Shelbyville Tourism Grant

Program Guidelines

The Shelbyville-Bedford County Chamber of Commerce Division of Economic Development and Tourism has established the Local Tourism Grant Program for the purposes of promoting tourism and events within, or otherwise attracting overnight nonresident visitors to Shelbyville and Bedford County (note: Bedford County refers to all municipalities and communities lying within the county borders). This program will provide funding towards programs and events that exhibit positive tourism potential to the community. The provision of these funds will assist qualified organizations with the promotion of tourism activities that directly increase overnight stays and create a positive image and build publicity for Shelbyville and Bedford County.

The following guidelines are provided to assist and guide you through your application for a local tourism grant through the Chamber of Commerce Division of Economic Development and Tourism. (References to the Chamber throughout this document refer to the Shelbyville- Bedford County Chamber of Commerce Division of Economic Development and Tourism)


The purpose of the Shelbyville-Bedford County Chamber Local Tourism Grant program is to promote our community as a travel destination to potential visitors and increase overnight stays. In attracting visitors to Shelbyville and Bedford County, this program positively impacts the vitality of our area and contributes to the economic growth of the local tourism industry. The Chamber has provided this program to provide support for local tourism programs, attractions and events that will enhance the marketing of our community to visitors.

Increased hotel occupancy and visitor travel into and throughout our community positively impact the economic vibrancy of our area and support our local economy.


Applicants to the Local Tourism Grant Program must be organizations seeking to produce and promote a clearly defined festival, program or event that promotes tourism and conventions within, or otherwise attracts overnight nonresident visitors to Shelbyville and Bedford County.


The Chamber local tourism grant program is a reimbursement grant program. Grant funding will only be issued upon presentation of invoices for goods or services or paid receipts. Applicants must submit for payment or reimbursement through the use of a reimbursement form along with an invoice or proof of payment to receive grant funds.


  1. The overall budget for a particular event or promotion must accompany the application in the format provided through the grant application.
  2. The event or some portion thereof must occur within the limits of Bedford County.
  3. Projects must promote Shelbyville and Bedford County as a destination by promoting local dining, shopping, attractions and lodging.
  4. The Chamber recommends a maximum funding level for any single funding request not to exceed 25% of the organization’s total event funding during any single grant cycle. Any requests for funding in excess of the recommended maximum funding level must be accompanied by an explanation stating the reasons supporting such a request.
  5. A representative from the sponsoring group applying for grant funds must attend the application review meeting held by the Shelbyville-Bedford County Chamber of Commerce Division of Economic Development and Tourism.
  6. All grant fund awardees are encouraged to purchase goods and services in Shelbyville and Bedford County whenever possible.
  7. Events and organizations that have not previously received local tourism grant funds and original and first-time promotions of their kind for the organization are encouraged to apply.


The Chamber will consider factors such as the type and scope of the applying organization or project, the applicant’s resources, the impact of the project, the timetable, the number of applications received, and the amount requested when evaluating grant applications.

Additional considerations regarding the grant award follow below:

  • The grant committee may choose to fund a portion of any request based on availability of funds.
  • The committee may not support event/attraction advertising outside the area for an event/attraction that has shown a decrease in attendance over the past year(s).
  • The Chamber reserves the right to make adjustments to projects as necessary to coincide with grant guidelines. If the total amount of requested grant funds exceeds the total amount of funds available, the Chamber may prioritize grant awards or adjust funding levels. The Local Grant Program is not intended to be a  continuous source of funds for a particular attraction or event year after year. Applicants submitting the same qualified projects year after year may receive a lower percentage of funding or possibly no funding at all. Applicants who file projects yearly are encouraged to consider new promotions or new approaches to support or upgrade their event.
  • The Local Tourism Grant is geared primarily toward funding projects submitted by governmental entities and not-for-profit organizations. Organizations may file joint projects.
  • Any entity receiving Local Tourism Grant funds shall not knowingly disburse grant funds for payment of services rendered or awards to elected officials, employees, immediate family members or owned business entities. The Chamber reserves the right to withhold grant payments or require reimbursement of grant funds not in compliance with Board Policy.

All events must show the potential to generate overnight hotel stays and should include Shelbyville and Bedford County hotel, motels and inns in their promotion. Applications will be assessed considering the following:

  1. Ability of the event to attract overnight visitors in past years.
  2. Ability of the event to grow over two or more years.
  3. Food, beverage and retail expenditures by out of market visitors and the extent to which the event provides economic opportunities for Shelbyville and Bedford County businesses.
  4. Ability of the event to project a positive image of Shelbyville and Bedford County and to increase the visibility of our community’s tourism, attractions, and events.


The Shelbyville-Bedford County Chamber of Commerce Division of Economic Development and Tourism annually allocates a certain amount of funding towards the tourism grant program. Grant awards for returning programs will be made once a year. To be considered for repeat funding, an application for returning programs must be received on or before the application deadline established each year. New applicants are encouraged to apply along with returning applicants or as soon thereafter as practicable. In order to remain eligible for grant funding, proposed activities must not be initiated prior to approval by the Chamber.


A project is considered ineligible if it does not contribute to the overall intent of bringing additional tourists and visitors into Shelbyville and Bedford County and general increased lodging and tourism revenues.


A post-event summary shall be completed on the forms provided by the Chamber within 90 days of completion of the event. Failure to submit a post-event summary or the submission of an incomplete summary may affect the applicant’s ability to receive future grant funding. Post-event summaries shall include:

  1. Estimated attendance and hotel room nights generated and a description of the method used to estimate attendance.
  2. Summary of advertising placed to promote the event. Include examples of event marketing pieces and advertisements.
  3. General assessment of the event, which addresses the success of the event and any concerns or recommendations for changes.
  4. Comparison between the expected and actual outcomes of the program.
  5. Description of the organization’s long term plans for funding of this project or event.