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    Syracuse Festivals Fund

The Syracuse Festivals Fund was established to provide support for festivals and events that were negatively impacted by the pandemic. Festivals and event programming contribute to a vibrant community and enhance the platform on which a variety of cultures and generations are able to connect and explore the spaces around them. By bringing communities together, we are able to contribute to a vibrant city center and surrounding community, alive with arts, entertainment and cultural experiences. This creates a destination that is attractive for residents, employees, employers and visitors by activating public space, improving quality of life, and enhancing attractions to support retention and new interest from existing and prospective employers.

The Downtown Syracuse Foundation will administer the Syracuse Festivals Fund, established by Mayor Walsh and the Syracuse Common Council using American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding, designed to reimburse organizers for eligible expenses associated with awarded festivals and events. Funding is intended for festivals and events that will be held from approximately May 2022 through May 2023. Applications will be reviewed based on a number of factors, including how the festival or event is likely to attract visitors/tourists, especially to distressed neighborhoods or commercial business corridors economically disadvantaged during the pandemic.

Festivals or events eligible for funding are intended to be celebratory events centered on a specific theme that are free for the public to attend (no ticket purchase is required or involved), held in public spaces, and provides entertainment and/or activities for patrons. 




To be eligible, organizations must:

  • Be a certified not-for-profit 501c3 or 501c4 entity
  • Submit applications at least three (3) months prior to the event/program date
  • Provide information such as date, location, and a description of the event. Please note, to be eligible for funding, the event must be held within the city of Syracuse. Events organized within Qualified Census Tracts (QCT) will be prioritized.
  • Provide information regarding how the event will be promoted, sources of additional funding, expenses and the grant amount requested from the Downtown Syracuse Foundation

In the application, applicants will be asked:

  • To quantify how the pandemic has impacted their event
  • Their projected attendance, and how they arrived at this estimate
  • How their event will be designed to encourage visitors to support local businesses based on location, programming, or partnerships
  • Sustainability: Applicants should provide input on whether they plan to host the event again, and how they are building capacity to operate future events


Application Deadline: Applications for the third round of funding will be accepted via mail or e-mail through 11:59 pm, Saturday, July 30.

Please send applications to Laurie Reed, via email or mail. Click here to download the application. This is a fillable PDF document. You may save it to your desktop, fill it out and email it to the Downtown Syracuse Foundation, or print it to fill out by hand and send it to the Downtown Syracuse Foundation by mail.

Email Address:

Mailing Address: 
Laurie Reed 
C/O Downtown Syracuse Foundation 
115 West Fayette Street  
Syracuse, NY 13202



Applications opened Tuesday, March 1. Event organizer(s) are encouraged to submit an application as soon as possible to be considered for funding support.

  • To be considered for Round 1 of funding, applications were due by 11:59 pm Monday, March 21 and Round 1 is now closed. 
  • To be considered for Round 2 of funding, applications were due by 11:59 pm on Saturday, May 21 and Round 2 is now closed. 
  • To be considered for Round 3 of funding, applications are due by 11:59 pm on Saturday, July 30.

Applications may be submitted for amounts between $3,000 and $20,000. The Downtown Syracuse Foundation will notify applicants and announce fund distributions within three weeks of the application deadlines noted above,