Alexandria Marketing Fund Application and Guidelines

The Alexandria Marketing Fund is a grant program providing seed money in the form of matching funds for new and innovative marketing programs. The Fund also provides support for the expansion of ongoing or pre-existing programs.

Page updated on Oct 2, 2019 at 3:41 PM

Alexandria Marketing Fund image


As of July 1, 2017, the Alexandria Marketing Fund application was closed and no new grants will be awarded.

If you have questions or would like more information regarding the Marketing Fund or previously funded projects, please contact the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership at (703) 739-3820.

The Fund seeks to support marketing programs that demonstrate how they will become financially self-sustaining over time. 

The Marketing Fund is administered by the Alexandria Marketing Fund Committee. City Council appropriates monies for the fund on an annual basis and the Alexandria Marketing Fund Committee reviews and approves applications for funding.

The Marketing Fund Coordinating Council provides advisory support to the Marketing Fund Committee, providing preliminary application review and feedback to applicants as well as to the Marketing Fund Committee.

Marketing in Alexandria 101 Workshop Presentation

In September 2012, the Alexandria business community, nonprofit organizations, and community organizations gathered at a workshop, "Marketing in Alexandria 101," presented by experts in the advertising, branding, promotion, and technology fields who serve on the Marketing Fund Committee. Marketing in Alexandria 101 Presentation.

Goals of the Alexandria Marketing Fund

  • Foster new and innovative marketing projects that enhance the long-range marketing priorities of the City and that will become self-sustaining projects, independent of Marketing Fund support.
  • Encourage collaboration on marketing initiatives among Alexandria civic, non-profit and business organizations.
  • Increase awareness of Alexandria's diverse retail, dining, hospitality, cultural attractions and other businesses among audiences including residents and visitors.
  • Generate additional business sales and tax revenues in Alexandria.

How to Apply

The Alexandria Marketing Committee reviews applications three times per year. Application deadlines and review dates are provided below. To submit an application, potential grantees must submit their proposals using the  Alexandria Marketing Fund Online Application Form . (To save time and minimize errors, applicants are urged to review this preview application and budget form before completing the online submission form. Applicants may consider using the preview form to compose their applications by using a word processing program and cutting and pasting their answers into the online application form).

The full process is as follows (Applicant steps are shown in bold):

  • Organizations interested in applying for funds are required to contact Marketing Fund staff before submitting a proposal. Contact Jackie Reilly at  or 703.652.5340.
  • Applicant submits application. The City's Office of Communications & Public Information receives the applications and sends them to both the Marketing Fund Committee (MFC) and the Marketing Coordinating Council (MCC) for preliminary review.
  • The Marketing Coordinating Council holds its initial review meeting, discusses feedback from the MFC/MCC and, as soon as possible, shares the feedback with the applicants.
  • Upon receiving preliminary feedback on their application, applicants are then encouraged to submit an addendum to their application, if necessary, before the Committee Review Meeting Date. A specific date will be provided to applicants for each cycle to allow the MFC ample time to review any submitted addenda.
  • Applicants must attend the Committee Review meeting. At this meeting they will make a five-minute presentation to the Committee and be available to answer questions about the application to ensure that the Committee has adequate information for a funding determination. Following applicant presentations, the Committee will review applications and evaluate them based on the criteria included within this document. The Committee then makes a funding decision by majority vote of those in attendance. The Committee reserves the right to fund a project fully, partially or not at all.
  • Following grant approval, the new grantee must sign a letter of agreement and submit a letter of request for funding, details for which will be provided upon grant award.
  • Grantees must submit interim and final performance report(s) as required.

Application Deadlines and Review Dates

Grant Round Application Deadline Preliminary Feedback
Provided to Applicants

Committee Meeting Date

Meeting Location/Time
FY 2017,
Round 1
Thursday, August 25, 2016
 by Friday, September 2, 2016
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
City Hall, Sister Cities Conference
Room 1101, 8 a.m.
FY 2017, Round 2
Friday, January 13, 2017  by Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

City Hall, Sister Cities Conference
Room 1101, 8 a.m.  

FY 2017, Round 3

Friday, May 5, 2017  by Thursday, May 25, 2017 Tuesday, June 13, 2017

City Hall, Sister Cities Conference
Room 1101, 8 a.m.


Eligible Applicants and Projects

Applications may be submitted by non-profit organizations or groups of businesses interested in promoting visiting, shopping, dining or doing business in Alexandria. Only Alexandria-based organizations or groups may apply.

City agencies (defined as any agency under the direct control of an elected official; or which reports directly to the City Manager; or any board or commission where all its members are appointed by the Alexandria City Council) may not apply directly to the Marketing Fund; they may play a supportive role in a project proposed by an organization or group.

Eligible projects must meet the goals of the fund, defined above. Applications must demonstrate measurable ways in which funding will promote the economic vitality of the City and/or improve the quality of life for residents, businesses and visitors.

