1% Events & Programs Grant
Cook County's additional 1% lodging tax was obtained through special legislation in 2008 and renewed in 2023. Commonly referred to as the “1% events tax,” its usage is more broad in scope to support the marketing and production of events and programming within Cook County. The goal of the 1% events tax is to assist organizations with producing events that drive economic impact, bring visitors to Cook County and improve the quality of life for residents.
Each year, the board members for the Grand Marais Area Tourism Association (GMATA), Gunflint Trail Association (GTA) and Lutsen Tofte Tourism Association (LTTA) meet to review events and program grant requests and make allocations utilizing the 1% lodging tax collected within their lodging tax district.
All funding requests will be reviewed, analyzed, and scored against five major criteria:
- Purpose or Goal of Event: Does the goal align with supporting tourism?
- Room Nights: The event generates overnight stays at Cook County lodging facilities.
- Season/Timing: The event occurs during, and has the ability to create overnight stays during, shoulder and opportunity seasons.
- Impact: The event has a high potential of generating commercial, economic and social benefits for Cook County.
There is no minimum or maximum amount that can be requested. If your event is located within the GMATA lodging tax district and smaller in scale, you may consider applying for a GMATA Mini Grant.
Dates and Deadlines
- Apply by Wednesday, Feb. 14, to be considered for the 2024-25 fiscal year budget (May 1, 2024-April 30, 2025)
- Tourism associations meetings held in March to make decisions on grant applications
- Budget finalized in April and grant applicants notified about funding decisions
Expectations from Visit Cook County for grant recipients
- Participant and spectator data collection including total number of people that attended your event/participated in your program
- Lodging data collection* (i.e. where are your participants and spectators staying?)
- Provide percentage of event attendees that are overnight visitors
- Visit Cook County logo be used on many/much of the event/program’s publications, ads, t-shirt, banner, etc.
- Verbal acknowledgment of VCC's support if there is a time and a place where it would occur naturally (award ceremony for a race, a welcome gathering, etc.)
*Lodging data is one of the key ways in which Visit Cook County measures the success of an event/program. There are many ways in which you can get this information. You can collect this information at registration, you can poll people as they are entering the venue, you can hold a drawing, use an activity that requires someone to fill out their information, or you could send out a digital survey after the event. If you choose to use a digital survey, note that our expectation is that the survey goes out a couple of days after the event so as to retain the most fresh and wide audience.