|Program||# of Grants||EDA Funds|
|Economic Adjustment Assistance||1||$2,922,513|
|Regional Innovation Strategies||1||$249,981|
|Trade Adjustment Assistance||2||$1,896,227|
The Castleberry Hill section of the City of Atlanta is among the most economically distressed neighborhoods in the city. The neighborhood and surrounding area suffer from such high rates of poverty and unemployment that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) designated the neighborhood as a Promise Zone in 2016. Led by HUD, Promise Zones are high poverty communities where the federal government partners with local leaders to increase economic activity, improve educational opportunities, leverage private investment, reduce violent crime, enhance public health and address other priorities identified by the community. Despite its economic challenges, Castleberry Hill is home to the Atlanta University Center and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) such as Morehouse, Spellman and Clark Atlanta. While these universities are a tremendous resource, the lack of long-term jobs has forced graduating students to look elsewhere for employment opportunities.
In September 2016, EDA invested $2,922,513 in Economic Adjustment Assistance funds to the Russell Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship to renovate the three-story, 43,000-square-foot former Russell Construction headquarters into a small business incubator. Once the renovation is complete, the Russell Center will be an inclusive innovation incubator, lab-to-market space, youth entrepreneurship forum, and start-up ideation platform. At capacity, the Russell Center will provide space for over 100 entrepreneurial businesses and is expected to create 100 jobs, save 175 jobs and leverage $25 million in private investment. The Russell Center is part of the legacy of Herman J. Russell, founder of The Russell Construction Company in 1957 and the Nation’s largest minority-owned construction business.