Central Oregon :

Central Oregon Matching Grants Program

The Central Oregon Matching Grant Program (COMGP) was created to allow community DMO’s and qualifying regional non-profits the opportunity and the flexibility to set their own priorities and timelines for key Destination Development projects. Eligible non-profit grant projects align with the key initiatives striving to maximize the economic return on public and private investments in Central Oregon, drive year-round destination-oriented travel from key domestic and international markets, develop destination-based products that are in concert with the region’s environment and support resource stewardship, and provide strategic industry professional development and training opportunities.

27% Would like to increase visitation in off-peak seasons
100% State that resource limitation is a barrier to destination development
67% Seeking support for tourism management

Goals

100% of Community DMO’s have indicated a barrier to successful Destination Development is resource limitation. Stakeholder surveys indicate that 72% of respondents would like to increase visitation in off-peak seasons; with 67% of respondents seeking support for tourism management to preserve local assets.

The Central Oregon Matching Grants Program will provide the opportunity for both rural and urban assets and attributes of the region to be supported with resources from Central Oregon’s Regional Cooperative Tourism Program. The needs and priorities within the region are quite diverse from community to community. The region will support both large-scale and small-scale projects that result in ensuring existing commercial air service to the region is retained and additional non-stop routes are developed; balancing the seasonal influx of visitors; and providing strategic industry professional development and training opportunities.

Projects Funded

The inaugural biennium of COMGP for non-profits saw 18 organizational profiles created, with a total of 13 applications received. All applications were deemed eligible, having met all application qualifications, each in alignment with one or more COMGP Key Initiatives.

Fiscal Year 17–18

Sunriver Nature Center

$25,000 matching funds for their Campus Expansion and Modernization Project offering guests an attractive, welcoming and modern destination geared toward interactive and personal connections with our local environment.

Fiscal Year 17–18

High Desert Museum

$25,000 matching funds for their interdisciplinary exhibition Water Shapes the West, using art, science and history to explore one of Oregon's most crucial resources - water - creating a transformative visitor experience.

Fiscal Year 17–18

Central Oregon Film Office (COFO)

$10,000 for online media library expansion of Central Oregon's production-based destinations; a necessary tool demanded by filmmakers to utilize during their decision-making process.

Fiscal Year 17–18

In A Landscape (IAL)

Classical Music in the Wild / Sunriver Music Festival$15,000 matching funds for collaboration with IAL, created by and featuring classical pianist Hunter Noack, presenting classical music in spectacular and unusual landscapes in Central Oregon.

Fiscal Year 17–18

American Junior Golf Association (AJGA)

$10,000 towards bringing a national junior golf tournament at The Ridge at Eagle Crest, bringing 132 tournament golfers and their families to the Redmond area.

Fiscal Year 18–19

Airshow of the Cascades

$20,000 in matched grant funds for their Product Marketing and Development Project; drawing visitors from a greater distance through increased media quality and reach.

Fiscal Year 18–19

Central Oregon Film Office (COFO)

$20,000 in matched grant funds for exhibiting at the American Film Market Location Expo, showcasing Central Oregon locations to producers, directors, studio-professionals and filmmakers who may be interested in scouting Central Oregon for future film productions.

Fiscal Year 18–19

Discover Your Forest

$4,500 in matched grant funds for the creation of a suite of educational, interpretive Ranger Programs across the Deschutes National Forest for visitors of all ages.

Fiscal Year 18–19

Smokejumper & Wildland Fire Education Center

$17,500 in matched grant funds managed by Discover Your Forest towards a Capital Campaign fundraising feasibility study; including fundraising committee development and alignment, stakeholder interviews and a public presentation of a final feasibility report.

Fiscal Year 18–19

High Desert Museum

$25,000 in matched grant funds for their interdisciplinary exhibition Burning Man, using art, makers workshops, lectures and history to explore the role of public art to elevate the museum’s year-round visitor experience.

Fiscal Year 18–19

Sunriver Music Festival

$25,000 in matched grant funds, publicizing world-renowned pianist Olga Kern, in key Central Oregon targeted markets such as Phoenix, Coachella Valley and San Francisco; drawing audiences from greater distances to attend the festival.

Fiscal Year 18–19

In A Landscape (IAL)

Classical Music in the Wild / Sunriver Music Festival$35,000 in matched grant funds for doubling Central Oregon performances, including collaboration with the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Oregon, numerous regional industry partners, and working towards long-term strategies for enhancing cultural tourism in rural Central Oregon.

Fiscal Year 18–19

Newberry Event Music & Arts Festival to Defeat MS

$10,000 in matched grant funds for increased promotion and pre-event marketing of Newberry Event Music & Arts Festival; also increasing awareness of Central Oregon rural tourism region, Newberry Country.

Results

Fiscal Year 17–18

Sunriver Nature Center

In August 2017, SNCO completed the masterplan design with Steel and Associates Architects. SNCO publicly announced their fundraising campaign November 1, 2018 and has raised over $1,650,000, supplementing awarded $25,000 COMGP funds. With renovations breaking ground in fall 2019 for Learning Pavilion and Spring 2020 for the Observatory expansion. Renovation completion for campus wide improvements is targeted for fall 2021.

Fiscal Year 17–18

High Desert Museum

Leveraged COMGP funds allowed for expansion of commissioned artists and high-profile speakers for High Desert Museum’s “Water Shapes the West” interdisciplinary exhibition. High Desert Museum served as a resource for collaboration and developing a common language that empowered their commissioned artists and Museum curators to bring together art, culture and natural resources for “Water Shapes the West.” COMGP funds were also utilized for expanded marketing reach in regional magazines such as VIA, Statehood Media (1859 and 1889), and Portland Monthly magazines.

Fiscal Year 17–18

Central Oregon Film Office (COFO)

Successful completion of 51 new locations within Central Oregon and neighboring Rural Tourism Studio areas added on Reel-Scout.com for Central Oregon. The immediacy of the media library allows COFO to place images in front of key decision makers and introduce them to what we have available for a shoot. Since expansion of COFO’s media library, COFO has had high interest by Warner Bros. for youth reality show “KARMA”; kitchen competition reality show “Wildfire” and reality show “Ghost Hunters International”. “KARMA” was lost to another location, however “Wildfire” and “Ghost Hunters International” project conversations are still on going.

Fiscal Year 17–18

In A Landscape

Initially planned to support three Central Oregon concerts, the COMGP grant was expanded to include five concerts at Sunriver Resort, Smith Rock State Park, Fort Rock State Natural Area, PLAYA at Summer Lake, and The Suttle Lodge. Concerts took place early & mid-September, during the region’s shoulder season. These five concerts were part of the larger series of 22 concerts. IAL concerts took place early to mid-September, during the region’s shoulder season. IAL Survey Stats:

  • Five Central Oregon concerts served more than 1000 people
  • 57% of the pre-registered attendees travelled more than 50 miles to attend
  • Of that 57% who travelled more than 50 miles, 80% reported that the concert was the primary reason for their travel

Additionally, IAL concerts aired in a 6+ minute segment on September 19 on CBS This Morning.

Moving Forward

Key stakeholder feedback for the next biennium was that Destination Development is a high priority. Growth in awareness of COMGP and applicants for tourism related matching grants has grown since its inception, therefore additional resources have been dedicated to COMGP for FY19-21, more than $400,000.

Visit Central Oregon’s goal over the next biennium is to make strategic investments in community programs with the COMGP. By providing community outreach and education within the region to increase awareness of COMGP, assisting in developing compelling and competitive Destination Development matching grant projects and foster Central Oregon champions of tourism.

During FY17-19, Visit Central Oregon additionally facilitated RCTP Matching Grant resources for specific off-season Group/Conference and Meetings partner program development. The entire Grant Program was funded with a total of $90,250 for FY2017-19 for 16 projects, supporting Pronghorn Resort, Sunriver Resort, Tetherow Resort and Mt. Bachelor. Though successful for lead generation and supporting regional resort partners in new target markets, facilitating both COMGP Non-profit and Group Development matched grant programs simultaneously proved challenging for the organization, and some tradeshow efforts were duplicative with attending regional resort partners.

Evolved from regional resort partner feedback and demonstrating Visit Central Oregon’s continued alignment with our regional partners striving to develop region-wide, multi-night and/or off-season destination group, conference and meeting business, Visit Central Oregon will spearhead a Central Oregon delegation to exhibit at International Meetings Exchange (IMEX) America in September 2020. IMEX is America’s worldwide exhibition for incentive, meetings and events, where 4,000 qualified buyers engage with suppliers during educational seminars, face-to-face appointments and networking events.

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