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Accessible Traveler Grant Application

(Application submission is now closed)

DMO's can reapply for round 2 if applying for a new accessible project. Cannot be applied towards round 1 approved projects.

Pure Michigan Accessible Traveler Grant Application Q&A

Program Overview

On August 22, 2023, the Michigan Strategic Fund approved $1 million in federal Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) funds to address a critical need for the development of fully accessible local destination marketing organization (DMO) websites to meet the needs of the visually and hearing impaired and to conduct community accessibility audits.

The funds for the initiative are from the $10,307,393 EDA State Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation grant, allocated to Michigan in 2021 for statewide travel and tourism marketing and advertising efforts to help the travel industry rebound from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Program Goals

The goal of the Accessible Traveler Grant Application initiative is to allow Michigan’s DMOs to provide a more accessible experience to all users, increasing tourism and improving the development of Michigan’s economy.

Award Disbursement

Eligible applicants may request up to $100,000 per project, with a maximum of one application per organization.

The MEDC will disburse 50 percent of the approved award upon approval.  The remaining balance will be disbursed at the completion of the project with proof of performance.

Projects must be completed within 2 years. 

Round One Accessible Grant Awardees

Round Two Accessible Grant Awardees

Project Considerations

Recipients will be chosen via a competitive application process.

Travel Michigan will give consideration to regional distribution as well as the economically challenged communities; however, those communities with healthy economies may also apply.

DMOs may partner with local government and state entities to qualify for the community assessment grant.

Scoring Criteria

The MEDC will apply the following scoring criteria for this project: 

 

Accessible Website Development Scoring Criteria

Points (maximum)

1

Statement of Proposed Work

50

2

Applicant’s Communication Plan

20

3

Itemized Quote from Firm Recognized for Building Accessible Websites

20

4

Financial Stability

10

 

TOTAL

100

 

 

Accessible Community Audit Scoring Criteria

Points (maximum)

1

Statement of Proposed Work

50

2

Applicant’s Communication Plan

20

3

Itemized Quote from Firm Recognized for Conducting Accessible Audits

20

4

Financial Stability

10

 

TOTAL

100

 

Additional Awardee Responsibilities

  • Awardees must demonstrate how they will execute their plan and must select appropriate vendors. 
  • Awardees must provide documentation supporting their ability to handle the grant’s 50 percent match.
  • Awardees must return any unused funds if not used within the project timeline.
  • Awardees must provide proof of performance.
  • Awardees must follow federal audit and reporting guidelines.

Eligible Projects

  • Accessible website development for the visually and hearing impaired.
  • Community Accessibility Audit for ADA Combability

Ineligible Projects

The following projects, to name a few, do not qualify for funding:

  • Accessible Boat/Kayak Launch
  • Track Chairs
  • Boat Launches
  • Wheelchair Lifts
  • Beach Ramps
  • Public Park Playgrounds
  • Air-Quality Infrastructure
  • Transportation Infrastructure
  • Universal Design Infrastructure Updates
  • Accessible Fishing Pier
  • Accessible Viewing Area
  • Adaptive Downhill Skiing & Snowboarding
  • Floating Chairs
  • Adaptive Equipment
  • Assistive Equipment
  • Barrier Free Entrance
  • Paved and/or Hard Packed Surface
  • Shuttle Service
  • Wheelchair Accessible Parking

Resources

Resources for building accessible websites (or making existing sites accessible), you may like to contact the following organizations that have worked with various MEDC projects:

  1. Miles – a travel marketing organization specializing in WACAG and ADA compliance for websites they develop.   
  2. Deque – offers compliance reviews for existing sites as well as training and tools for reviewing and editing or updating sites. 
  3. Chris Knapp – offers accessibility consulting services.
  4. Able Eyes – offers video modeling. The video modeling allows travelers to see the establishment and the layout prior to being on site. 
  5. Wheel the World – an online booking platform for travelers with disabilities and seniors to travel the world. By digitizing the accessibility information and a specialized user experience, the company allows users to book hotels and tours that match their accessibility needs.

Project Timeline (Round 1)

August 22, 2023

Application Round Announced

August 22, 2023

Applicant Q &A Window Opens

September 5, 2023

Q & A Window Closes

September 12, 2023

MEDC Posts Q & A Answers on Travel Industry Website

October 3, 2023

Application Submission Opens

October 30, 2023

Application Submission Closes

January 26, 2024

Notify Approved Grantees

November 10, 2025

Projects Completed

 

Project Timeline (Round 2)

March 4, 2024

Application Round Announced

March 4, 2024

Application Submission Opens

April 5, 2024

Application Submission Closes

May 21, 2024

Notify Approved Grantees

November 10, 2025

Projects Completed

 

Application Submission

You may submit proposals using the application link below between March 4, 2024, and March 29, 2024, to:

Pure Michigan Accessible Traveler Grant Application Form

Applications submitted after 4:00 p.m. on March 29, 2024, will not be considered.

Applicants are encouraged to be as detailed as possible when providing responses to the following components.  

The MEDC will apply the following criteria for the grant evaluation:  

  1. Statement of Proposed Work

  2. Applicant’s Communication Plan

  3. Itemized Quote from Firm Recognized for Building Accessible Websites

  4. Financial Stability

Questions

Applicants may submit questions at [email protected], subject line: Accessible Traveler Grant Questions. (Please see Q&A below)

Pure Michigan Accessible Traveler Grant Application Q&A

Please Note:

This site will be updated frequently throughout the open application process.