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Over 500 regions from across the country participate in $1B Build Back Better Regional Challenge

EDA is pleased to announce that 529 applications from regions in all 50 states and five territories have submitted applications for Phase 1 of the $1 billion Build Back Better Regional Challenge. Below is an open letter sent from Alejandra Y. Castillo to Phase 1 applicants. Also provided is a link to the list of Phase 1 applicants by lead institution, project title, and state (PDF).

Dear Build Back Better Regional Challenge Applicants,

Thank you for your application. The $1 billion Build Back Better Regional Challenge, funded by President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, provides a historic investment to support bottom-up, middle-out economic development. Designed to advance and accelerate an equitable economic recovery, create good-paying jobs, and build resilient regions across the country, the $1 billion Build Back Better Regional Challenge will invest in locally developed projects that depend on American ingenuity and American workers, and is one of the ways the Biden Administration will continue to enhance U.S. competitiveness on the global stage.

We are pleased to announce that regions across the country have shown incredible enthusiasm for this program. The Economic Development Administration (EDA) received 529 applications from all 50 states and five territories. Applications were submitted from every corner of the country, from rural communities to university towns, major metros, and everything in between. They reflect the local economies that propel our nation. Beyond the quantity of applications, they are of extraordinary caliber. We are thrilled with the thoughtfulness of the applicants and look forward to reviewing and learning from the experience and creativity of communities across the country.

EDA is already working through a comprehensive, merit-based review of all 529 applications submitted. Throughout these next few months, we ask for your patience as the team moves through this effort as expeditiously and diligently as possible.

EDA is committed to implementing this program in a way that is fair, transparent and improves economic development outcomes. Today we are releasing information on all 529 applicants, and EDA will continue to share information throughout the competition and over the duration of the grants. Given the collaborative nature of this program, EDA hopes that this information can be used for communities, organizations, elected officials and others to collaborate, share ideas and support economic development throughout the country.

This competition has generated an incredible body of work. While not every region will receive a Build Back Better Regional Challenge award, we hope that all applicants will explore other grant opportunities that could support their efforts. Please visit www.eda.gov for more information about EDA programs.

Thank you all once again for your work developing and submitting your applications. While we have a long way to go, the overwhelming response from you gives us confidence that the $1 billion Build Back Better Regional Challenge will lay the groundwork for regions across America to thrive in the global economy.


Alejandra Y. Castillo
Assistant Secretary for Economic Development

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