“Coalition Conversations” FAQ

What are EDA’s “Coalition Conversations”?

EDA randomly selected 12 sites to hold “Coalition Conversations” in April and May 2022 to learn more about how regional coalitions are coming together to develop strategies to strengthen their regional economies. The site visit conversations are with finalists for EDA’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge (BBBRC), the agency’s marquee American Rescue Plan program. However, these conversations will not factor into the BBBRC’s competitive merit review process, which is ongoing and unrelated to the “Coalition Conversations.”

EDA’s “Coalition Conversations” are a learning opportunity for EDA to understand how finalists built their coalition, created a collective economic vision for the region and how EDA can support communities execute that vision. EDA is interested in the dynamics that brought coalitions together and this discussion will aid EDA in developing programs for future competitions.

Economic development is a team sport and requires federal, state, and local governments to work with nonprofits and the private sector to ensure regional success. EDA’s BBBRC encouraged collaboration and the finalists answered the call by bringing together a unique group of stakeholders for their coalition. In some cases, this is the first time that some of those stakeholders had worked together for a common economic development goal and signs of promising future success.

What is EDA?

The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), a bureau of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is the only government agency focused exclusively on economic development. The agency focuses on locally driven economic development strategies that spur job creation, develop a high-skilled workforce, attract private investment, improve infrastructure and boost U.S. competitiveness on the global stage.

What is the Build Back Better Regional Challenge?

This American Rescue Plan funding opportunity is designed to develop and strengthen regional coalitions across the country to support industry clusters, create good-paying jobs, and enhance U.S. competitiveness globally. Sixty finalists submitted their Phase 2 applications on March 15, 2022.