Recently, the Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced an historic Coal Communities Commitment. This program allocates $300 million for communities experiencing economic distress from the declining coal industry—part of the EDA’s $3 billion allocation through the American Rescue Plan. This is the federal government’s largest investment to date in coal community economic transition and will be critical to advancing equitable, inclusive, and thriving local economies across the country.
At the Just Transition Fund, we partner with local leaders in coal-affected communities who have already developed innovative, community-led economic and workforce solutions. To date, however, the level of federal resources available to these communities has not matched the scale of the problem. Through the National Economic Transition (NET) initiative, our community partners have created a framework for developing a comprehensive national transition program—including the ambitious investments necessary for communities to build new economies for the 21st century. With the EDA’s announcement, we’re thrilled that federal leaders are listening.
We are also committed to ensuring that coal communities are able to access these new resources. Since our founding in 2015, through our grantmaking and technical assistance, we’ve helped our partners leverage more than $120 million in public funding to advance community-led transition. We and our NET partners will continue to engage closely with the Biden administration to ensure that, as new policies and programs like the Coal Communities Commitment are developed and implemented, they are responsive to the needs and opportunities identified by local leaders. We will also continue to partner with the philanthropic sector to ensure that we drive the investment in communities necessary to leverage this historic federal funding opportunity.
For our community partners, please note that the EDA is hosting a webinar on August 5 to provide more information about the Coal Communities Commitment opportunity. We will also be sharing more detailed information soon about how the Just Transition Fund can help, so please stay tuned!