Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Tourist Council Offering Grants for Super Bowl Events

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Tourist Council Offering Grants for Super Bowl Events

Article excerpt

Byline: Drew Dixon, Shorelines staff writer

The Super Bowl in Jacksonville is a little more than a year away, but St. Johns County non-profit organizations can cash in soon if they are planning an event around the date of the big game.

The county Tourist Development Council announced this week it's offering up to $50,000 in grants for any non-profit group that holds an event in the two weeks prior to Super Bowl XXXIX, set to take place at Alltel Stadium on Feb. 6, 2005. And TDC officials are hoping northeast St. Johns County jumps into the fray.

"During the Super Bowl, we want to make sure that we have the events that are going to create the publicity opportunities, if you will, that will help us define the area," said council Executive Director Glen Hastings.

The tourist council has budgeted about $250,000 to help fund events during the Super Bowl season. But recipients must meet certain criteria, Hastings said.

"The criteria, one of the most important things is how it enforces or reinforces positive images," he said. "Those images are the beaches, golf, history and the ecotourism stuff. If it's a festival based on one of those types of activities, it's more likely to receive consideration."

He stressed non-profit doesn't mean just charity.

"Some of those things we might be submitting for official sanctioning by the NFL, so they might have to be associated with a charity. But ours is based simply on marketing," he said.

Applicants could range from chambers of commerce to the Ponte Vedra Beach Cultural Center, Hastings said.

"It has to be any of the 501-C [non-profit tax status] categories and they have to have proof of their IRS status," Hastings said.

The business community of St. Johns County is already buzzing with anticipation about the Super Bowl because the two participating teams will be staying at the Marriott at Sawgrass Resort and Renaissance Resort at the World Golf Village.

Hastings said that's all the more reason Ponte Vedra Beach and Palm Valley non-profit organizations should get involved.

"We'll probably have more people apply from this part of the county in St. …

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