Building Community Wealth in Imperial & San Diego CountIES


Welcome to the Collaborative

The Southern Border CERF Collaborative is a growing group of organizations committed to collaborating on a bi-county proposal for the Community Economic Resilience Fund (CERF).

By bringing together a set of regional planning tables across Imperial Valley and San Diego, our goal is to create a broad and inclusive proposal development and planning process to diversify and strengthen our local economies and grow sustainable industries that create high-quality jobs for all. Our core focus is to ensure that this collaborative and our shared proposal reflect the needs and priorities of communities and stakeholders across the region and generate ideas and project opportunities to build community wealth for years to come.

We will continue to expand this website and add key updates so that everyone can stay informed and contribute actively to the proposal development process. We invite you to join our growing collaboration. All are welcome and we encourage you to sign-up below to get involved.

“Community- and worker-centered inclusive economic planning has never been attempted at this scale. The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated in stark relief that our economy did not work for all, and the same approach to economic planning is not an option. Although this process will be new and challenging, including voices that have been traditionally left out of economic planning is an important means to achieve equitable outcomes.” (CERF Planning Draft Guidelines April 22, 2022)


The Community Economic Resilience Fund (CERF) is a new $600 million California State funding opportunity to support an equitable and sustainable economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications will be accepted from 13 established regions across the state. Imperial County and San Diego County together comprise the Southern Border Region. Collaboratives must include representation from community organizations, economic development, and business groups, local governments and agencies, labor groups, Tribal nations, and other stakeholders, including but not limited to, philanthropy, education, and workforce partner organizations. A winning proposal from each region will receive a $5 million two-year planning grant and enable the collaborative to compete for a share of $500 million in statewide implementation grants.

CERF is a once-in-a-generation chance to create a shared vision for the Southern Border Region's future and create space for Imperial and  San Diego Counties to work more closely together to benefit each other. An initial collaborative of organizations across Imperial and San Diego Counties has come together to create a big tent and broad strategic partnerships to build community wealth through the CERF proposal development process. We would love for you to join the process!

The CERF Program Structure Is Designed FoR:

Inclusive Planning

Inclusive engagement across diverse regional stakeholders will be a foundational step in the diversification of California’s economies and the creation of high-quality and broadly accessible jobs

Regional Flexibility

CERF planning grants will allow for flexible economic analysis at various geographic scales, including economic flows between different regions, and implementation grants will allow for projects that cross regional boundaries

Leveraging Funds

CERF will leverage state investments (e.g., High Road Training Partnerships, capacity building programs), federal investments (e.g EDA BBB Challenge), and philanthropic and private-sector investments to maximize recovery


We submitted our CERF proposal on Friday. 7/22. We hope to hear back in the coming months! The submitted proposal can be viewed at the link below
Southern Border CERF Proposal

Full Collaborative
Meetings (60 Min)

Wednesday, 7/20 @ 1:30 PT
 Zoom Signup

Proposal Leadership
Check-In Meetings (30 Min)

Wednesday, 7/20 @ 2:30 PT

Proposal Leadership Group Working Meetings (90 Min)

Wednesday, 7/13 @ 1:30 PT

Upcoming Events

Please sign up below to stay informed on next steps.

Full Collaborative
Meetings (60 Min)

Wednesday, 7/20 @ 1:30 PT
 Zoom Signup

Proposal Leadership
Check-In Meetings (30 Min)

Wednesday, 7/20 @ 2:30 PT

Proposal Leadership Group Working Meetings (90 Min)

Wednesday, 7/13 @ 1:30 PT



Proposals are due July 25, 2022 by 3:00 p.m. PT

Past Collaborative Meetings

July 6th Collaborative Gathering: Recording | Slides

June 22nd Collaborative Gathering: Recording | Slides

June 8th Collaborative Gathering: Part 1 | Part 2 | Slides

May 25th Collaborative Gathering: Recording | Slides

Proposal Leadership Group Slides: 6/1 | 6/15

Imperial Valley County Gathering: Recording

San Diego County Gathering: Recording

a growing coalition

Below is a snapshot of the organizations that have been involved in CERF pre-proposal conversations in our region. To date, there are six key priority areas that have emerged organically from these early discussions. Each topic area is associated with organizations representing both counties and we anticipate lots of interaction across priority areas through the planning process. To explore further, you can hover your cursor over a topic or an organization to see how they are connected. 

Don't see your organization on the diagram below or notice a mistake? Please reach out! We’ll look forward to working with you to make sure your organization’s priorities are correctly reflected.

get involved

To keep informed and engage in the CERF proposal development process, please share your name, organization, and email address. You will receive a survey asking about your priorities, the level of time you would like to dedicate to this process, and how to continually expand the Southern Border CERF collaborative to better represent regional needs and opportunities.

Thank you for sharing your contact information. We will follow up with you shortly.
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Additional Questions?

We want to hear from you. Please reach out to both of co-conveners or fiscal agent.

Roque Barros, Jr.
Imperial Valley Wellness Foundation

Kathie Lembo

Susan Guinn
San Diego Regional Policy & Innovation Center