News Release

Central Coast Coalition secures $5 million planning grant

The coalition, which includes San Benito County, plans to use the grant to fund a 2-year planning process to create an inclusive economic development plan.

Information provided by Monterey Bay Economic Partnership

The Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) announced Uplift Central Coast Coalition secured a $5-million planning grant for the six-county region, including San Benito County through the California’s Community Economic Resilience Fund (CERF).

The six-county Uplift Central Coast Coalition is led by REACH, the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) and the Economic Development Collaborative (EDC).

According to the news release, the grant will fund a 2-year planning process to create an inclusive economic development plan for the six Central Coast counties of Santa Cruz, San Benito, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura, with a focus on equity, sustainability, job quality, economic competitiveness and resilience.

It adds that rhe Coalition will then be eligible to apply for additional implementation funding under CERF, a $600 million program designed to catalyze planning and action to realize an equitable and sustainable economy across California’s diverse regions and to foster long-term economic resilience.

“This expansive coastal region extending from Santa Cruz to Ventura has a lot in common. We share persistent and emerging economic challenges including extreme socio-economic disparities, high costs of living, and often highly uneven impacts of climate change,” REACH President & CEO Melissa James said. “We are excited for this promising new opportunity to expand our network and bring resources to our region to spur economic opportunity for those who need it most.”

According to the release, the coalition was formed in 2021 and shares a common mission: to uplift the region’s residents as it uplifts the regional economy, growing from within to create transformative opportunities for more than 2 million people across an area larger than 10 states.

“We know there was a widely disproportionate impact on minority workers from the COVID-19 pandemic,” EDC President & CEO Bruce Stenslie said. “Now we have an opportunity to address that and foster economic development investments for the region in a deliberate, thoughtful and disruptive way.”

The 2-year planning process also involves implementing an inclusive outreach and engagement plan and developing a collaborative regional plan, according to the release.

It adds that under the project plan, the Economic Development Collaborative will serve as the fiscal agent, managing the grant funds, and REACH will serve as regional convener, leading stakeholder engagement and plan development. REACH, EDC and MBEP will each serve as a co-convener in their respective subregions.

“We’re very excited for this opportunity to meaningfully and intentionally engage stakeholders for the inclusive planning and development for our region and do our part to uplift our entire region, especially those in disinvested communities,” said MBEP President & CEO Tahra Goraya.


BenitoLink Staff