The Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade is partnering with the Economic Development Council of Colorado to provide Action Grants to Colorado-based Economic Development Organizations (EDOs) in their economic development, programming, and advancement efforts in service to their local business communities.
Action Grants will be provided in the range of $25,000 and $40,000. There is a preference for organizations located in rural parts of the State, those located in rural and economically distressed parts of the State, and those with proposals that seek to increase support for historically under resourced businesses. Use of the grant funds for capacity, operational, and/or personnel support is allowable if it helps expand an economic development program or technical assistance services, is used for applying for grants and leveraging other sources, or otherwise helps drive an economic development initiative chosen by the applicant. Applications open on December 12, 2022 and will close on February 15, 2023.
For: Organizations that support economic development
Amount: Between $25,000 and $40,000
Application period: Starts December 12, 2022 and closes February 15, 2023
OEDIT division: Business Funding and Incentives
In the Action Grant application, applicants will be asked to choose from among four different grant initiatives that they will base their application proposal on. These initiatives are intended to be broad enough to allow EDOs to identify which path most closely aligns with their individual organization’s goals (more information on these initiatives provided in the application).
In addition to choosing an initiative and describing how their proposal will advance that initiative, the application requires that the applicant identify community support and need for that initiative, metrics and goals by which the applicant will measure the success of the initiative, and an itemized budget explaining how the grant funds will be used to accomplish the initiative. Use of the grant funds for capacity, operational, and/or personnel support is allowable if it helps expand a program or technical assistance services, is used for applying for grants and leveraging other sources, or otherwise helps drive the initiative chosen by the applicant.
Apply online in the OEDIT Application Portal. Applications will open on December 12, 2022 and will close on February 15, 2023. To avoid any technical difficulties or delays, we strongly recommend you initiate your application no later than February 9, 2023.
As part of the application, applicants will be asked to complete and upload the following two forms:
EDO Action Grant - Metrics Form
EDO Action Grant - Budget Form
After initiating an application, applicants will be able to save their answers and come back to the application as many times as they’d like prior to submission. In addition to information about their particular initiative or project, applicants should be prepared to provide basic information on their organization’s operating budget. For technical assistance on the application, OEDIT will hold “office hours” on the following dates:
Eligible applicants will need to be a part of an organization whose primary activities and functions are focused on economic development. Your organization does not need to be a part of the Economic Development Council of Colorado to be eligible. Examples of organizations include:
- accelerator or incubators
- county economic development organizations
- municipal economic development organizations
- regional economic development organizations
- public/private economic development organizations
- chambers of commerce with economic development staff
- councils of governments with economic development staff
Eligible organizations must (pass/fail criteria):
- have dedicated economic development staff
- have an operating budget greater than grant award amount
- be in good standing with the Colorado Secretary of State
Ineligible organizations include (pass/fail criteria):
- for-profit organizations
- small business development centers
- religious organizations
- organizations with greater than 15% of budget spent on political advocacy and/or lobbying
- organizations based outside of Colorado
If an organization has received the EDO Recovery Grant in the past, all past reporting and performance requirements must have been met before the organization will be considered for additional grant funding.
Eligible applicants that meet one or more of the below criteria will be given preference in the evaluation process. More information on how questions and preferences will be scored can be found in the application itself.
- EDOs that are located in counties in Colorado with fewer than 250,000 people. Counties in Colorado with fewer than 250,000 people include: Alamosa, Archuleta, Baca, Bent, Chaffee, Cheyenne, Clear Creek, Conejos, Costilla, Crowley, Custer, Delta, Dolores, Eagle, Elbert, Fremont, Garfield, Gilpin, Grand, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Huerfano, Jackson, Kiowa, Kit Carson, La Plata, Lake, Las Animas, Lincoln, Logan, Mesa, Mineral, Moffat, Montezuma, Montrose, Morgan, Otero, Ouray, Park, Phillips, Pitkin, Prowers, Pueblo, Rio Blanco, Rio Grande, Routt, Saguache, San Juan, San Miguel, Sedgwick, Summit, Teller, Washington, and Yuma.
