(Charleston, W.Va.) – The City of Charleston today announced the Appalachian Climate Technologies Coalition (ACT Now Coalition) of West Virginia was chosen for a U. S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant award totaling $62.8M. The ACT Now Coalition and the City of Charleston were one of only 21 winners—out of 529 applications submitted from across the country—for this highly competitive grant.

The ACT Now Coalition launched in Fall 2021, and led by non-profit Coalfield Development Corporation, brought together the top leaders of West Virginia’s two largest cities Charleston and Huntington along with the coalfield community Logan; our top two educational institutions West Virginia University and Marshall University, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice and West Virginia Development Director Michael Graney; the state’s leading community and economic non-profits including Generation West Virginia, the West Virginia Community Development Hub, the Charleston Area Alliance, Advantage Valley, the West Virginia Hive, the West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Centers, the Central Appalachia Network, the Nature Conservancy and others; and over 50 private sector businesses and job creators.

Charleston Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin believes the ACT Now Coalition will provide tremendous opportunities for progress in West Virginia communities.

“The ACT Now Coalition has written the playbook on how we can move West Virginia forward – and that’s together. It is through partnerships and collaborations, West Virginia can and will be at its best and most competitive. We have shown, today, we can compete with anyone in the country,” said Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin.

Charleston’s Learning, Innovation, Food, and Technology (LIFT) Center is an initiative lead by the City of Charleston and the Charleston Area Alliance—in partnership with Marshall University, Coalfield Development Corporation, the regional economic development organization Advantage Valley, and private sector companies that will transform the 9-acre, 110,000 sq. ft. Kanawha Manufacturing plant located on Charleston’s East End into the LIFT Center.  The LIFT Center will include the new Marshall Green Battery Institute which will provide research and development on electric batteries for clean vehicles, zero-emissions airplanes, and renewable energy storage; a Coalfield Development job training center; and a food hub run by Refresh Appalachia. The LIFT Center will also include private investments by innovative companies including Parthian Battery Solutions—electric battery repurposing; BETA Air – zero-emissions, electric vertical takeoff and landing airplanes, which will start using West Virginia International Yeager Airport); Dickinson Renewables – launched by West Virginia’s oldest company; and Edelen Renewables—an Appalachian innovator in solar projects.

"Charleston now has the opportunity to become the capital of innovation, healthy food production, and green technologies with a skilled workforce to support the Learning, Innovation, Food, and Technology (LIFT) Center. The creation of the LIFT Center will transform not only Charleston’s East End, but our entire Capital City. We are truly grateful to the U.S. Department of Commerce for helping us launch this monumental economic development endeavor," said Mayor Goodwin.

The Charleston Area Alliance is incredibly proud to be part of this truly historic occasion,” said Nicole Christian, President and CEO, Charleston Area Alliance. “We are so excited to be part of the ACT Now Coalition and be selected as one of the projects. It proves that the leaders of these communities are committed to creating a bright future for West Virginia. Through the Alliance’s leadership on the LIFT Center project, the Charleston area will help to transform our traditional assets into tomorrow’s resources which will create the necessary tools and opportunities for our future.”

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) provided $1 billion to the U.S. EDA for a major economic development initiative.  The U.S. EDA launched the competition, inviting regions from across America to put forward the most innovative ideas for economic renewal.  From the 529 applications EDA received in October 2021, 60 finalists emerged in December 2021.  Coalfield Development was one of the finalists. CEO Brandon Dennison went to the White House with top national leadership, the ACT Now Coalition, and the other finalists where they received $500,000 grants to get their economic revitalization plans ready for implementation.  In March 2022, the ACT Now Coalition submitted their proposals, and on September 2, 2022 the White House announced that West Virginia’s Act Now Coalition had won.