Local First Arizona launches the Arizona Economic Recovery Center

Aims to increase capacity for more cities, towns, and nonprofits to win competitive federal, state, and foundation grants to build a stronger economy

Contributed Article

PHOENIX – After the economic downturn of 2008, Arizona was the 50th state to reach pre-recession levels of economic activity. Local First Arizona is launching the Arizona Economic Recovery Center, with support from Senator Mark Kelly and Governor Doug Ducey, to ensure every corner of the state has the opportunity to build back stronger from the COVID-19 pandemic. A well-rounded recovery will require Arizona leadership and its community organizations to work together to compete for forward-looking grants and stimulus funds to create a more sustainable and resilient economy and future. 

“Arizona is at a turning point. While fairing better nationally than most states, we also have an opportunity to help shape what local economies look like in the coming decades, and ensure every corner of Arizona has the opportunity to succeed”, said Local First Arizona CEO Kimber Lanning.

Economic vitality is possible when there is strategic organizing among communities. For example, with the help of Local First, the Nalwoodi Denzhone Community on San Carlos Apache was able to secure a $250,000 grant to further advance their food system work, including growing and distributing fresh food to improve access to healthy food in the region while creating jobs.

Senator Mark Kelly and Governor Doug Ducey echoed their support:

“It’s an honor to be part of Arizona Economic Recovery Center’s launch. Getting our economy back on track is a top priority, and the passage of the COVID-19 relief bill was a critical first step, but the work doesn’t stop there. Arizona needs to bring good-paying jobs and investment, not just to big metropolitan areas, but to rural areas as well. The Center will be a critical part of that by working with local governments and community leaders to bring investment and opportunity to every corner of our state. I look forward to partnering with Local First Arizona and our cities and towns to rebuild Arizona’s economy for the future,” said Senator Mark Kelly.

“As our economy continues to reach new heights, local businesses and organizations across the state should have easy access to competitive federal grants,” said Governor Doug Ducey. “The Arizona Economic Recovery Center will help Arizona communities land additional funding for projects that expand opportunities and job growth throughout our state. Local First Arizona has a track record of success and Arizona is proud to expand that work.”

Qualifying communities:

  • Do not have a dedicated staff for development
  • Are interested in applying for work that supports a regional or local strategic plan
  • Have a proposed application that includes at least three partnering organizations
  • Have an idea that can be initiated before 2023

The Arizona Economic Recovery Center serves communities statewide by:

  • researching and simplifying grants and stimulus opportunities
  • identifying funding sources for large and small projects
  • connecting funding sources to communities in need of funding
  • providing the additional capacity for grant writing, facilitation, and project management to ensure success rates for qualifying communities and nonprofits.

The Arizona Economic Recovery Center was made possible in part by funding from the State of Arizona, Vitalyst Health Foundation, Freeport-McMoRan Foundation, and the Arizona Community Foundation.

To learn more or sign up for weekly listings of available grants, visit: www.localfirstaz.com/economic-recovery-center.

About Local First Arizona

Founded in 2003 by Kimber Lanning, Local First Arizona (LFA) is a community and economic development organization working to strengthen local economies. LFA educates consumers about the interconnectedness of the economy, trains small businesses to be more effective and more competitive, helps larger Arizona businesses and institutions tell their story as champions of Arizona, and creates programs and events that make it fun and easy to discover local businesses and buy local. Visit www.localfirstaz.com for more information and a directory of more than 3,000 locally owned businesses.