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A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce
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Annual Report

Washington, District of Columbia


Program # of Grants EDA Funds
Assistance To Coal Communities 1 $400,000
Research And Evaluation 1 $250,000
Technical Assistance 3 $793,853
Total 5 $1,443,853

The District of Columbia is home to many national organizations that contribute to economic success in areas across the country. In 2015, the National Association of Counties (NACo) and the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) Research Foundation, with the support of EDA, launched the Innovation Challenge for Coal-Reliant Communities program, a competition to help coal-reliant communities diversify their economies.

During FY 2016, EDA invested $400,000 in Assistance to Coal Communities funds to the NACo and the NADO Research Foundation to jointly run a project called “Innovation Challenge: Catalyzing Economic Revitalization in Coal-Reliant Counties and Regions.” This project was designed to support county and regional leaders in coal-dependent communities with retooling their economies to become more resilient to changing conditions, with a focus on assisting counties and regions with developing opportunities for economic diversification and promoting asset-based economic development. The project team provided training and technical assistance to 42 counties and 18 Economic Development Districts (EDDs) representing 23 regions and communities impacted by changes in the coal industry. In total, over 200 stakeholders participated in this program.

At each Innovation Challenge workshop, the participants worked in place-based teams to create “Implementation Roadmaps,” or strategies to advance local economic diversification and job creation efforts over both the short and long terms. Today, 23 teams—led by counties and regional development organizations and including a broad range of other public- and private-sector partners—are benefiting from resources made available through the competition to help them become more resilient.