From left to right: East Bay EDA Executive Director Karen Engel, Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson and County Administrator Susan Muranishi.
The East Bay Economic Development Alliance (EDA), the largest business group of its kind in the East Bay, celebrated its 20th Anniversary in Oakland on Thursday, December 2. The group spotlighted the East Bay Indicators Report (EBIR) which highlighted the innovative industries that will help the region pull through the Great Recession.
Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson, who has been Chair of the organization for the past 15 years, said “The organization was founded to bring together leaders from our diverse community to solve major challenges that directly and indirectly affect us in the East Bay, the Bay Area Region and Northern California.”
One of the EDA’s first successes was helping to secure $258 million in federal funding for a dredging project that deepened the channels leading to the Port of Oakland. They were a part of a consortium of diverse groups that forged an agreement that protected wildlife and at the same time allowed for newer container ships to enter the port.
In the late 1990s, they helped save jobs and prevented some closures in the food processing industry, with East Bay MUD’s help, when they fashioned a plan to increase efficiency in the areas of water and utility usage
EDA helped secure development bond monies to help open new businesses and increase the competitive opportunities for organizations in the region. The bonds are estimated to have created 11,730 jobs. Recently, EDA has also helped connect former NUMMI employees with employment services and opportunities for retraining.
The EBIR reveals that while the real median household income decreased by nearly $2,000 from 2008 to 2009 nonprofit, funding for arts and culture expenditures have soared in the last ten years, reaching almost a quarter of a billion dollars.