Grants will only be given for project costs approved in advance by the Alexandria Marketing Fund Committee, not for project expenses previously incurred.

Projects must be completed within 12 months of the award date.

Expenses Eligible for Fund Support

Only direct marketing or advertising expenses, which must be clearly delineated in the applicant's proposed budget, are eligible for Marketing Fund support. General operational costs must also be included in the budget, but will not be counted towards the total eligible for Fund support. In general, the costs of creating an event are not allowable; however, the costs associated with marketing an event are generally allowable.

Applicant Funding Responsibilities

Applicants must have secured funding at a ratio of least 1:1 for every dollar requested from the Marketing Fund. Applicants must show evidence of available funding for their project, detailing the various sources of their funding in the provided budget pro forma and providing written commitments from project partners. Secured funding may come from financial participation by additional project participants, through sponsorship, other organizational dollars, etc. If the applicant is already receiving City funding, those funds are not eligible to be considered as a source of organizational funds and therefore not eligible for matching.

An example of the 1:1 matching of funds follows:

Total Project Budget: $15,000
Total Project Marketing Budget $15,000
Applicant's funds raised from project participants or other funding sources $7,500
Maximum funds available for City match $7,500

If demonstrated commitments for the Applicant's required funds are not finalized by the date of application, applicants must note on the application cover sheet and in the written application a listing of a least 50% of the financial commitments for an application to be considered. Applicants will be given an additional 30 days (or date established by the Committee) to obtain remaining financial commitments or forfeit their grant award. Commitments must be presented to the Alexandria Marketing Fund staff. In-kind funding will be considered, though priority may be given to applications that demonstrate funding in cash form.

Repeat Funding Consideration

The Alexandria Marketing Committee gives preference to new, innovative marketing efforts and projects. However, increased or expanded marketing efforts that demonstrate innovation on previously funded projects – and their ability to become financially self-sustaining over time – may be considered. If and when considered, Marketing Fund grants may be made available in support of previously funded efforts; however, a grant award does not guarantee that similar requests will be awarded and no assumptions should be made about repeat awards.

If awarded at all, repeat funding will be provided in no more than a 1:1, 2:1, and then 3:1 ratio over a period of 3 funding requests, whereby the applicant must raise or contribute $1 of matched funds for every $1 requested from the Marketing Fund, and then with any second request for Fund support, $2 of matched funds for every $1 requested from the Marketing Fund, and with any third request for Fund support, $3 in matched funds for every $1 requested from the Marketing Fund.

Examples are as follows:

Year 1 Total Project Marketing Budget: $15,000
Matching Funds raised from project participants or other funding sources $7,500 1:1 matching funds required
Request for Fund Support $7,500

Year 2 Total Project Marketing Budget: $15,000
Matching Funds raised from project participants or other funding sources $10,000 2:1 matching funds required
Request for Fund Support $5,000

Year 3 Total Project Marketing Budget: $15,000
Matching Funds raised from project participants or other funding sources $11,250 3:1 matching funds required
Request for Fund Support $3,750

Reporting Requirements

Applicants receiving grants from the Marketing Fund must provide interim reports, and a final report is due within 30 days of the completion of the project. Final reports should describe the project and identify how well it met the goals and objectives of the Marketing Fund's contributions, including what measurements and evaluation process were used. Reporting guidelines and sample reports will be provided upon grant award.

Evaluation Criteria

The Alexandria Marketing Fund Committee evaluates applications on the following criteria:

  • Completeness of the application
  • Relevance to Marketing Fund goals and objectives
  • Level of innovation and/or expansion of past efforts
  • Quality/depth of plan to become a self-sustaining program or project without Fund support
  • Level of collaboration among different participating groups
  • Realistic and clearly articulated budget
  • Quality of the overall marketing plan including identification and appropriateness of the target audience
  • Quantifiable measures of success

Application and Budget Form Preview - Word

NOTE: To save time and minimize errors, applicants are urged to review this preview application and budget form before completing the online submission form. Applicants may consider composing their applications using a word processing program and cutting and pasting their answers into the Alexandria Marketing Fund Online Application Form.

Marketing Fund Committee

  • Rebecca Mullen, Chair, Higher Logic
  • Todd Coen, Huge
  • Kara Batt
  • Sheryl O'Keefe, PS/PS Digital  
  • Jim Dillon
  • Andrea Koslow
  • Mike Moran, ASIS International
  • Natascha Syré, Smithsonian Institution  

Liaison: Jackie Reilly, Alexandria Economic Development Partnership       

Marketing Fund Coordinating Council

  • Paul Smedberg, Alexandria City Council
  • Stephanie Landrum, Alexandria Economic Development Partnership, Chair
  • Lance Mallamo, Office of Historic Alexandria
  • Patricia Miller, former chair, Alexandria Commission for the Arts
  • Vito Fiore, Visit Alexandria
  • Andrea Blackford, Office of Communications and Public Information 

