Tourism Development Grant


The Oshkosh Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) allocates a percentage of its room tax revenue, to be reviewed annually by the Oshkosh CVB Board of Directors for the development, continuance or expansion of visitor attractions and amenities through a TOURISM DEVELOPMENT FUND.

General Funding Considerations

The Oshkosh CVB accepts grant applications for costs related to the tourism development of Oshkosh visitor attractions and amenities, in accordance with the Wisconsin State Statute 66.0615.

Applicable Projects

Projects that are funded under this program include the items below:

Capital Projects
a. New capital construction projects
b. Upgrades, enhancements, expansions to existing facilities
c. Permanent exhibit installations

Special Projects
a. Exhibitions or events
b. Signage (Wayfinding, On-site Attraction, Visitor Information Kiosk)


When considering an application to the Oshkosh Tourism Development Fund, the Grants Committee ranks applications on the following criteria:

Tourism Impact Criteria
  • Is this project consistent with the Oshkosh CVB priorities and objectives or does it support the area brand
  • Will it serve a substantial number of overnight visitors? Will it generate hotel room nights? How many?
  • Is the project interactive? Is it unique? What type of experience does it provide for the visitor?
  • Is this a new visitor attraction, or is it a substantial expansion of an existing attraction?
  • Is it open to the public?
  • Is it open year-round or at least 180 days a year?
  • Will it be available after 6 p.m. or on Sundays?
  • Will it provide a positive economic impact on the community?
  • Will it contribute to our ability to attract visitors and improve overall tourism assets in the Oshkosh Area?
  • Will this project be covered by media, and/or will the Oshkosh CVB be publicly recognized for participation or support?

Operational Criteria
  • Is it located within the Oshkosh CVB service area?
  • Does the organization have not-for-profit status or is it a government entity?
  • Is this a “bricks and mortar” project?
  • Is the project the result of a planning process that has had public involvement? Do others in the community understand and support the project?
  • Have the other funds necessary to the project already been raised, or are there well-developed plans for raising them?
  • Is there a solid plan to fund the project, ongoing operating costs and maintenance?
  • Are there established marketing plans?
  • Is there an established management/staffing structure for the project?

Grant Eligibility

To be eligible, applicants must be a recognized 501.c3 not-for-profit or a unit of government. Applicants must also be located within the Oshkosh CVB service area. Privately owned for-profit businesses are not eligible.

The Oshkosh CVB's Tourism Development Fund gives grants for the development of visitor attractions and amenities.
The grant will NOT support any of the following purposes:

  • Festivals and events, unless the high profile event can demonstrate a visitor draw from outside a 100-mile radius
  • Feasibility studies
  • Operating expenses
  • Annual fund drives
  • Endowment funds
  • Reimbursement for previously incurred expenses
  • Marketing or research
  • Travel
  • Expenses typically considered to be overhead

Funds Available

  • The Oshkosh CVB’s Tourism Development Grant will not be more than 50% of the total project cost.
  • Project cash match can come from the operating budget, or may be secured from other grants, donors, sponsors, or other sources.
  • Grant funds may not be spent on local marketing or for operational costs that would be incurred even without the project.

Payment of Grants

  • New and upgraded capital projects and permanent exhibit grants will be paid upon documented completion of the project or per a specific payment schedule outlined in the grant application.
  • Exhibits and Events grant recipients will receive 70% of the funds when needed to pay for exhibit costs. The remaining 30% will be paid after the exhibit or event is over and a post-exhibit/event report has been submitted to the Tourism Development Committee.
  • Tourism Development Grants must supplement, not replace, existing state, federal and local financial commitments.

Application Deadlines

March 1 | June 1 | September 1 | December 1

Every grant application will be considered on its own merits and it is within the Grant Committee’s authority to approve or deny any grant for any reason, in accordance with the Wisconsin State Statute 66.0615.

Applicable Project Definitions

New Capital Projects

Bricks & Mortar Projects. Funds can be used for:
a. Real estate acquisition
b. Construction
c. Architectural and engineering costs
d. Upgrades, enhancements and/or expansions to existing facilities

Permanent Exhibit Installations

Funds can be used to establish exhibits that may stay for a period of months or years but will continue to be large tourism magnets or have the potential to generate long-term publicity, bringing new visitors into the area. Generally, these exhibits will be unique to the area or showcase something unique about the area.

Exhibitions or Events

Funds can be used for high profile temporary exhibits or events that can draw visitors from outside a 100-mile radius. Exhibits or events considered for funding under this program will meet the following criteria:

  • Exhibits will be installed in the Oshkosh Area for a period of no less than 8 weeks and preferably 12 weeks or more.
  • They will generally be exhibits that are not available elsewhere in Wisconsin.
  • Events must occur within Winnebago County.
  • Events, if a single day, must demonstrate a large overnight draw to be considered.
  • Exhibits and events should be large and exciting enough to attract visitors from at least 100 miles away and have the potential to generate overnight stays in the Oshkosh Area.
  • Exhibits and events need to generate media attention in the Oshkosh area and beyond.
  • Exhibits and events will be hosted by one or more not-for-profit organizations with adequate personnel and resources to:
    • Market the exhibit or event outside the region
    • Present the exhibit or event attractively
    • Ensure a positive visitor experience
  • Exhibit or event organizer has formed partnerships with one or more other tourism businesses to provide a larger visitor experience.

Preference will be given to new and unique events or the substantial expansion of existing events.

How to Apply

Step 1: Review the Guidelines
Before starting the application process, review the details and guidelines for the grant .
Step 2: Discuss the Potential Grant Project
Schedule a meeting with Amy Albright, to go over the project details and make sure it is a good fit, before moving forward with the application process.

Step 3: Complete Online Grant Application
Please be aware, grants are reviewed quarterly. Deadlines are: March 1, June 1, September 1 & December 1

Step 4: Review Process
All grant applications will be reviewed based on tourism and operational criteria by the Tourism Development Committee. During this process, you may be contacted for more information.

Step 5: Grant Decisions are Made
You will be notified by email if your organization received funding, or if funding has been denied.
Need more help?
Contact our office at (920)303-9200