SANDUSKY, OHIO, October 23, 2023 --- A popular grant program is available for the purpose of assisting Erie and Ottawa County organizations and businesses in developing projects that will attract and engage visitors and residents, serve and educate regional tourism partners, and generate economic growth for the community through travel and tourism development. The Shores & Islands Ohio Destination Development Grants will be awarded to Erie and Ottawa County organizations again in 2024 and are in addition to the organization’s sponsorship grant programs which will also continue. Over the past two years, more than $990,000 in Destination Development Grants have been distributed to 97 different local businesses to help them better serve their customers. 

The eligibility of projects and perimeters of the grant process have been modified from previous years to allow for increased participation and value to the grantees and wider region. Eligible grant recipients must be a partnering business/organization with Shores & Islands Ohio and could include, but are not limited to, local governments, for-profit enterprises, and non-profit organizations. Organizations with active projects funded through the Destinations Development Grant are not eligible to apply until the previously funded project is complete and all requirements have been fulfilled.

Projects should align with Shores & Islands Ohio’s mission and strategic plan and increase the likelihood of visitation from outside the area. Partnerships that bring together local and regional organizations, economic development and/or government organizations and tourism-related businesses will be looked upon favorably, as will public/forward-facing projects including: placemaking improvements, exterior beautification, new signage, murals on buildings, or revitalization/restoration. Some grants require at least a 50% match while others provide full project funding. The full grant application provides details on eligible and ineligible projects.

Informational meetings detailing the grant, eligibility, application process, and reporting requirements will be held at both Shores & Islands Welcome Centers in November. Interested parties are encouraged to join one of these meetings and can attend at any location, regardless of county of origin.

  • Thursday, Nov 2, 2023 at 9 am and 2 pm - S&IO East (125 E. Water St., Sandusky)
  • Tuesday, Nov 7, 2023 at 9 am and 2 pm - S&IO West (770 S.W. Catawba Rd., Port Clinton)
  • Wednesday, Nov 15 at 9 am - S&IO East (125 E. Water St., Sandusky)
  • Wednesday, Nov 15 at 2 pm - S&IO West (770 S.W. Catawba Rd., Port Clinton)

Application proposals are being accepted now and will be due by 12 pm on Wednesday, January 31, 2024. Grant finalists will be notified by March 1, 2024, with finalist meetings taking place from March 4-15, 2024. For more information on the grant process or to receive an application, please contact Shores & Islands Ohio Destination Development Director, Amanda Smith Rasnick, at or 419.625.2175.




Shores & Islands Ohio is the Midwest’s favorite getaway. This coastal destination boasts 152 miles of Lake Erie shoreline, the best fishing on the Great Lakes, welcoming communities, rich history, a wine trail, and an abundance of family-friendly attractions. World-famous Cedar Point Amusement Park calls it home, along with Kalahari Resorts & Conventions, other indoor and outdoor water parks, animal parks, sports venues, and more. Visitors enjoy ferries and cruises to Put-in-Bay, Middle Bass, and Kelleys Island. One of the country’s best areas for spring and fall bird migration, the area is overflowing with natural beauty and opportunities for outdoor recreation. More at


Media Contact:
Jill Bauer, Public Relations Manager
Shores & Islands Ohio
Phone: 419.625.9495