Skip to content

Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts & Parks Program to Distribute $26 Million to Arts and Cultural Nonprofit Organizations

Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts, and Parks Program to Distribute $2.7 Million

 Today, the Salt Lake County Council unanimously approved $26 million in Zoo, Arts & Parks (ZAP) funding to be distributed to 233 arts, cultural, and zoological nonprofits in 2024. $16.5 million will be disbursed to 22 organizations through the Tier I grants, $5.9 million will be disbursed to 3 organizations through the Zoological grants, and $3.4 million disbursed to 208 organizations through Tier II grants. Funding amounts are recommended by the respective ZAP Tier I and Tier II Advisory Boards. 

Organizations included are community theaters, historical museums, dance companies, visual arts programs, symphonies, zoos, arts and cultural festivals, local arts agencies, botanical gardens, and more. Recipient organizations span every district in the County. This year ZAP Tier II welcomed 26 new organizations, evidence of the continued growth of arts and cultural offerings in Salt Lake County.

“Our county’s voter-supported ZAP program is a catalyst for the arts and culture community to thrive,” said Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson. “County residents and visitors provide support for dozens of community organizations to create programs that enrich our county. I’m excited to see these organizations thrive with the support of the community.”

ZAP grants are distributed to organizations across the county and these funds help organizations provide events and programming that entertain, educate, and enrich county residents and others. “Last year, ZAP awardees grantee or recipient organizations reported 29,801 events and programs and welcomed over 8 million attendees,” commented Samantha Mary Thermos, ZAP Program Director. “Of those attendees, 3.8 million or 45% attended events and programs with no charge.”

One of the organizations receiving support is Hawkwatch International “Despite Utah being home to beautiful and iconic landscapes, many don’t have the luxury of exploring them. Whether due to physical, economic, or other barriers, for some, nature is simply out of reach. HawkWatch International solves this dilemma by “closing the nature gap” through opportunities to see raptors up close. Thanks to support from ZAP, we provide free and reduced-cost education programs with our team of live Raptor Ambassadors throughout Salt Lake County. Through this work, we can preserve our local environment by creating future conservationists.“ commented Kirsten Elliot, Hawkwatch Development and Communications Director.

“ZAP greatly enriches the lives of Salt Lake County residents, and we are thrilled these grants are going to deserving organizations that provide meaningful arts and culture enrichment for communities across the whole county,” said Salt Lake County Council Chair Aimee Winder Newton. 

The ZAP Advisory Boards spent an estimated 934 cumulative volunteer hours reviewing and scoring applications and recommending funding amounts for each organization. Scores reflect the organization’s artistic contributions, and benefits to the public, and sound organizational management. 

The Cultural industry remains an economic force in Salt Lake County. According to a report published by the Kem Gardner Policy Institute in early 2023, the county’s cultural industry generated more than $11.6 billion in sales and supported more than 58,000 direct and indirect jobs in 2021 (the most recent year data was available). This represents nearly 6% of the county’s total spending and 7.5% of jobs in Salt Lake County.

If you would like more information regarding the ZAP funds to be distributed to awardees in 2024, or apply for future funds, please contact Daniel Stergios, ZAP Grants and Communications Coordinator, at or 385.468.7058.