Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development

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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 Fee Relief Fund, a $3 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 outdooor special events to apply for financial assistance to cover event expenses.  Approved applications can either receive support through one of the following ways:  

  1. Partial or full coverage of fees and services incurred by the event from the following DC Government agencies (paid through direct payment from DMPED to the agency): 

  • Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) 
  • Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA)  
  • Department of Health (DOH) 
  • Department of Parks & Recreation (DPR) 
  • Department of Public Works (DPW) 
  • Department of Transportation (DDOT) 
  • Fire and EMS Department (FEMS) 
  • Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) 

     2. Financial support of Non-DC Government agency expenses through the issuance of a grant. Eligible expenses include: space rental, staging, tenting, audio/visual, lighting, on-site staffing, marketing, event planning services, speakers/entertainment, equipment rentals, event design, security, internet, and electricity​.  

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

  • The outdoor event must occur between October 1, 2021 – September 30, 2022.
  • Event must have at least a component that is free and open to the public.
  • Event must celebrate the culture of DC or be able to demonstrate that the event will have a 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.

All eligible events will need to meet the following requirements:

  • All events must be approved for a DCRA 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, 2021 – September 30, 2022, based on the availability of funds. Applications must be submitted at least 45 days in advance of the event for events occurring November 15, 2021 and later.

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