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Special Event Relief Fund

Mayor Bowser and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) launched the Special Event Relief Fund, a $1.5 million investment to support events that celebrate the culture of the District of Columbia and support local communities. The Special Event Relief Fund allows organizers of festivals and outdoor special events to apply for financial assistance to cover event expenses. More information is here.


Opened: October 1, 2023
Closing: September 1, 2024

 Apply Here!

To be eligible for the Special Event Relief Fund, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • The outdoor event must occur between October 1, 2023 – September 30, 2024.

  • Events must be free and open to the public. Events that are ticketed, but include at least a component that is free and open to the public, may be eligible for partial fee coverage.

  • Events must celebrate the culture of DC or be able to demonstrate that the event will have significant economic impact on the District.

  • The main purpose of the event should not be to generate revenue or serve as a fundraiser for an organization.

  • The event must be committed to fostering an inclusive experience.

  • The event cannot be religiously affiliated in a way that excludes other faiths or forms of belief, or lack thereof.

  • The applicant must be the event organizer.

  • Events must receive DC Government services from at least one of the eligible agencies: MPD, FEMS, DPW, DDOT, DPR, DOH, ABCA, DLCP, DOB

All eligible events will need to meet the following requirements:

  • All events must be approved for a DLCP Special Events License. More information can be found here

  • If the event requires street closures of any kind, the event must be approved by the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA) Mayor’s Special Events Task Group (MSETG). More information can be found here.

The application can be accessed here.  Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis between October 1, 2023 – September 1 2024, based on the availability of funds. Applications must be submitted at least 30 days in advance of the event for events occurring November 15, 2023 and later.

Through the Special Event Relief Fund, DMPED may cover unpaid DC Government fees for special events (which may include permit fees, equipment rental, personnel costs, or other special event services) from the following agencies for approved events.

DMPED will pay these agencies directly and will not directly pay or reimburse the event organizer.

 For any inquiries regarding the Special Event Fee Relief Fund, please contact [email protected].