Fort Collins Area Chamber Secures $3.7M to Tackle Big Regional Issues
A couple of weeks ago in this space I wrote about the progress of the Chamber’s Northern Colorado Prospers 5-year strategic initiative campaign. I reported that we were closing in on the 5-year fund raising goal of $3.35 million.
At a celebration luncheon today at the Fort Collins Country Club, the Chamber’s Board of Directors announced the successful completion of the campaign. Ninety-three investors pledged over $3.7 million during the next five years for the strategic initiative.
The five-year key strategic initiative campaign was authorized by the Board last August. It was approved in response to a field study completed by Atlanta-based fund raising firm POWER 10. The firm interviewed 59 leaders in Northern Colorado and reported to the Board a high level of concern about congestion on I-25, the inability of employers to find talent and a challenging business environment. POWER 10 also found strong support for elevated efforts to retain existing primary employers and to help them to expand.
The four goals of Northern Colorado Prospers are:
- Fix North I-25. Secure the money to widen I-25 to 3 lanes each way between Highway 14 in Fort Collins and Highway 66 north of Longmont.
- Align, attract and retain talent. A Chamber-led effort in 2016-17 produced the first-ever talent development plan for the community. Northern Colorado Prospers produced the resources to implement it.
- Bold voice of business. This is about communicating to government officials and the public the connection between successful businesses, a strong economy and the having the means to pay for first-rate public quality of life amenities.
- Retain and expand existing business. Keeping and helping primary employers grow in place is the community’s top economic strategy.
The ripple effect of accomplishing these goals will include:
- new capital investment
- new high-grade jobs; these “direct” jobs will trigger additional “indirect” (supplier-type) and “induced” (service sector) jobs
- new payroll associated with direct, indirect and induced jobs
- new disposable personal income to be spent in the Fort Collins area; all local businesses will benefit
- new loan and deposit potential for area financial institutions
- new sales and property tax revenue paid to governments throughout the area
- improved quality of life for Fort Collins residents
Chamber Chair Lucia Liley, Liley Law, talked about how the campaign enables the Chamber to accomplish its mission. “The role of the Chamber is to help create an economically vital community so we have the means to pay for the great community quality of life amenities we all enjoy… We are focused on creating the kind of community we’re all proud to live in,” she said. “To have that kind of impact, the Chamber needs to be clearly focused and properly resourced. And that is the purpose of the Northern Colorado Prospers campaign.”
Since mid-September a team of business leaders, Chamber staff and consultants from POWER 10 have been meeting with companies and organizations in Northern Colorado.
The response was very strong and positive. All four goals and the challenges they address were seen as the right priorities for the Chamber to tackle.
The lead investors were Otter Products, Blue Ocean Enterprises, Comcast, UCHealth, Woodward, Colorado State University, Advanced Energy, Elevations Credit Union, Guaranty Bank, Blue Federal Credit Union, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Anheuser-Busch, Bank of Colorado, Markley Motors, Noosa, and Morning Fresh Dairy.
The campaign was led by the Chamber’s Immediate Past Chair Kevin Unger, President/CEO of Poudre Hospital and Medical Center of the Rockies, UC Health.
Serving on the Campaign Advisory Council were Gerry Agnes, President/CEO, Elevations Credit Union; Gene Bocis, General Manager, Anheuser-Busch; Mike Dellenbach, President, Dellenbach Motors; and Connie Dohn, CFO, Dohn Construction
The Campaign Operations Committee included John Carroll, President, Ed Carroll Motor Company; Brad Foster, Vice President, HPE (retired May 10, 2017); Carl Maxey, Executive Vice President, MGS, Inc.; Yvonne Myers, Health Systems Director, Columbine Health Systems; Steve Nichols, President, High Country Beverage; Chris Otto, Partner, EKS&H; and Nicole Staudinger, Market President, FirstBank of Northern Colorado
All Chamber staff supported the campaign with the core NCP team including Audrey Fraijo, Campaign Coordinator; Cortney Moore, Campaign Scheduler; Kim Medina, Special Campaign Advisor; and me.
Progress on the four Northern Colorado Prospers goals will benefit the area for years to come. “We live in a wonderful place, but it is really important to get ahead of challenges like congestion on I-25,” said Kevin Unger. The Chamber is now in a position to apply appropriate resources because of Northern Colorado Prospers. It was fun to be part of this.”