Gov. Holcomb Awards $50 Million READI Grant to South Bend – Elkhart Region

INDIANAPOLIS (Dec. 15, 2021) – The South Bend – Elkhart region consisting of 22 cities and towns in Elkhart, Marshall, and St. Joseph counties in Indiana has been awarded $50 million to support regional economic development plans across the region. The South Bend – Elkhart region is one of 17 regions that received funding through Indiana’s Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI).

“The seventeen regions submitted innovative, creative and visionary projects that will result in a positive economic impact on Indiana’s future,” said Gov. Holcomb. “It took immense collaboration between communities as they put aside their own visions and worked together to present the best plan for the region. These plans will shape Indiana for generations to come and bring value to our state like nothing we’ve witnessed before. I want to thank the general assembly for having the courage and leadership to prioritize this initiative.”

Launched by Gov. Holcomb and led by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), READI builds on the framework and successes of the Indiana Regional Cities Initiative and the 21st Century Talent Initiative, encouraging regional collaboration and data-driven, long-term planning that, when implemented, will attract and retain talent in Indiana. The $500 million READI fund was passed by legislation during the 2021 session. The IEDC awarded the maximum grant amount of $50 million each to five of the seventeen regions, including South Bend – Elkhart. Awards for the other regions ranged from $5 to 30 million.

“On behalf of half a million of us who live in the South Bend – Elkhart region, I want to thank Gov. Holcomb and the IEDC for continuing to invest in our region, not only with your dollars, but with your time and trust,” said John DeSalle, Chair of the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Development Authority Board and Executive Engineer-in-Residence, iNDustry Labs at Notre Dame. “And congratulations to the other sixteen regional recipients, this is a win for each of our regions and for the state of Indiana.”

Earlier this month, a team of South Bend – Elkhart regional leaders presented the region’s “Smart Connected Communities 2030 Plan” (The Plan) to the IEDC and members of the READI review committee. The presentation represented the final phase of the region’s READI application process, following The Plan submission in September of this year. The READI review committee, an external seven-member citizen committee, reviewed and scored the plans based on the established guidelines and against other relevant data, including historical population trends.

Considering additional public and private investments that would serve as matching funds to the READI grant, the overall impact is significant. Based on the example projects included in the South Bend – Elkhart region’s Plan, the $50 million from the state of Indiana could generate over $461 million of total investment, comprised of 11 percent READI grant funds, 14 percent local public funding, and 75 percent private sector funding.

“This award is a prime example of the outstanding collaborative efforts that have led to immense progress for the South Bend – Elkhart region,” said Regina Emberton, President and CEO of the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership. “Of course, none of this work is possible without the dedication, passion, and commitment of our community and regional stakeholders to making the South Bend – Elkhart region a prime location to live and work.”

On the heels of securing a $42 million Regional Cities Initiative grant awarded by the state of Indiana in 2015, the South Bend – Elkhart region’s shared vision catalyzed a $42 million grant from the Lilly Endowment to launch the Labs for Industry Futures and Transformation (LIFT) Network and associated iNDustry Labs at Notre Dame. To date, the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership who also serves as administrator for the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Development Authority has helped secure over $134 million in grant funding for the region.

The regional development plans included housing, trails, broadband, childcare and wellness initiatives, workforce development programs, and telling Indiana’s story to the world. The plans enumerated a nearly 10:1 capitalization leverage ratio from private and public sources as compared to state investment.

The regions, with the counties the region represents, and its specific award are:

  • 180 Alliance – awarded $20 million
    Boone, Hendricks, Johnson, Putnam, Montgomery, Morgan
  • 70-40 Mt. Comfort Corridor – awarded $5 million
  • Accelerate Rural Indiana – awarded $20 million
    Shelby, Rush, Decatur
  • East Central Indiana Regional Partnership – awarded $15 million
    Blackford, Fayette, Muncie-Delaware, Jay, Henry, Randolph, Wayne, Grant
  • Greater Lafayette – awarded $30 million
    Tippecanoe, Fountain, Warren, Benton, White, Carroll
  • Indiana First – awarded $15 million
    Harrison, Knox, Perry, Pike, Spencer
  • Indiana Uplands – awarded $30 million
    Brown, Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Greene, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Orange, Owen, Washington
  • North Central Indiana Regional Planning Council – awarded $30 million
    Fulton, Cass, Miami, Howard, Tipton, Clinton
  • Northeast Indiana, led by the Northeast Indiana RDA – awarded $50 million
    Lagrange, Steuben, Noble, Kosciusko, Whitley, Allen, Wabash, Huntington, Wells, Adams
  • Northwest Indiana, led by the Northwest Indiana Forum – awarded $50 million
    Lake, Porter, Laporte, Starke, Pulaksi, Jasper, Newton
  • Our Southern Indiana RDA – awarded $50 million
    Washington, Floyd, Scott, Jefferson, Clark
  • South Bend – Elkhart RDA– awarded $50 million
    Elkhart, Marshall. St. Joseph
  • South Central Indiana Talent Region – awarded $30 million
    Bartholomew, Jackson, Jennings
  • Southeast Indiana READI – awarded $15 million
    Dearborn, Union, Franklin, Ripley, Ohio, Switzerland
  • Southwest Indiana Regional Development Authority – awarded $50 million
    Vanderburgh, Warrick, Gibson, Posey
  • Wabash River Regional Development Authority – awarded $20 million
    Clay, Knox, Parke, Sullivan, Vermillion, Vigo
  • White River Regional Opportunity Initiative – awarded $20 million
    Hamilton, Marion, Madison, City of Zionsville, City of McCordsville

The IEDC will begin to execute grant agreements with regions while providing training and guidance on federal requirements. Regional leadership will collaborate with the IEDC to prioritize projects and maximize investment.

For more information about READI and the South Bend – Elkhart region’s “Smart Connected Communities 2030 Plan,” visit


About South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership
The South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership is a collaboration of the economic development partners from 47 smart connected communities in Northern Indiana and Southwest Michigan. The Regional Partnership focuses on a long-term systemic approach to advance the region’s economy by aligning the efforts of various stakeholders around five key areas: Educating a world-class WORKFORCE, Recruiting and retaining great TALENT, Attracting and growing new economy companies in complement to our remarkably strong manufacturing INDUSTRIES, Promoting INCLUSION and sparking opportunities for minorities and Helping ENTREPRENEURS thrive. The Regional Partnership seeks to unify and collaborate so that together, the communities across the region to work together to achieve what cannot be done individually. For more information about the Regional Partnership, visit

About the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Development Authority (RDA)
The South Bend – Elkhart Regional Development Authority (RDA) was formed in 2015 to focus on the long-term prosperity of the region and raising per capita income of residents in Elkhart, Marshall, and St. Joseph counties. The RDA was instrumental in administering a $42 million Regional Cities Initiative grant to spur investment in quality-of-life projects across the region and played a catalytic role in developing the Regional Economic Development Strategy (REDS Plan) aligning the region’s economic development efforts.

Media Contact
Sarah Niespodziany
South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership