The purpose of the Community Economic Resilience Fund (CERF) Program funding is to build an equitable and sustainable economy across California’s diverse regions and foster long-term economic resilience in the overall transition to a carbon-neutral economy. CERF will use a high-road approach to economic development to support the creation of quality jobs and equal access to those jobs.
CERF planning grants will allow for flexible economic analysis at various geographic scales, including economic flows between different regions, and implementation grants will allow for projects that cross regional boundaries. Participants interested in applying for Phase II implementation grants must participate during the planning phase or receive a letter of support from the High Road Transition Collaborative (HRTC) to be eligible for funding.
In Phase I, the CERF program will provide $5 million dollar planning grants to each region to support one High Road Transition Collaborative (HRTC) per region. Regions were developed to prioritize recovery and transition strategies and to be consistent with existing economic development efforts, as well as other state definitions of regional economic and labor markets. HRTCs will be composed of an administrative Fiscal Agent, a Regional Convener, and a wide range of partners reflecting the diversity of each region. Planning grants will be awarded to one HRTC and be administered jointly by the Fiscal Agent and Regional Convener; the Fiscal Agent will legally and financially represent the HRTC throughout Phase I.
The HRTCs will implement transparent and inclusive processes to advance long-term prosperity and equity, work directly with Regional Climate Collaboratives where applicable, and include balanced representation from labor, business, community, government, and other stakeholders, including, but not limited to, economic development, philanthropy, education, and workforce partners. Together, these partners will form their respective regional HRTC to engage in strategic planning for economic resilience and equitable pathways to high road opportunities. HRTCs will work across industries, agencies, and communities to encourage engagement from all stakeholder groups, create inclusive and equitable economic plans, build capacity, break down silos to maximize the effectiveness of planning and implementation projects, and generate systemic changes to advance economic resilience.
Planning grants can be used for a wide range of planning activities including capacity-building, community engagement, and research. Plans developed during the Planning Phase will inform projects eligible for funding during the Implementation Phase of the program. Plans will be based on actionable research and consultation from expert institutions, with a focus on equity, sustainability, job quality, economic competitiveness, and resilience. Strategies will complement, incorporate, or expand on existing plans such as Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies as applicable and relevant.
CERF emphasizes inclusive planning to ensure equitable outcomes for each region’s disinvested communities. Disinvested communities face many challenges resulting from inequitable land use and zoning policies, exclusionary economic development processes, underinvestment, and a lack of meaningful engagement with community residents in planning and policy decisions. Investments that benefit disinvested communities will be a priority for proposed projects in the Implementation Phase.
- Public Agency
- Tribal Government
For-profit entities are not eligible to serve in the Fiscal Agent or Regional Convener role but can be subcontracted to provide research or other services.
All 13 regions of California will receive funding for planning and implementation. For information on the final regions, please reference the Community Economic Resilience Fund Program – Final Regions, Workforce Services Information Notice (WSIN-21-25). Only one award will be made by region.
Matching Funding Requirement:
Phase I planning grants will be awarded at a 100% grant rate for a maximum amount of $5 million. Therefore, no match is required.
How to Apply
State agencies/departments recommend you read the full grant guidelines before applying.
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