EDA and Utah to Fund $550K Project to Boost Rural Investment

October 20, 2020

Watch the live event on Youtube.

For Immediate Release


Grant Baskerville

Sorenson Impact Center


(801) 910-1442



The Economic Development Administration (EDA) and State of Utah have jointly awarded the Sorenson Impact Center and the Utah Association of Counties (UAC) a $550,000 grant to develop and deliver the Rural Opportunity Zone and Recovery Playbook and technical training to 21 rural counties.


The two-year project aims to stimulate and support impact-oriented job creation and investment in Utah’s rural communities. The playbook is a detailed best practice guide spanning six core areas: monitoring and tracking the impact of projects; understanding and assessing community needs; developing an investment pipeline; layering local, state, and federal incentives; marketing and communications; and investor outreach. 


The playbook will draw on best practices around opportunity zones and other impact-oriented investments taking place in rural communities across the nation. It will offer elected officials, economic development specialists, and local developers key insights and guidance on how to attract, structure, and deliver impact projects to underserved communities in rural Utah. 


Ryan Starks, Managing Director at the Governor’s Office of Economic Development said:


“This announcement represents an exciting advancement of the work initially catalyzed by our state legislature back in 2018. With support from our office at GOED, we're delighted to see the Utah Association of Counties and the Sorenson Impact Center continue their transformative work with an emphasis on our rural communities statewide.”


Geoff Davis, CEO of the Sorenson Impact Center, said:


“We are grateful to the Economic Development Administration and Governor’s Office of Economic Development for supporting this exciting project. Utah can be at the forefront of catalyzing impact capital to entrepreneurs in rural communities as a Covid-19 recovery strategy. We hope the lessons learned through this project can serve as a model for rural communities across the nation.”


Brandy Grace, CEO of the Utah Association of Counties, said:

“This work is a great example of how collaboration between different stakeholders is key to ensuring opportunity zone capital flows to our rural areas. Utilizing an initial grant from the state, a partnership with an endowed institute at the University of Utah (in the Sorenson Impact Center), and now federal funding from the EDA to create a playbook aimed at assisting our member counties statewide, it truly shows how rural economic development can be transformed."