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Mayor Bowser Hosts Downtown Family Fun Day, Announces $19.6 Million in Grant Funding to Support Local Businesses

Monday, January 29, 2024
DMPED to Launch Streamlined Application Process for Local Businesses to Compete for Grant Funding

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) hosted a “Downtown Family Fun Day” at National Children’s Museum to highlight the District’s investments in supporting local businesses and creating family-friendly programming in Downtown DC. At the event, Mayor Bowser announced the inaugural recipients of the Family Fun Destinations Grant and kicked off the application period for an additional $19.6 million in grant funding to support DC-based businesses.

“We are very focused on bringing more people to Downtown DC, and experiences like these – where people can bring their kids, then walk to the White House or the Mall, or maybe just get back on the Metro, or go out to eat – this is how we do it,” said Mayor Bowser. “We are grateful for the organizations stepping up, applying for funding, and building out these fantastic attractions. DC is a great place to do business, and we are going to continue making it easier and more accessible for entrepreneurs to do business and support Downtown.”

The Family Fund Destination Grant program is funded by a $6.5 million grant to DMPED from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) and provides support to arts, cultural, or placemaking nonprofit organizations to develop or enhance family-friendly attractions Downtown that will drive foot traffic, offer a new experience to the surrounding neighborhood, and create positive economic impact.

The following family-friendly destinations are receiving conditional awards through the Family Fun Destination program:

  • National Children’s Museum
  • The National Building Museum
  • The Historical Society of Washington (at the DC History Center)
  • CityDance Productions (at Transformer Gallery)

“As the only museum in Washington, D.C. designed exclusively for young learners, National Children’s Museum is a unique resource for the region, providing playful, interactive experiences for children ages 0 - 12 and their families,” said Crystal R. Bowyer, president and CEO of National Children’s Museum. “We are grateful to Mayor Bowser and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development and honored to be a recipient of the Family Fun Destination Program Grant, which will support our efforts to continue to turn up the fun with new hands-on offerings as we bring more families downtown through access programs.”

Mayor Bowser also launched the application period for Round 2 of the Family Fun Destinations program and five other DMPED grant programs totaling nearly $20 million in funding to support local businesses across DC. This Fiscal Year, DMPED is streamlining how businesses apply for and are awarded grant funding. Competitive grants will be released in the same period, making it easier for local businesses to navigate the process and receive support during the application period. Applications for the majority of these programs open today, while applications for the Commercial Property Acquisition Fund will open Monday, February 5.

“Mayor Bowser’s investments in our local businesses are making Downtown a more fun and vibrant place and are supporting thriving neighborhoods across all eight wards,” said Nina Albert, Acting Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. “DMPED is focused on making it easier for business owners and entrepreneurs to access funding opportunities they qualify for and supporting them throughout the application process.”

DMPED-managed grant programs that will be offered as part of this new, streamlined application process include:

Downtown Recovery Grant Program, $3 million (new for FY24)

  • Supports businesses opening or expanding into a retail or commercial space that has been vacant for at least six months and is located in the DowntownDC or Golden Triangle Business Improvement District.

Great Streets Retail Small Business Grant, $2.55 million

  • Supports the transformation of 13 emerging commercial corridors into thriving and inviting livable, walkable, and shoppable neighborhood centers. The program awards up to $85,000 to eligible businesses for use towards renovating their place of business, purchasing new equipment, offering a new product or service, and creating more jobs.

Neighborhood Prosperity Fund, $3 million

  • Supports mixed-used, real estate, or retail development projects in targeted census tracts where unemployment is at 10% or higher. The grants provide necessary gap funding for the commercial component of development projects that will help create job opportunities and provide new neighborhood amenities.

Locally Made, $1.45 million

  • Supports local manufacturing businesses by providing funding dedicated to improving commercial properties designated for industrial use. The program is designed to grow the District’s local business economy through bolstering manufacturing and strengthening supply chains Districtwide.

Commercial Property Acquisition Fund, $6 million

  • Provides eligible businesses with down payment assistance of up to $750,000 or 25% of the sale price, whichever is less, for the acquisition of commercial property in the District. Businesses must be eligible to be an equity impact enterprise.

To learn more about DMPED’s funding opportunities, DMPED will host a “Grants and Grow Expo” on Monday, February 5, from 10 am – 4 pm at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library (901 G Street, NW).

To register, visit

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