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Frequently Asked Questions for the Strong Cities, Strong Communities Visioning Challenge

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What is the objective of the Strong Cities, Strong Communities Visioning Challenge?

The objective of the Strong Cities, Strong Communities Visioning Challenge (SC2 Pilot Challenge) is to generate innovative ideas, strategies, and perspectives that cities can use to advance economic development planning in their city and region.

How does the SC2 Pilot Challenge work?

The SC2 Pilot Challenge will select six cities under this FFO through a competitive application process. Each city will then be provided funds, technology, and training to conduct a Challenge Competition. Each Challenge Competition will consist of two phases. In the first phase, cities will invite teams of professionals to submit proposals broadly outlining how they will develop economic development strategies and plans for the city. Each city will award financial prizes to the top-rated proposals and invite several teams to participate in the second phase. In the second phase, teams will compete to develop a comprehensive economic development plan for the city. Each city will evaluate the submitted plans using a city-appointed panel of experts, and award a financial prize to the highest-rated plan.

What is the purpose of this FFO?

The objective of this FFO is to invite application from cities interested in being selected to implement Challenge Competitions.

How much funding has been appropriated for the SC2 Challenge?

Total proposed funding for the SC2 Pilot Challenge is approximately $6 million from the Economic Development Administration (EDA).

How many awards will be made under the SC2 Challenge?

EDA anticipates making six total awards - one winning applicant will be selected in each of EDA's regions.

How much funding will be provided to each winning applicant?

Individual awards of $1 million are expected to be made to each city selected.

Who is eligible to apply for funding?

Eligible applicants under the SC2 Pilot Challenge are cities with a population of 100,000 or more persons residing within their official municipal boundaries as of the 2010 Census who meet one or more of the following criteria for economic distress:

  • An unemployment rate that is, for the most recent 24-month period for which data are available, at least one percentage point greater than the national average unemployment rate;
  • Per capita income that is, for the most recent period for which data are available, 80 percent or less of the national average per capita income; or
  • Meets one of EDA's Special Need eligibility criteria (as defined in 13 C.F.R. § 301.3).

Where can I find an application?

Applications can be found at Grants.gov by searching for "2012SC2". A link to Grants.gov and additional information can also be found on EDA's website at www.eda.gov/challenges/sc2challenge/.

Can a city submit an application if it has done so in the past, or plans to in the future?


Are applicants required to provide a Matching Share?

Applicants must demonstrate a Matching Share, which must be available and committed to the project from non-Federal sources. The FFO states that projects may receive up to 80 percent of total project costs, depending upon the eligible grant rate of the applicant, as determined by EDA. For more information about EDA's matching requirements, see section 204(a) of PWEDA (42 U.S.C. § 3144) and 13 C.F.R. § 301.4(b)(1).

What if I have additional questions?

Additional questions on how to apply and/or eligibility requirements should be directed to the appropriate point of contact identified on page 24 of the Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO). General questions about the SC2 Pilot Challenge should be directed to SC2Challenge@eda.gov.