Willamette Valley :

WVVA Competitive Grant Program

In the 2017-2019 Biennium the Willamette Valley Visitors Association established a competitive granting program. The program was aimed at providing funding for Willamette Valley stakeholders to lead their own projects that fall under the following key initiatives. The below iniatives are also goals we try to achieve in our implementation of the RCTP scope of work so there is shared value in the grant projects. The key initiatives are taken right out of the grant guidelines (modeled after the Travel Oregon grant guidelines).


  1. Maximize the economic return on public and private investments in Willamette Valley
  2. Drive off/shoulder season-oriented travel from the Willamette Valley’s key domestic and international markets by aligning and optimizing local opportunities
  3. Develop destination-based products that are in concert with the Willamette Valley’s natural environment, support the stewardship of the state’s resources and its rich history
  4. Tie into one of WVVA’s marketing pillars:
    • Wine Events
    • Wine + Culture
    • Wine + Food
    • Wine + Family
    • Wine + Outdoors
    • Wine + Farm
  5. Provide strategic industry professional development and training opportunities
22 Grants Funded
$251,706 Funding Provided


Over the course of the biennium, WVVA funded 22 grants for a total of $251,706 in region supporting stakeholder driven projects. Projects ranged from destination development, marketing efforts, way-finding signage and website optimization.

City of Harrisburg

Pacific Northwest Marathon

Grant Amount: $10,000 Total Project Costs: $56,108.80

The City of Harrisburg was the new home for the Pacific Northwest Marathon, half marathon 5k and Health and Fitness Expo in September 2018. Funds were used to market the new home and race route.

Key Successes

  • Increased participation in the race
  • Harrisburg schools recruited a number of volunteers to help with the race and have committed to do this for future years
  • Brought a professional runner from Kenya for their first USA visit

KPIs/Return on Investment

  • More than doubled race participation from 2017, from 350 participants to 850
  • Continued yearly participant ratio from outside of the state of 30%
  • Had several race participants from out of country
We are now seen locally as a big player in our industry rather than a small start-up.
David Cragun, Race Director

Eola-Amity Hills AVA

Grant Amount: $10,000 Total Project Costs: $22,007.43

Production of a promotional video series highlighting the many fun ways visitors can travel to the AVA to taste wine, cellar season tasting as well as the other great stops within their AVA’s wine country.

Key Successes:

  • Creation of photo and video assets to be used by the AVA and all its members
  • Social media training to members on how to use the assets properly
  • Research for filming locations helped the association realize how many great assets they have that they didn’t know about.
    • It also allowed the group to work closer with their members to better serve them in marketing efforts in the future

KPIs/Return on investment:

  • 5 short video clips highlighting the unique features of the Eola-Amity Ava
  • Strategic marketing campaign that leverages AVA partners to get more exposure via social media
  • Tracking of Google analytics and social media engagement
The grant funds provided us a platform for informing, educating, exciting and inviting tourists to experience the Eola-Amity AVA/wine country via creating a series of short videos highlighting our wine region and its unique amenities. The videos and accompanying strategic marketing campaign, have fostered a more cohesive, teamwork attitude towards marketing with our AVA that was much needed and has opened doors to working with local partners to cross-promote our region.
Lauren Fuhrman-Burch, Executive Director, Eola-Amity Winegrowers Association
Gilbert House Children’s Museum

Website Refresh and SEO Campaign

Grant Amount: $2,500 Total Project Costs: $3,612.07

Updating the outdated Children's Museum website, refreshing their website with SEO analytics and implementing SEO training to increase website traffic.

Key Successes:

  • Increase in membership and summer camp sales in year-to-date comparison after website update and SEO plan implementation
  • The updated look of the website is very visual, allowing them museum to use photos from a previous project that highlights more diversity in the photography subjects
  • Community partnerships were created and strengthened with a ‘Family Friendly Things to Do’ page highlighting other Salem area businesses for visitors
  • An SEO guide was created to help guide whoever is in the Promotions Coordinator position at the Gilbert House to ensure this work continues beyond the current Promotions Coordinator.

KPIs/Return on investment:

  • 53% increase in Web sessions
  • 58% increase in new website users
  • 58% increase in organic traffic
  • 38% increase in Portland based web traffic
  • 482% in Seattle based web traffic
  • Increased revenue from memberships & summer camp sales
The grant award from Willamette Valley Visitors Association provided funds needed for transforming the website of Gilbert House Children’s Museum and increasing our organic traffic online. The new website has improved the Museum’s reputation and credibility, and provides an accurate and appealing platform to draw potential visitors to the museum and surrounding area. Our organization has greater tools for reaching a digital audience.
Samantha Bowdoin, Promotions Coordinator

In Progress

Fall grants are mid-way through their projects.

Albany Parks and Recreation

Pitching mounds have been purchased and used for Albany’s first ever youth baseball 10u and 12u tournament at Timber Linn and Bryant Park Softball Complexes. A 36-team tournament that ran on May 18 and 19, 2019.

Travel Dundee

Collaboration between Dundee and Newberg on the Wake Up in Wine Country video production for a social media campaign. Film production is in process as well as a planning meeting with area stakeholders for itineraries for the landing page of the campaign that highlights both areas.

City of Willimina

Working with Sheridan and Grand Ronde to design a cohesive west valley way-finding signage to attract more visitors to these three communities. A working group of the three jurisdictions is meeting regularly to create and implement the new signage plan.

Shelton McMurphey Johnson House

Currently about to print a state-wide historic home brochure. In the process they learned of three new properties around the state with 34 historic home participating.

McKenzie Community Development

Working to install 37 history panels along the McKenzie highway. The community has really come together to bring photos, letters and bits history to contribute to McKenzie history Highway project.

Oregon Truffle Festival

Creation of a new Willamette Valley Wine + Truffles messaging has been crafted with input from WVVA and was beginning to be implementing in the 2019 festival and will continue moving forward.

Salem Downtown Association

Is in the RFP process of selecting a designer to create the downtown dining guide.

Willamette Riverkeeper

Published a new poster for Willamette Greenway 50-year anniversary. Logistics are being finalize for a late July/early August river float with a live stream of paddler influencers who will highlight water trail features.

Willamette Valley Sustainable Foods Alliance

Created ads for local products and the South Willamette Valley Food Trail that will be on the display at the Eugene Airport.

Moving Forward

The Willamette Valley Visitors Association will continue its granting program but is looking at guideline and program changes to better assist Willamette Valley stakeholders.

Back to Home Next Investment
You are currently viewing legacy content. To view the most current Biennium in Review, please click here.