Helping local communities: BGSU receives CARES Act funding to support economic recovery efforts

Carews Act Funding

Grant for $300,000 to serve 27-county region in northwest Ohio

As communities across the country face an uncertain road ahead, Bowling Green State University will now be able to expand its reach in helping northwest Ohio communities plan for economic recovery.

The Center for Regional Development (CRD) at Bowling Green State University has received a $300,000 CARES Act grant to support economic and workforce development recovery strategies across a 27-county region in northwest Ohio.

CRD will use the funding to leverage economic and demographic data analytics, as well as public facilitation expertise, to assist communities to position themselves to recover from the economic effects of the pandemic.

“Our local communities are navigating never-before-seen challenges due to COVID-19,” said Dr. Russell W. Mills, senior director of CRD. “This funding is critical in allowing CRD to bring additional staff capacity and expertise on board to expand our reach and support northwest Ohio.”

The additional funding by the CARES Act grant will also allow CRD to support grant applications by local governments and other governmental partners to address the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

A team of BGSU graduate students from the public administration program and the applied statistics and operations research program will play an integral role in developing economic recovery strategies. 

The graduate students will perform data analysis and developing data visualization tools, identifying best practices and solutions from other communities. They also will conduct interviews with leaders from around the region.

The grant will support additional capacity for the Rural University Consortium, an Economic Development Administration (EDA) University Center operated in partnership between CRD and the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University. 

BGSU’s grant was part of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration awarding $7.8 million in EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance grants to universities across the nation.

The grants are to boost their capacity to support regional economic development strategies in response to the coronavirus pandemic. CRD, supported by a local planning grant from EDA, is leading the update of the Toledo region Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) that will guide the region’s economic development activities over the next five years.

“We are very thankful for our long-standing partnership with Ohio University and EDA in operating our University Center and serving communities in northwest and Appalachian Ohio,” Mills said. “This funding will allow CRD to further BGSU’s role as a public university for the public good by expanding its efforts to assist communities understand the impact of COVID-19 on their local economies and better plan for economic recovery and resiliency.”

Center for Regional Development at BGSU

CRD is community asset with expertise in regional economic and community development. As an Economic Development Administration (EDA) University Center and participant in the State of Ohio’s Rural University Program, CRD enhances the economic well-being and quality of life of citizens in northwest Ohio by partnering with community and business stakeholders and utilizing its technical expertise and data analytics capabilities to aid in business attraction and retention efforts. 

CRD serves as a neutral and well-respected convener for regional planning processes and forums, including the annual State of the Region Conference, which is the one of the largest gathering of business and economic development officials in northwest Ohio. Additionally, CRD improves the lives of northwest Ohioans through its rigorous evaluation and improvement of health and social service programs across the region and State of Ohio.