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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $1.65 Million in CARES Act Funding to Boost Economic Development Programs Critical to Helping Alaska Respond to Coronavirus

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding $1.65 million in CARES Act Recovery Assistance grants to six EDA Economic Development District and Alaska Native planning organizations across Alaska to update economic development plans and fortify programs to assist communities in responding to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The Trump Administration is eager to allocate these essential CARES Act funds and deliver on our promise to help American communities recover from the impact of COVID-19,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “I am proud of the perseverance and strength shown by our communities coast to coast throughout this pandemic, and these funds will help provide Alaska with resources to make a swift and lasting economic comeback.”

“These investments come at a crucial time to help Alaska’s and our nation’s economy come roaring back and provide hard-working Americans with new opportunities,” said Dana Gartzke, Performing the Delegated Duties of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “We are pleased to make these investments in Alaska’s Economic Development District and Alaska Native planning organizations to help them prevent, prepare, and respond to coronavirus.”

“Like so many of Alaska’s non-profits, our community economic development agencies are working tirelessly to keep small businesses healthy and Alaskans employed,” said Governor Mike Dunleavy. “This funding will be put to immediate use, and I thank Secretary Ross for his commitment to our state.”

“The impact of COVID-19 on Alaska is far-reaching, having touched nearly every sector of the state. Alaskans are working hard to overcome the health and economic impacts, but there is much left to be done,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski. “We worked hard in Congress to pass the CARES Act—critical legislation to help Alaskans get back on their feet. It is vital that the monies get out to the communities. I commend the Administration for its continued support and look forward to seeing the positive affect this will have on businesses, economic development entities, and communities in our state.”

“As we continue the battle against COVID-19, it is important for local leaders to be assessing the lasting impacts of the pandemic and planning now for how we can realize a robust economic recovery once the pandemic is behind us,” said Senator Dan Sullivan. “The unique challenges facing particular regions and the backbone industries of our state are significant, which is why these EDA grants are so important to equipping economic and Alaska Native organizations with the resources they need to foster recovery and resilience in our communities.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected nearly every area of public life and businesses of all sizes,” said Congressman Don Young. “The CARES Act was crucial for supporting our economy at a time of crisis, and providing needed funding for recovery. I am pleased to see the Economic Development Administration making significant investments in Alaska. This funding will go a long way toward helping entrepreneurs across our state keep their doors open and employees paid while we work to overcome COVID-19. I want to thank President Trump and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross for their continued partnership on behalf of our state’s businesses and their dedicated workers.”

The EDA investments announced today are:

Economic Development District:

  • Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District, Kenai, Alaska, will receive a $400,000 EDA CARES Act grant to respond to the coronavirus pandemic by providing technical assistance to the businesses and communities in the region, and by creating an economic resiliency plan for the future.
  • The Southeast Conference, Juneau, Alaska, will receive a $400,000 EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance grants to address the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on Southeast Alaska, undertake the development of an economic recovery and resilience plan tied to the Southeast Alaska Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, and hire a regional disaster recovery coordinator to support businesses, industry and Southeast communities.
  • Southwest Alaska Municipal Conference, Anchorage, Alaska, will receive a $400,000 EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to respond to the coronavirus pandemic by working to engage their seafood-based industry and communities to create new jobs and investment opportunities in the mariculture and aquaculture industries, and to expand broadband.

Alaska Native Planning Grantees:

  • Dena’ Nena’ Henash, dba Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC), Fairbanks, Alaska, will receive a $150,000 EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to assess the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic and address recovery efforts needed in the TCC region with a focus on the health, safety, and well-being of their employees, their loved ones, the people they serve, and their communities.
  • Kawerak, Inc., Nome, Alaska, will receive a $150,000 EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to assist Bering Strait communities in responding to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The Native Village of Utqiagvik, Barrow, Alaska, will receive a $150,000 EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to respond to the coronavirus pandemic by assisting staff with working remotely, re-establishing supply routes, and realizing economic recovery and resilience measures outlined in their Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy.

These six entities, all EDA-designated Economic Development District (EDD) or Alaska Native Planning organizations, are some of the more than 850 existing, high-performing EDA EDD, University Center, Tribal, and Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) grant recipients invited to apply for supplemental funding under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

This funding come on top of the more than $6 million in EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance grants that the bureau has already invested in Alaska to:

The CARES Act, signed into law by President Donald J. Trump, provides EDA with $1.5 billion for economic development assistance programs to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

On May 7, Secretary Ross announced that EDA is accepting applications for CARES Act Recovery Assistance funding opportunities.

EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance, which is being administered under the authority of the bureau’s flexible Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) (PDF) program, provides a wide-range of financial assistance to eligible communities and regions as they respond to and recover from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. For complete information, please visit our recently updated EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance page.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

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