$1.5m available to support Economic Development Organizations in Colorado

DENVER, CO – The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) and Economic Development Council of Colorado (EDCC) announces grants of $25,000 and $50,000 are available starting August 19 through the Economic Development Organization Recovery Grant to support organizational capacity for economic development organizations and bolster our economic recovery.

The State Legislature appropriated funds from the Colorado Recovery Plan to the Strategic Fund of which $1.5M is earmarked to support Colorado-based Economic Development Organizations (EDOs) to assist Colorado EDOs in their recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds will be used to help maintain critical operations and economic recovery efforts during a time of unprecedented revenue and operations interruption. This decision came after testimony led by the EDCC to help find support for EDO’s whose main focus is to fuel the economic comeback for the State of Colorado.

An EDCC member survey revealed that 60 percent of reporting organizations lost revenue in excess of 40 percent of their operating budgets due to the pandemic. Of those responses, 25 percent had to reduce their staffing. An additional 59 percent reported having to reduce economic development activities, services and projects in their respective regions. These activities included housing, broadband and infrastructure projects, traditional business retention, expansion and attraction practices, educational and marketing outreach and staff training.

“EDOs are vital to communities and business growth and retention, yet many of those organizations lost funding due to the pandemic,” said Laura Lewis Marchino, Chair of the Board of Directors of the EDCC. “Many of these organizations rely on memberships, government support and business funding which were all significantly impacted by the pandemic.”

EDOs are the very backbone of Colorado’s economic success. Many of these organizations distribute and administer state programs and incentives by working behind-the-scenes at the local and regional levels to retain and expand existing businesses, attract new businesses, market their communities, build public/private partnerships and shepherd real estate development. These efforts set the stage for a vibrant economy, among many other initiatives. This program gives the vital assistance these organizations need to fulfill their mission.

“Part of Powering the Comeback is ensuring that the organizations supporting economic development and recovery have the means to do so,” said Pat Meyers, Executive Director of OEDIT and the State’s Chief Economic Recovery Officer. “We want to make certain that Colorado's economic recovery reaches every part of the state and assisting our state EDOs will help make that happen.” 

In order to expedite the distribution of the grant funds, OEDIT has partnered with the EDCC on the administration of this grant program. OEDIT is responsible for managing the grant program while EDCC is responsible for distributing the grant funding once the selection committee has made their decisions. Applicants do not need to be a member of the EDCC to apply.

About the program:

  • Organizations who serve populations under 25,000 can apply for up to $25,000. Organizations who serve a population over 25,000, can apply for up to $50,000.
  • Organizations will need to demonstrate the negative operational impact caused by the pandemic.

Applications for these grants open on August 19 and will remain open through 5p.m. on Friday, October 1, 2021. EDOs selected for funding will be announced and distributed in November 2021. To learn more, visit the grants web page.