CSAC Bulletin Article

CERF Catalyst Program Provides up to $26.5 Million per Region to Support Pre-Development Activities

August 3, 2023

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) recently published information about the Community Economic Resilience Fund (CERF) Catalyst Program. Through the Catalyst Program, each specified region can apply for up to $26.5 million to support the early development of projects that could become eligible for future CERF implementation funding. CSAC submitted comments to EDD in July 2023 in support of the program.

Background: The CERF Program

The 2021 State Budget Act established the CERF, and appropriated $600 million to support economic development projects aimed at establishing high-quality jobs, improving equity, and supporting economic diversification for a climate-resilient economy. To administer the CERF Program’s funds, California’s counties were divided into 13 economic regions. These 13 regions are eligible to receive planning grants and implementation funds on a competitive basis.  CSAC previously reported on the availability of up to $50 million of CERF Program funds for projects that have emerged from existing regional processes or plans and are ready for implementation. Those grant awards were announced in May, including a list of the projects receiving CERF funds.

CERF Update: The Catalyst Program

Catalyst Program funds can be awarded to identify parcels for development, create revolving loan funds to support businesses prioritized for CERF, and invest in pre-development of projects to become ready for implementation funding. Examples of the pre-development activities that can be supported through the Catalyst Program include feasibility studies, market analyses, environmental assessments, permitting, basic environmental infrastructure pre-development, or other activities that will support early project development.

Key Dates and Deadlines:



Thursday, August 31, 2023

Regional Plan Part 1 due to EDD

Friday, September 1, 2023

Release of Catalyst Program solicitation by EDD

November 2023

Catalyst Program applications due

December 2023

Scoring and announcement of grant awards

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Release of grant funds

Sunday, June 30, 2024

Regional Plan Part 2 is due to EDD

Additional Resources for Counties:

For more information about CERF, including project timelines, enacting legislation, and fact sheets, visit the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research’s CERF resource website or contact the CERF administrators via email at WSBCERF@edd.ca.gov.

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