Fiscal Year 2017 Grants

  • Alexandria Wedding Showcase Committee -- Alexandria Wedding Showcase:$7,000 
    For marketing materials and advertising/PR Support for a wedding show held in February 2017. The purpose of the Wedding Showcase was to increase wedding volume in the city, which will have a positive economic impact on Alexandria vendors, venues, hotels, tourism and the wedding economy at large.
  • Del Ray Montessori School -- La Bella Strada Festival: $2,447
    To promote the neighborhood art festival through improved website design, social media marketing, and professionally designed and printed materials for local and regional distribution.
  • Old Town Boutique District -- GW Parkway Classic: $21,150
    To help OTBD brand Alexandria as a running destination and marketing the GW Parkway Classic Run to new runners, with a particular focus on bringing participants from more than 50 miles away to Alexandria for the event.

Fiscal Year 2016 Grants

  • Alexandria Stylebook -- Alexandria Stylebook Marketing Expansion: $22,000
    For expansion of Stylebook's marketing activities, and to facilitate the ability of the organization to focus on user data and mining analytics.

  • Northern Virginia Fine Arts Association – Spring Advertising Campaign to Expand Athenaeum Audience: $5,000
    For the organization's Spring Advertising Campaign, supporting costs to run three print ads and four online ads promoting the Athenaeum's exhibits to the greater Washington D.C. area.

  • Old Town Boutique District -- Boutiques Give Back: $17,715
    For the Old Town Boutique District's "Boutiques Give Back," a local cause-related marketing initiative.
  • Old Town North Community Partnership – Old Town North Thursday Farmers' Market Promotional Campaign: $1292
    To support marketing, PR, and social media costs for promoting the Old Town North Thursday Farmer's Market.

  • Port City Brewing Company – Craft Brewers Conference Alexandria: $6,852
    To support broader promotion of codes, visits to Port City, and day trips to Alexandria during the 2017 Craft Brewer's Conference at National Harbor. Funds will be spent on advertisements and marketing materials (banners, flyers, etc).

  • RunningBrooke – RunningBrooke and the Marine Corps Marathon: $4,475
    To fund the organization's Marine Corp Marathon (MCM)-related paid advertising, race-day shirts, training hats, promotional video, and mailing for the Visit Alexandria brochure and other materials to encourage participants and their families to stay in Alexandria during the MCM.

  • S&B Event Management: Alexandria Holiday Market: $5,900
    To support marketing activities associated with the second year of the Alexandria Holiday Market, including new tactics to focus advertising, increase attendance and cultivation of partnerships, and develop and implement a means to evaluation the event's success.

  • Torpedo Factory Art Center – National Harbor Ad Campaign: $6,500
    To help promote shopping and sightseeing at Alexandria's historical and cultural sites to convention goers and visitors staying in National Harbor.

  • UpCycle Creative Reuse Center – Alexandria Earth Day 2016/Reuse Alexandria Coalition: $4,050
    To support a strategy to unite and brand partner businesses and nonprofits as Reuse Alexandria and create a marketing campaign.

  • Old Town Boutique District – OTBD Ad Co-op: $12,560
    For marketing support of an ad co-op to provide member businesses the opportunity to do high-profile advertising at a low cost. 

Fiscal Year 2015 Grants

  • Alexandria Stylebook: $3,700
    To support the Alexandria Stylebook Fall Marketing Campaign.
  • Alexandria Stylebook Online Marketing Campaign: $5,250
    To support growing and expanding Alexandria Stylebook's target audience and help increase revenue in the City of Alexandria.
  • Art League – Data Driven Display and Facebook Campaign Management: $10,248
    To increase marketing efforts and student enrollment through a data-driven display and social media campaign management initiative.
  • Endurance Enterprises -- Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half-Marathon: $6,833
    To support marketing activities to promote the City as a lodging, shopping and dining destination for those attending the half-marathon.
  • International  Developer Education &Advocacy Alliance -- Code Kitchen and Big Android Meat & Greet $4,525           
    To support marketing of the 2015 Code Kitchen and Big Android Meat and Greet event, held in Alexandria.
  • Marathon Charity Cooperation –Alexandria Family Running Festival $5,379
    To support advertising for the Alexandria Running Festival in Runner's World magazine.
  • Old Town Boutique District – Regional Print and Online Advertising Campaign: $25,120
    To support regional print marketing activities in support of OTBD and its member retailers.
  • S&B Events – Alexandria's Holiday Market: $10,000
    For marketing activities associated with promotion of the inaugural Alexandria Holiday Market.
  • Torpedo Factory Art Center – Performing Arts Marketing Blitz: $10,148
    To support a marketing initiative to place ads in Playbills at performing arts venues in Northern Virginia.
  • West End Business Association (WEBA) – Food Truck Rodeo: $2,600
    To support promotion of the West End Business Association Food Truck Rodeo.

    Grants Awarded From FY 2012 to FY 2014