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A Fresh Face thanks to Olympia Downtown Alliance’s Microgrant Program

There’s nothing like a little pick-me-up to refresh your outlook, optimism, and perspective. With this in mind, the Olympia Downtown Association recently launched a  Placemaking Micro Grant Program, providing reimbursement grants to businesses looking for a post-pandemic boost.

Downtown Projects Manager Desiree Freeland says the project’s goal is to “breathe new life and a breath of fresh air after the last two to three years.” Starting summer 2022, the program “came about at the direction of the Association’s board and committee work through the strategic plan lens.” In conjunction with the plan’s focus, they worked with businesses on cultural community support, diversity, inclusion, and attracting more people to historic downtown Olympia.

The first cohort, which included 10 recipients, could apply for up to a $500 reimbursement grant. Monies were used in a variety of fresh, fun ways. Underhill Plants refreshed their new location at 117 Washington Street NE after a recent move. Linger Boutique placed a welcoming bench and flowers outside their storefront. Pizzeria La Gitana repaired a broken window and damaged artwork as well as adding exterior planter boxes. Olympia Computer added signage, Three Magnets Brewing advertised for upcoming events, the Puget Sound Estuarium refreshed their classroom setting, and Childhood’s End Gallery applied anti-etching and anti-graffiti film to their storefront windows.

“The Placemaking Micro Grant Program allows the Alliance to engage small businesses with a dose of financial support,” says Todd Cutts, Executive Director. “We are encouraged to see applications come in for this second round and look forward to seeing how business owners continue to make some magic using these resources.”

Two additional microgrant cycles are anticipated in 2023, and Freeland is happy to answer any questions about the project. Simply email dfreeland@downtownolympia.org or call the Alliance at 360.357.8948. The application process is simple and 100% online, so don’t wait!

Whether your splurge of choice is fancy coffee, a bouquet of seasonal flowers, new shoes, or a meal you don’t have to cook, it’s important to indulge. Little pick-me-ups keep us smiling and renew our motivation after a long, hard day. The Association’s Placemaking Micro Grants are a bright spot we can all enjoy when heading downtown for a treat.

The 2022 Placemaking Micro-Grant Program is made possible by funding from the Olympia Downtown Alliance. The program's goal is to provide seasonal opportunities for businesses to activate their spaces in a meaningful way that will positively affect the community. The next round of micro-grants, available to downtown businesses, opened on October 7. Learn more here.

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