MADISON, Wis. (March 24, 2023) – The Department of Tourism awarded $489,431 in Joint Effort Marketing (JEM) grants in recent months. JEM grants provide partnership funding to help nonprofit Wisconsin organizations promote tourism, including 501(c)(6) organizations like convention and visitor bureaus and chambers of commerce.
“Wisconsin’s tourism industry has been one of the strongest indicators of our state’s economic recovery, and we’re proud to continue our efforts to ensure that recovery continues,” said Gov. Evers. “Tourism events like those hosted by these JEM grant recipients help engage the local community and attract new visitors to our state, bolstering local economic development in the short and long term as folks continue to choose Wisconsin as their preferred vacation stop every day of the week.”
In total, the Department awarded 28 grants to 25 organizations in November and February. The funds will help to market to a large cross section of interests and activities, including theatrical productions, music festivals and sporting events, in rural, suburban and urban communities throughout Wisconsin.
To illustrate, a JEM grant will aid the Viroqua-based Driftless Writing Center in marketing the inaugural Ridges & Rivers Book Festival, which will draw in regional and national authors for readings, workshops, book signings and other free events in April.
The November and February JEM grants were awarded to eligible new, existing and one-time, one-of-a-kind endeavors.
“Whether it’s a tournament-style painting competition in Wauwatosa, a collection of Rodin sculptures coming to Oshkosh or professional rodeo action in Lincoln County, these events are sure to generate local economic impact and create shared moments of joy,” said Tourism Secretary Anne Sayers. “The awardees embody the spirited, celebratory nature Wisconsin is known for, and I’m grateful to demonstrate our support for them through these JEM grants.”
JEM grants are awarded in five rounds throughout the year. The next deadline for organizations to apply is April 1.
November JEM grant recipients are as follows, listing the project, organization and award amount:
- American Players Theatre Presents Arts in the Woods — American Players Theatre — $26,500
- Art 64 — City of Wauwatosa — $22,086
- Bart at TMA — Trout Museum of Art — $18,675
- Bourbon, Bluegrass & Brews — River Falls Area Chamber of Commerce — $11,375
- Country Fest 2023 — Chippewa Falls Area Chamber of Commerce — $20,000
- Eau Claire Jazz Festival — Visit Eau Claire — $25,000
- GLASS Arts Festival — Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass — $14,000
- Pink Ladies Night — Barron County Pro Rodeo — $10,000
- Ride Across Wisconsin — Wisconsin Bike Fed — $19,050
- Ridges & Rivers Book Festival — Driftless Writing Center — $10,000
- Rock Fest 2023 — Chippewa Falls Area Chamber of Commerce — $20,000
- Rodin: Contemplation and Dreams — Paine Art Center & Gardens — $28,250
- Summerfest Tech — Milwaukee World Festival — $10,000
- World Premiere Wisconsin Festival — Forward Theatre Company — $39,550
February JEM grant recipients are as follows, listing the project, organization and award amount:
- Antigo Lion’s Roaring Raceway Championship Off-Road Race Event — Antigo Lions Club — $7,000
- Art Escape — Bayfield Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Bureau — $22,750
- Blossom of Lights — Robert W. Monk Gardens, Inc. — $15,000
- Cheese Capital Festival — Plymouth Chamber of Commerce — $15,006
- Eau Claire HmongFest — Visit Eau Claire — $20,000
- Harvest Moon Fest — Cassville Tourism — $6,525
- Heritage Maker’s Market — Manitowoc County Historical Society — $5,847
- 2023 Ironbull Red Granite Grinder — Ironbull — $14,209
- Northwoods Fall Ride — Tomahawk Regional Chamber of Commerce — $21,777
- Project North Festival — White Pine Community Broadcasting, Inc. — $9,738
- The Red Cedar Film Festival — Menomonie Main Street — $4,838
- Taste N Glow Balloon Festival — Wausau/Central Wisconsin Convention & Visitors Bureau — $39,550
- U.S. Open Chainsaw Sculpture Championship — Visit Eau Claire — $20,000
- Wisconsin River Pro Rodeo — Lincoln County Rodeo Association — $12,705
A JEM grant is often a catalyst for communities, giving them the means to tap into the power of travel to make a solid impact on their economy and create jobs for its residents. Eligible expenses include but are not limited to email marketing, print and broadcast ads, direct mail, public relations and billboards. For more information on the JEM program, deadlines and application materials, visit industry.travelwisconsin.com.
In fiscal year 2022, the Department funded 49 JEM projects, awarding $1.13 million statewide. JEM grant funds are available to nonprofit organizations for the promotion of Wisconsin tourism events and destinations. The state can fund up to 75% of a project's first-year advertising and marketing costs and provide support for second- and third-year projects with decreasing amounts for funding until projects become self-sustaining.
About the Wisconsin Department of Tourism
The mission of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism is to inspire travelers to visit Wisconsin. Because we believe in the power of exploration and travel, we work to market the state as a premier travel destination. By executing industry-leading marketing programs and establishing strategic partnerships, the Department plays a significant role in generating greater economic impact for Wisconsin through tourism.