Venture Portland Awards $41,000 to Support Spring and Summer Activities in Business Districts

Venture Portland Awards $41,000 to Support Spring and Summer Activities in Business Districts

Portland is home to 23,000+ neighborhood businesses that provide 300,000+ jobs, the majority of which have been hit hard by the pandemic. In response to the current economic crisis, Venture Portland awarded $41,000 to fund thirteen Spring/Summer grant projects in Portland’s neighborhood business districts citywide. These funds will help districts organize clean-ups, create new public art and green spaces, develop equity strategies and retain critical staff who support local businesses.

Venture Portland’s Grants Committee, comprised of neighborhood business owners and representatives from partner organizations RACC and Bricks Need Mortar, evaluated grant submissions to determine business district grant funding. "Serving on Venture Portland’s board has never been more challenging and rewarding than it has been over the past year and continues to be as we move forward.” said Grants Committee Chair and Co-owner of Cargo in Central Eastside, Bridgid Blackburn. “With 2020 finally in the rearview mirror, we are all focused on Portland’s recovery in 2021 and the Venture Portland grant program is an essential tool for Portland’s unique business districts.Although the funds were tight, we are hopeful that this grant cycle will make a positive impact on Portland’s recovery.”

This highly competitive round of grants funds included grant guidelines that were revised to increase equity and support businesses during COVID-19. The application process was simplified and accelerated to help infuse funds into struggling business districts as quickly as possible. The response was overwhelming, and the Grants Committee was forced to get creative to fund as many projects as possible.

Venture Portland’s Executive Director, Joy Church, said, "Once again, we are thankful to Prosper Portland for allowing us the opportunity to support so many impactful projects. All of the grant submissions were well-considered and worthy; we were fortunate to be able to fund 90% of them during our 2021 Spring Grants Cycle. With BIPOC-owned businesses seeing disproportionate, negative effects from Covid-19, we are pleased to support multiple grant proposal that address equity and inclusion. I am excited to see the funded projects take shape and look forward to continuing our support to Portland's incredible business community.

“Amazing work by the Venture Portland team for continuing the Business District Grant Program.” said Mayor Ted Wheeler. “Portland has always proudly been a small business city. Our strong local economy is the driving force behind our city’s character and community. These funds will assist and support Portland business owners in recovery so they can continue to stay open and share their passion and dedication with the rest of us. Thank you, Venture Portland.”
To further support neighborhood businesses, Venture Portland hosts monthly webinars for small business owners on topics such as ‘Activating Your Sidewalk with PBOT’s Healthy Business Permit Program.’ The organization’s weekly e-newsletters keep Portlanders in the know about the latest happenings in business districts and small business owners' creative responses to the challenges posed by the pandemic.   
A complete list of grant-funded activities is below:
  • 82nd Avenue of Roses Business Association - District Clean-ups
  • Alberta Main Street - Graffiti and Trash Removal
  • Beaumont Business Association - Maintain Current Staff
  • Belmont Area Business Association - Maintain Current Staff
  • Central Eastside Industrial Council - District Plaza
  • Division/Clinton Business Association - Maintain Current Staff
  • Foster Area Business Association - Public Space Improvement
  • Lloyd Community Association - District Mural
  • Montavilla East Tabor Business Association - District Equity Initiative
  • Northwest Portland Business Association - Maintain Current Staff
  • Old Town Community Association - Maintain Current Staff
  • St. Johns Boosters Business Association - Native Plant Park
  • Woodstock Community Business Association - Maintain Current Staff
About Venture Portland
In FY 19-20 Venture Portland awarded $118,300 to fund 38 projects in 20 business districts, leveraging an additional $168,710 in private investment. Since 1995 Venture Portland has granted more than $1.8 million to fund more than 600 business district projects, leveraging more than $5.4 million in additional private investment in districts citywide.