Centre County non-profits receive tourism grants

Thousands of people already flock to Centre County for high-profile events like the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, 4th Fest and concerts at the State Theatre, and hopefully, grants totaling $269,500 will bring even more people to the county.

On Wednesday, the Centre County Commissioners and the Central Pennsylvania Convention and Visitors Bureau presented a series of grants ranging from $1,500 to $40,000 to 19 Centre County non-profits, many of which are associated with the Community Foundation, with the hope that the projects those grants support will increase tourism in the county.

“It’s important because tourism is an industry that supports thousands of jobs in the area,” said Betsey Howell, Executive Director of the Visitors Bureau.

Well-known Centre County events received grants, as did lesser-known groups like Historic Bellefonte Inc., the Centre County Library & Historical Museum and the American Philatelic Society.

Since 2003, when the Tourism Grant project first started giving out grants, it has distributed more than $1.9 million. The grants are funded through the county’s hotel occupancy tax.

During the application process, which lasted from January 1 to March 31, organizations presented tourism-related projects that aimed to bring more people to Centre County through marketing or by improving something to make the tourist experience better.

The Tourism Grant Review Committee met, reviewed the applications and made recommendations to the Board of Directors, which made the final choices.

Howell said that it isn’t just local attractions that benefit from tourists being here. “When a tourist comes into an area, there’s the trickle-down effect,” she said. “They’re probably going to eat in a restaurant; they’re probably going to shop at a retailer; they’re probably going to buy gas.”

Organization Purpose Grant Amount
American Philatelic Society Marketing $5,000.00
Art Alliance of Central PA Marketing $3,000.00
Central PA Festival of the Arts Marketing $35,000.00
Central PA 4th Fest Marketing $15,000.00
Centre County Grange Fair Capital Improvement $40,000.00
Centre County Grange Fair Marketing $13,000.00
Centre County Library & Historical Museum Capital Improvement and Marketing $10,000.00
Center for the Performing Arts Marketing $10,000.00
Clearwater Conservancy Marketing $3,000.00
Discovery Space of Central PA Capital Improvement $25,000.00
Downtown State College Improvement District Marketing $7,500.00
First Night State College Marketing $5,000.00
Friends of the PA Military Museum Marketing $5,000.00
Historic Bellefonte Inc. Marketing $30,000.00
Historic Bellefonte Inc. Capital Improvements $21,000.00
Jazz PA Marketing $3,000.00
Music at Penn’s Woods Marketing $1,500.00
Penn State Centre Stage Marketing $7,500.00
(The) Pennsylvania Centre Orchestra Marketing $5,000.00
Philipsburg Revitalization Corporation Marketing $10,000.00
The State Theatre Marketing $15,000.00
GRAND TOTAL   $269,500.00
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