'We Are Greater Washington’ establishes joint program office led by Connected DMV and brings together economic development and planning organizations, industry, academia, philanthropy and community organizations to compete for emerging federal funding focused on regional equitable economic development
August 2, 2021 (Washington, D.C.) - Today, a group of cross-sector, cross-jurisdictional leaders representing major economic development organizations, industry, public sector, academia, philanthropy and community organizations across the District, suburban Maryland and northern Virginia announced a program to jointly pursue new regional funding opportunities, including the nearly $3 billion in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding opportunities recently announced by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA). We Are Greater Washington represents the first time in history that agroup of cross-sector, cross-jurisdictional leadershave come together to pursue federal funding for regional projects to improve Greater Washington’s competitive advantages and focus directly on delivering equitable economic opportunities to improve the lives of all who live and work in the region.
Led by Connected DMV, a regional cross-sector nonprofit committed to solving complex economic and social challenges, We Are Greater Washington is a program of the Regional Economic Development Strategy (REDS) initiative. The initiative was approved by the Connected DMV COVID-19 Strategic Renewal Task Force, a group formed in April 2020 to improve the long-term social, physical and digital infrastructures for inclusive economic growth and renewal across the entire DMV region, post pandemic. The establishment of We Are Greater Washington follows the release of the REDS 1.0 Report in June, which represented more than a year of work by the REDS Steering Committee and laid the foundation for a long-term collaborative framework to improve the competitive advantage of the region both nationally and globally by activating an enduring cross-sector model to advance equitable economic development across Greater Washington and improve opportunity for all. The report included key recommendations for high-potential entry points for greater regional collaboration, including the establishment of a program like We Are Greater Washington to develop coordinated regional strategies to pursue federal, state, and philanthropic funds.
“Today marks a turning point for Greater Washington working together. Maximizing economic growth opportunities in an equitable way will not be delivered by industry or government alone,” said Connected DMV President and CEO Stu Solomon. “The American Rescue Plan Act represents an unprecedented opportunity for this region to present a collective vision and strategy for the future. Through this collaborative approach, we can undertake the critical work not just of recovering from the losses suffered during the pandemic, but of ensuring that regardless of which neighborhood you’re from—Anacostia to Georgetown and Oxon Hill to Arlington—Greater Washington is the best place to live and work in the country. We’ve talked about working together for far too long. Now is the time to deliver.”
“Despite many efforts to help our most challenged communities, the East-West divide in our region continues to expand. Our regional organizations and cross-sector leaders must seize this moment, join hands with our communities, and deliver a continuous stream of initiatives that equip those who start out behind to develop the skills and the means to thrive,” said Rosie Allen-Herring, President and CEO, United Way of the National Capital Area.
“These American Rescue Plan Act funds are available with the expectation that all jurisdictions work together to improve our region. By looking broadly at our DMV assets, we see a real opportunity to develop Greater Washington not only to compete economically with the best in the world, but also to address long-standing issues that have contributed to disparities in growth and mobility among communities in this region,” said David Iannucci, President and CEO, Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation.
“Our community colleges are filled with highly talented, dedicated students, many of whom are demonstrating the grit and determination necessary to become the first college graduate in their family, despite social and economic adversities. By working together as a region, we are uniquely positioned to design effective, cross-sector partnerships that offer our students and community members boundary-spanning opportunities for economic prosperity,” said Dr. Falecia D. Williams, President of Prince George Community College.
“By combining workforce education and apprenticeship programs with wrap-around community supports, we can provide new on-ramps to economic and social mobility for historically underserved communities. Together, our region can establish ongoing cross-sector partnerships that help all residents of the DMV thrive and build the inclusive talent pipeline needed for accelerated regional growth,” said Dr. Anne M. Kress, President, Northern Virginia Community College.
“Our economic development officials across the DMV have taken a major step forward this past year in committing to work better together and with cross-sector leaders from the DMV. This next phase of the Regional Economic Development Strategy (REDS) stands to move us from good intentions to good results by pursuing and implementing a series of major initiatives to help the DMV grow responsibly,” said Victor Hoskins, President and CEO, Fairfax County Economic Development Authority.
The We Are Greater Washington joint program office, led by Connected DMV, will coordinate the prioritization and pursuit of funding opportunities for the region including ARPA funding recently announced by the EDA, the upcoming Innovation and Competition Act and other opportunities. It will be staffed with a Director and Associates from Connected DMV and staff associates from economic development and other key regional organizations. The joint program office will be managed by Connected DMV with the Regional Economic Development Strategy (REDS) initiative Steering Committee providing leadership, input and strategic guidance.
About Connected DMV
Connected DMV is an initiatives-based, charitable 501(c)(3) organization that works with regional organizations across Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia – the DMV – to help drive ongoing improvements to social, digital, and physical infrastructure. Connected DMV focuses on initiatives that span local jurisdictions and require public-private-academia-community collaboration to best achieve the dual objectives of enduring economic health and social equity. https://www.connecteddmv.org/
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