downtown Ithaca Alliance is launching a Collaborative Retail Experience Grant (C.R.E.G) Program designed to help local businesses craft new and unique in-store events. An example of the type of event the DIA is looking to apply C.R.E.G funding to is the Spring Fairy Fest where folks of all ages are welcome to dress as fairies and participate in many fun activities at local businesses.

Up to 10 grants at up to $500 will be available in 2020

The Downtown Ithaca Alliance (DIA) is launching a pilot grant program called the Collaborative Retail Experience Grant (C.R.E.G) designed to provide Downtown Ithaca businesses with the opportunity to organize and host shared, cooperative promotional events for the public to enjoy in the downtown community.

“We want to support our existing businesses on their quest to attract customers. Moreover, we want to incentivize businesses to collaborate together to stretch and leverage resources. This grant program is designed to meet these objectives,” says DIA Executive Director Gary Ferguson.

C.R.E.G is specifically geared towards empowering downtown’s ground-level businesses in crafting new activities and doing so with the cooperation of other downtown merchants, local artists, and non-profit organizations.

The DIA will award matching micro-grants to groups of merchants who collaborate on such events/promotions. Up to 10 grants of up to $500 each will be available in 2020. It is a competitive program with an application process.

The DIA will accept application submissions on an ongoing basis.

“I believe that the urban core should be a vibrant place and one way to accomplish this is for downtown businesses to host community-focused promotions and events,” says DIA Business Outreach Coordinator Kristina Thelen, the grant program’s creator. “The DIA recognizes organizing and administering an event can be expensive and difficult without a structure to help it progress. This grant will provide businesses with a portion of the funding they’ll need for the event.”

Thelen notes many downtown businesses already organize unique in-store events throughout the year and hope this funding will boost those activities and encourage other businesses to create in-store celebrations that will engage the public.

“We’d like to see our downtown businesses organize diverse and innovative offerings. This grant program is a way to give kudos to the businesses who are bringing those types of functions downtown,” says Thelen.

The following links will provide you with information regarding the grant overview/guidelines, micro-grant examples, and application.

C.R.E.G Micro-grant examples: Click here

C.R.E.G Grant Application: Apply Here

For more information about the C.R.E.G Program, contact the DIA at (607) 277-8679. or email

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