City of Toledo Economic Development Announces Vibrancy Initiative Grant Programs

Friday, March 15, 2024

Applications are now being accepted for four Vibrancy Initiative grant programs. Eligible businesses and property owners can apply online until April 17, 2024.

The City of Toledo's Vibrancy Initiative is a comprehensive approach to revitalization that addresses building exteriors and vacant first-floor commercial interiors. It is designed to enhance the city’s vitality by supporting revitalization efforts that create jobs, reduce blight, and preserve and improve buildings.

Two pilot programs being launched this year, the Facade Improvement Planning Grant Pilot Program and the White Box Planning Grant Pilot Program, will award one grant each to create a pipeline of applicants within a designated Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Area (“NRSA”) for future Facade Improvement and White Box grants.

"We're proud to announce the launch of these two exciting and innovative pilot programs," said Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz. "Our goal is to empower local businesses and building owners to revitalize properties in some of Toledo’s most historic neighborhoods – Englewood and the Old South End."

The White Box Grant Program helps property owners bring vacant commercial first-floor spaces up to code and prepare them for occupancy. These matching grants provide up to $75,000 to address interior accessibility, building code, and fire code deficiencies and create “white boxes,” which are then ready for customization by a business.

The White Box Planning Grant Pilot Program provides funding for a comprehensive feasibility study on a vacant ground-floor commercial space in a designated NRSA. The study will equip property owners with critical information on the feasibility and cost of upgrading their commercial space to meet current state and local building codes, fire safety codes, and accessibility standards necessary for occupying the space. The program is designed to provide the knowledge and resources needed for property owners to transform their vacant commercial first-floor spaces into vibrant, code-compliant, and ready-to-customize "white box" areas for business occupancy.

The Facade Improvement Grant Program is designed to help property owners transform the facades of commercial, industrial, and mixed-use buildings currently occupied by businesses. The program provides a matching grant of up to $40,000 to reimburse eligible expenses associated with a comprehensive facade improvement.

The Facade Improvement Planning Grant Pilot Program provides funding to conduct conceptual design services for an existing small business located in a designated NRSA. The study will equip property owners with critical information on the feasibility and cost of upgrading their building’s façade. The program is designed to empower property or small business owners to enhance their building’s aesthetic appeal by transforming their building’s façade into a vibrant and inviting space.

"By investing in our local entrepreneurs and infrastructure, we're investing in Toledo's future," said Economic Development Director Brandon Sehlhorst. "These grants will help attract new businesses, create jobs, and enhance the quality of life for our residents. We encourage property owners to take advantage of this opportunity and join us in revitalizing Toledo."

The Department of Economic Development will host a webinar on Monday, March 18, at 4:00 p.m. to help residents with their applications. Additional information, including application guidelines and eligibility criteria, are available on the city's website at

Former White Box Grant Recipient 710 Monroe St. Toledo OhioFormer Facade Improvement Grant Recipient Stanley's Market Toledo Ohio