- EDOs that are located in counties in Colorado with fewer than 250,000 people and are considered economically distressed. Counties are economically distressed if they meet at least three of the following criteria:
- per capita income is at least 20% below the state average
- county-wide personal income is at least 20% below the state average
- average unemployment level during the last five years is at least 20% above the state average
- during the past 5 to 10 years, the area lost population in the workforce age range
- percent of students eligible for free school lunch is higher than the state average
- designated as an Enhanced Rural Enterprise Zone
- be in a metropolitan statistical area as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau
Counties in Colorado with fewer than 250,000 people and are considered economically distressed include: Counties in Colorado with fewer than 250,000 people include: Alamosa, Archuleta, Baca, Bent, Cheyenne, Clear Creek, Conejos, Costilla, Crowley, Custer, Delta, Dolores, Fremont, Garfield, Hinsdale, Huerfano, Jackson, Kiowa, Kit Carson, Lake, Las Animas, Lincoln, Logan, Mesa, Mineral, Moffat, Montezuma, Montrose, Morgan, Otero, Phillips, Prowers, Pueblo, Rio Blanco, Rio Grande, Routt, Saguache, San Juan, Sedgwick, Washington, and Yuma.
- Proposals that seek to increase support for historically underresourced businesses. EDOs that choose Grant Initiative #4 (explained more in the application) and those that have a well-thought out action plan to accomplish that initiative will receive a preference.
- Funds should be requested for new and different activities/expenditures, to expand or build upon current projects, or used as one-time “seed” money to start ongoing/multi-year initiatives.
- Ongoing operational expenses will not be considered for funding (grant monies must supplement, not supplant).
- Capacity/operational/personnel support is allowable if it helps expand a program, technical assistance services, is used for applying for grants and to leverage other sources, or otherwise help drive a chosen initiative forward.
- If seeking to expand upon currently existing programming, you must include a baseline and how you will use the grant funds to expand activities/functions/metrics.
- any expense not considered an eligible expense by IRS rules
- wages to any member of the organization's principal officers, board or family who is not a bona fide employee
- charitable or pass-through contributions
- political contributions and political activities
- lobbying activities
- draw or salary to employees that exceeded the amount they were paid on a weekly or monthly basis for the same period last year
- pay down or pay off debt by more than required in underlying debt instrument
- expenses that were previously paid
- food (except for official functions)
- gifts, donations, or sponsorships
- employee bonuses
- airfare upgrades
- late fees
- expenses that are unrelated to your scope of work
- office equipment or improvements, including technology upgrades or hardware; software costs may be eligible if necessary to drive an initiative forward
The selection committee will include at least one representative from:
- Office of Economic Development and International Trade
- Economic Development Council of Colorado
- Economic Development Commission
- Colorado Department of Local Affairs
All proposals will be evaluated and ranked based on the responses to application questions and the proposal’s alignment with the grant initiatives. The selection committee will also consider geographic equity to support communities across the State as a whole when finalizing award decisions.
Award amounts will be based on the availability of funds and an itemized budget for the applicant's grant award request within a range of $25,000 and $40,000. The Economic Development Council of Colorado will then distribute the funds to the approved organizations.
- Transparency: The name and the grant amount awarded to each recipient will be made publicly available and reported to the Economic Development Commission.
- Mid-year Check-in: Organizations that were awarded funding must participate in a mid-year check-in with the EDCC to help determine if the organization is on track for success and/or whether their original proposal may need to be reconsidered. When the six-month deadline approaches, the EDCC will reach out with instructions on how to meet this requirement.
- Final Report: Organizations that were awarded funding must provide a close-out report to the EDCC detailing the economic impact generated, public benefit to the state, and progress made in attaining your stated action plan goals (i.e., measurable outcomes) one year after the organization has received the funds. When the one-year deadline approaches, the EDCC will reach out to funded organizations with instructions on how to meet this requirement.
- Use of Funds: If organizations that are awarded funding use the funds for an ineligible cost or a purpose other than what is described in the application, OEDIT has the discretion to require that the funds be returned to the EDCC. Such a determination will be made, at the earliest, one year from when the organization received the funds. Funded organizations will have an opportunity to reconsider their original proposals in collaboration with the EDCC at a mid-year check-in.
- Leftover Funds: If organizations that are awarded funding do not use all of the funds within a year of receiving them, OEDIT has the discretion to require that the funds be returned to the EDCC. Again, funded organizations will have an opportunity to reconsider their original proposals in collaboration with the EDCC at the mid-year check-in.