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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $1.6 Million in CARES Act Funding to Boost Economic Development Programs Critical to Helping Tennessee Respond to Coronavirus

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding $1.6 million in CARES Act Recovery Assistance grants to four EDA Economic Development District organizations in Tennessee 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 Tennessee with resources to make a swift and lasting economic comeback.”

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

“The Trump Administration’s decision to award over $1.6 million to communities across our state is good news for Tennesseans who have been impacted by COVID-19,” said Senator Lamar Alexander. “This federal funding will help create jobs and expand the emergency services that are needed to help Tennesseans fight this pandemic.”

“The CARES Act has once again proven to be an essential lifeline to our community during this unprecedented crisis,” said Congressman Phil Roe (TN-01). “I thank Secretary Ross and the EDA for this grant, which will give local governments in East Tennessee more tools to safely and effectively respond to COVID-19.”

The EDA investments announced today are:

  • East Tennessee Development District, Alcoa, Tennessee, will receive a $400,000 EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to respond to the coronavirus pandemic by hiring two new staffers to provide critical technical assistance resources for local governments in the district’s 16-county region.
  • Greater Nashville Regional Council, Nashville, Tennessee, will receive a $400,000 EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to respond to the coronavirus pandemic by providing technical assistance to local businesses and communities.
  • Northwest Tennessee Development District, Martin, Tennessee, will receive a $400,000 EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to respond to the coronavirus pandemic by building capacity to support emergency services in the region through improved technology, communication, and coordination.
  • Upper Cumberland Development District, Cookeville, Tennessee, will receive a $400,000 EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to respond to the coronavirus pandemic by hiring additional staff and investing in technology to enhance the economic development efforts of the region’s communities.

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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