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. To read the full press release, click here.