Your View: Guest Column - Arts & Tourism Grants Program makes impact

Nov. 17, 2013 @ 07:31 PM

BY MELODY BURNETT

After 10 years of administering the High Point Convention and Visitor’s Bureau’s (HPCVB) Arts & Tourism Grants Program, it has become one of the favorite facets of my job description. Helping area nonprofits with their funding needs for their projects, as well as providing them with additional resources in the community is very worthwhile.
Being able to preview upcoming projects from the industry partners within the fiscal year is also a huge highlight. Many of the members of the HPCVB board of directors obviously feel the same way, since the Arts & Tourism Grants Committee is a very popular board sub-committee. Serving on this committee is truly a devotion of time, energy, and ethical process. The committee adheres to the HPCVB’s code of ethics policy to make sure those members with a conflict of interest with certain applicants refrain from voting. The organization truly values its code of ethics and transparency.
The 10 members of the board thoroughly review at least 30 applications each year. They conduct interviews with each applicant.  And ultimately, they go through the critical process of deciding which projects are most in-line with the guidelines of the program. It is not an easy task and requires a full two days of time.
The committee would love to give more or give to all applicants; however, the budget of the Arts & Tourism Grants Program is 15 percent of HPCVB’s projected occupancy tax receipts, which is dictated by the North Carolina General Assembly’s legislation of how the HPCVB markets High Point.
Senate Bill 148: “The City of High Point shall allocate 85 percent of its share of the net proceeds of the occupancy tax in fiscal year for activities and programs promoting and encouraging travel and tourism. The City of High Point shall allocate the remaining 15 percent of its share of the occupancy tax proceeds in a fiscal year for specific tourist-related events or activities, such as arts or cultural events, or for promoting, improving, constructing, financing, or acquiring facilities or attractions that enhance the development of tourism.”
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Arts & Tourism Grants Program. In addition to the 23 organizations that will be awarded grants this fiscal year totaling $210,625, the HPCVB has awarded 83 organizations grant funds totaling $4,216,557.
These funds are an investment in tourism in High Point as well as contribution to the quality of life in our city. The mission of the HPCVB is to promote and encourage economic development in High Point through travel and tourism. Over the past 30 years, the CVB has aided in the funding of festivals, fields, markers, exhibits, museums, facilities, equipment, concerts, trade shows, printing, web marketing, tournaments, meets, reunions, parades and memorials — all projects that complement the mission. To find out more on how your area nonprofit can participate in the Arts & Tourism Grants program and join in our mission to bring year-round visitors to High Point, visit www.highpoint.org.

Melody Burnett is executive administrator of the HPCVB.