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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $2.4 Million in CARES Act Funding to Boost Economic Development Programs Critical to Helping Florida Respond to Coronavirus

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding $2.4 million in CARES Act Recovery Assistance grants to six EDA Economic Development District organizations across Florida 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 Florida with resources to make a swift and lasting economic comeback.”

“These investments come at a crucial time to help Florida’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 Florida’s EDA Economic Development Districts to help them prevent, prepare, and respond to coronavirus.”

“These EDA grants are great news for the state of Florida,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “The $2.4 million will help small businesses recover from the impacts of COVID-19, help diversify regional councils and help communities prepare for future emergencies. I thank President Trump and Secretary Ross for their constant support of our state.”

“I am grateful that the Administration continues to invest funds from the CARES Act into Florida’s economy,” said Senator Marco Rubio. “These investments will provide critical assistance to small businesses that face challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I look forward to continuing to work with the Administration and my congressional colleagues to ensure businesses receive the support they need.”

“I'm thrilled the Trump Administration through the CARES Act has provided the Emerald Coast Regional Council with a $400,000 grant to assist Northwest Florida in the fight against COVID-19,” said Congressman Matt Gaetz (FL-01). “President Trump has continually empowered our community with the resources to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, and under his leadership, we will continue working to rebuild, restore, and heal our great state.”

“This investment of CARES Act funding into Florida’s Economic Development District organizations is crucial to our state’s economic recovery and sustainability,” said Congressman Francis Rooney (FL-19). “Specifically, the $400,000 investment for the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council will provide much needed assistance to communities and businesses across SWFL. As businesses, schools and the economy begin to reopen in Florida, it is essential that support from the CARES Act is distributed appropriately. This investment from the U.S. Department of Commerce continues our state’s forward economic momentum.”

The EDA investments announced today are:

  • Apalachee Regional Planning Council, Tallahassee, Florida, will receive a $400,000 EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to respond to the coronavirus pandemic by hiring additional staff to work with small businesses on economic recovery and resiliency initiatives.
  • North Central Florida Regional Planning Council, Gainesville, Florida, will receive a $400,000 EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to respond to the coronavirus pandemic by developing economic strategies to grow the region’s critical innovation, logistics and distribution, healthcare and eco-tourism sectors, as well as strategies to diversify the region’s economy.
  • Northeast Florida Regional Council (NEFRC), Jacksonville, Florida, will receive a $400,000 EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to respond to the coronavirus pandemic by dedicating staff resources to pandemic response, recovery, and long-term planning; updating the region’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS); and establishing an Economic Resilience Taskforce for Northeast Florida.
  • South Florida Regional Planning Council, Hollywood, Florida, will receive a $400,000 EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to respond to the coronavirus pandemic by identifying financial resources and technical assistance to strengthen South Florida’s businesses and organizations in critical industries.
  • Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council, Fort Myers, Florida, will receive a $400,000 EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to respond to the coronavirus pandemic by providing technical assistance to communities and businesses in the region.
  • West Florida Regional Planning Council (Emerald Coast Regional Council), Pensacola, Florida, will receive a $400,000 EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to respond to the coronavirus pandemic by hiring two additional staff to complete the region’s recovery and resiliency plan; assist regional partners with identifying projects and programs that create industry sector diversification; and provide technical, grant writing, and management assistance.

These entities, all EDA-designated Economic Development Districts (EDD), 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.

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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