City of Racine grant programs for new and existing businesses

Brie Wright – What’s Up Racine

City of Racine Grant and Loan Programs

The City of Racine offers several grants to assist with development costs.  These grants are in the form of matching funds, which reimburse your approved costs upon project completion.  Be sure to get in touch with staff before beginning your project, as all proposed work must be evaluated and accepted by a committee or staff prior to beginning construction.  The grants require that very specific criteria must be met in order to receive reimbursement. In addition to city-sponsored grants, a number of our partner organizations, including the Uptown and Douglas Avenue Business Improvement Districts, offer grant programs of their own.

City of Racine Commercial Building Façade Grant Program

The City of Racine’s Façade Grant Program provides financial assistance to commercial property owners interested in renovating the major street faces of their buildings. The program was established in 2003 to enhance the physical appearance of some of Racine’s commercial corridors. Since then, it has provided more than $890,000 in grant funds, leveraging more than $4 million in projects.

The program provides matching funds of up to $10,000 to commercial property owners to assist them in restoring their building façades. For information on how to apply and program requirements, please contact the Department of City Development at (262) 636-9151.

City of Racine Commercial “White Box” Grant Program- EXPIRED DECEMBER 30, 2019

In addition to the long established Façade Grant Program, the City of Racine initiated the White Box Grant in 2017 to assist with interior improvements to vacant commercial buildings over 50 years old in an effort to encourage reinvestment in these structures. The program had great success, and funding was nearly depleted within the first six months, so the city reaffirmed its commitment to revitalizing Racine’s traditional commercial areas with additional funding being allocated to the program. Eligible projects could receive a potential city match valued at up to $20,000 per project. The White Box Grant Program was funded until the end of 2019.

START (Supporting Tourism Allocation of Room Tax) Grant Program

The City of Racine has established the START Grant to provide financial assistance to non-profit or not-for-profit organizations that operate events, activities or programming, which will likely result in tourists or visitors from outside the local area coming to the City of Racine. This grant can pay for costs associated with these events, including activities related to labor, equipment, security, promotional support, signage and other eligible expenses. This program utilizes revenue generated from the City Room Tax of eight percent of gross receipts levied on the retail furnishing of rooms and lodging within the city, consistent with Section 66.75, Wis. Statutes.

City of Racine Microenterprise Loan- Applications and Supporting Documents Are Due by 4:30pm March 31, 2020   Expired March 31, 2020.

The Micro Fund is an economic development activity funded through the City of Racine’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) annual allocation from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The City of Racine Micro-Enterprise Revolving Loan Fund (‘Micro Fund’) is a financing product designed to benefit City of Racine small business owner-operators with low or moderate income households. The Micro Fund targets businesses with five (5) or fewer employees, and addresses disparities in minority lending and business ownership in Racine. Applications and all supporting documentation must be submitted to the Department of CIty Development by 4:30pm on March 31, 2020.


Contact the Racine Business Concierge.