Uplift Central Coast

A 6-county coalition contributing to a comprehensive approach to regional economic resilience.

The six-county Uplift Central Coast Coalition — led by REACH, the Economic Development Collaborative (EDC) and Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) — is excited to announce its continued partnership to develop an application and secure our region’s share of California’s new $600 million Community Economic Resilience Fund (CERF).

The purpose of CERF is to support new plans and strategies to diversify local economies and develop sustainable industries that create high-quality, broadly accessible jobs for all Californians.

The CERF strategy is based on triple bottom line principles and values — economy, equity and environment — and calls for input from and ultimate benefit to disadvantaged, disproportionately impacted and under-represented communities.

Moving forward, our broadened Uplift Central Coast initiative will identify, prioritize and invest in a wide range of workforce and economic development projects, while contributing to a comprehensive approach to regional economic resilience. Our efforts and partnerships will continue to cover the six-county region: Santa Cruz, San Benito, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura counties. Grants of up to $5 million per region will be awarded this fall to support inclusive engagement and planning efforts to inform regional investment opportunities.

If you would like to stay engaged, track progress, or participate with this coalition, join us!

Read and download a one-page backgrounder about the Community Economic Resilience Fund (CERF).

Share your comments, ideas, and suggestions with us by filling out this brief form.

Watch the recording from the Uplift Central Coast Roundtable

View and download the slide deck presentation


A quick look at the regional grant opportunity

What's CERF?

California’s Community Economic Resilience Fund — CERF for short — is a $600 million program created to catalyze planning and action to realize an equitable and sustainable economy across the state’s diverse regions and develop industries that create high-quality, broadly accessible jobs for all Californians.

Our six-county region has been identified as one of 13 regions eligible for a $5 million planning grant, with potential to compete for a larger implementation investment. The planning grants are intended to create an inclusive economic development process with a focus on equity, sustainability, job quality, economic competitiveness and resilience.

Learn more about CERF

Who's Involved?

Led by REACH, MBEP and EDC, the Uplift partnership is assembling a collaborative regional coalition that reflects the diversity of the Central Coast to work together to build a more inclusive economy.

Our organizations are working eagerly to broaden the tent to maximize this opportunity for our region.

Our table of tables includes: 

  • Community-based organizations
    Represent triple bottom line interests
    Advance equity, environmental and social justice
  • Education + workforce development
    Full continuum of preschool through higher education
    Workforce Development Boards as key funders and enablers of career pathways and training ecosystems
  • Employees/labor
    Represent broad spectrum of workers and demographics
    Advocate for labor rights and inclusive opportunity
  • Government
    Sets policy and provides funding
    Delivers services
    Protects residents
  • Investors/funders
    Provide capital, investment
    Participate in risk/reward transfer for new ideas
  • Private sector/employers
    Hire/retain and grow talent
    Operationalize innovation and employment
    Provide goods and services

(Note: this represents a framework of the Central Coast ecosystem — dubbed a High Road Transition Collaborative by the state — and is not meant to be exhaustive of the entire current or future ecosystem.)

REACH is serving as the regional convener, facilitating meetings and organizing an inclusive group of stakeholders. EDC is serving as the fiscal agent, responsible for grant management. 


July 25, 2022 | Deadline for Uplift to submit planning grant application

Leading up to the due date, Uplift will be working to mobilize a diverse Central Coast ecosystem of stakeholders, develop a vision and goals, and craft an inclusive outreach and engagement plan and process.

October-2024 | Phase 1: Planning 

If awarded a grant, Uplift would enter the 18-24 month planning phase. This involves: building out Central Coast ecosystem to include additional voices and perspectives; implementing an inclusive outreach and engagement plan; and developing a regional plan with collaborative partnerships.

Beyond | Phase 2: Programs and Projects 

Going forward, Uplift will work to advance and implement projects and programs resulting from the inclusive regional planning efforts. The state has set aside $500 million, though the planning phase is also intended as a catalyst to compete for a range of other federal, philanthropic and state funding.


Many regions have what’s called a CEDS: a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy. REACH is in the process of developing a CEDS for San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties, with REACH 2030 designated as the region’s temporary CEDS.

In short: Similar names, different programs. Here’s a chart to help keep them straight.

Learn more about the CEDS project