US Economic Development Administration (EDA)

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What is the US Economic Development Administration (EDA)?

The US Economic Development Administration (EDA), established in 1965 as part of the US Department of Commerce, runs eight programs designed to promote economic growth, innovation, and competitiveness within the country’s regional markets, particularly in communities experiencing economic distress.

The Urban Institute received an EDA grant to evaluate the agency and its programs. Our research examines EDA’s funding allocations and grantmaking programs, the agency’s history and goals, the attributes of communities receiving EDA investments, and the extent to which EDA investments spur local economic growth. EDA provides grants to States, regions, and communities across the Nation to help create wealth and minimize poverty by promoting a favorable business environment to attract private capital investment and higher skill, higher wage jobs through capacity building, planning, infrastructure, research grants, and strategic initiatives. Through its grant program, EDA utilizes public sector resources to create an environment where the private sector risks capital and job opportunities are created.

Regional collaboration is essential for economic recovery because regions are the centers of competition in the new global economy and those that work together to leverage resources and use their strengths to overcome weaknesses will fare better than those that do not. EDA encourages its partners around the country to develop initiatives that advance new ideas and creative approaches to address rapidly evolving economic conditions.

Eligible applicants include:

  • District organizations of an EDA-designated Economic Development District
  • Tribes and consortia of tribes
  • State, county, city, and other political subdivisions of states, including special purpose units of state or local governments engaged in economic or infrastructure development activities, or a consortium of political subdivisions
  • Institution of higher education or a consortium of institutions of higher education
  • Public or private nonprofit organization or associations acting in cooperation with officials of a political subdivision of a state
  • Public or private nonprofit organizations or associations serving native Hawaiians, native Pacific Islanders of Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau