BIG Grants logo


Since 2019, BCIC has invested over $2.5 million in the award-winning Business Improvement & Growth (BIG) Program which has prompted over $23 million in private investment and economic activity that has contributed to the dynamic period we are currently experiencing in Historic Downtown Brownsville. To further our efforts and leverage BIG’s preservation-based economic development, BCIC has revamped the program to continue partnering with downtown property and business owners investing in our city.  Through BIG, BCIC is creating viable, risk-averse areas of investment that foster a diverse community of entrepreneurs that is making it happen together, that share successes, and create unmatched experiences that honor our colorful culture and history.

The BIG Program offers reimbursable 50/50 matching grants to downtown property owners and tenants investing in the rehabilitation of commercial buildings located within the BIG Program Boundaries. Grants are available for the following activities:

  1. Façade Improvements up to $15,000
  2. Mechanical Systems up to $25,000 (fire suppression systems only) – OR- 
  3. Electrical and Plumbing up to $15,000

There are two districts in the BIG Program Boundaries. Reference this map for eligibility.

  1. Palm-International District: property owners and tenants located within these boundaries may ONLY apply for Façade Improvements.
  2. Central Business District: property owners and tenants located within these boundaries may apply for Façade Improvement, Interior MEP Improvement, and Rent Subsidy Programs

All projects are required to be permit-ready which means that all Building Permit(s) must be obtained prior to submitting an application. Please read the BIG Program Policy Manual and Rent Subsidy Program Guidelines linked at the bottom of this page to ensure eligibility before you apply. 


Façade Improvement Grant

50/50 matching grants of up to $15,000 for properties located within the Central Business District Boundaries [refer to BIG Program Boundaries Map].
Eligible facade improvements include:
  • Façade restoration that maintains the historicity of buildings
  • Lighting to enhance storefront(s)
  • Paint or mural installation, when completed in conjunction with other façade work
  • Repair, replacement, or removal of:
    • Windows, shutters, and exterior doors
    • Roll-up storefront doors
    • Awnings
  • Exposure of transom windows
  • Removal of obsolete fixtures or other non-historic features
  • New signage or preservation of historic or ghost signs

Interior MEP’s Grant

50/50 matching grants for :

  • Mechanical Systems up to $25,000 (Fire suppression systems only. No other mechanical systems are eligible.)  – OR – 
  • Electrical and Plumbing System Upgrades up to $15,000

Applicants may ONLY be eligible for either fire suppression system installation up to $25,000 OR electrical and plumbing up to $15,000. Properties must be located within the Central Business District Boundaries [refer to BIG Program Boundaries Map].


Rent Subsidy Program

Up to $12,000 in rent reimbursement for 12 months to new, expanding, or relocating businesses located within the Central Business District Boundaries. Click here for more information on the Rent Subsidy Program.



Applications will be accepted on a monthly basis and the deadline to submit will be the 10th of every month. BCIC staff will notify the applicant if there are pending documents, questions, and/or comments to the proposed project.

All applications must be approved by the BCIC Board of Directors. Program funding is limited and consideration of grant applications is subject to the availability of funds. Complete applications will be presented for consideration by the BCIC Board at the next scheduled meeting. If the application is approved, BCIC staff has two (2) weeks from the BCIC Board meeting date to notify the Applicant of funding award.