Development funds key

Funding economic development in any region remains a challenge; however, the rewards of a successful agency and strategy far outweigh the costs. Economic development is never a short term strategy, but a long term process.

It takes years to develop and grow, as we have seen most recently here in Marquette County with a population growth of 3.8 percent during the last census. Now is the time to turn up the heat in our development efforts and not be complacent.

That is where the support of our Chairman’s Circle partners comes in. The money invested by these visionary businesses fund additional resources necessary to take our economic development journey to the next level.

The Chairman’s Circle is an exclusive program of the LSCP that strives for combined and diversifiedfinancial investment. It is open to businesses and organizations that choose to enhance their commitment to economic development, which essentially generates community wealth. The program is designed for businesses to participate both hands-on and financially. All funds are directed to the Lake Superior Community Partnership Foundation, a 501(c)3 corporation, which may providea tax incentive for your investment. Funds are restricted exclusively for economic development activities and the successful implementation of our Strategic Plan.

The businesses who are a part of Chairman’s Circle receive many benefits. Some exclusive benefits include semi-annual economic development briefings/input sessions, an annual reception with invited legislators, weekly economic development updates, a complimentary eblast to LSCP partners and VIP receptions throughout the year.

Chairman’s Circle members also receive discounts on LSCP events and special recognition throughout the year.

We are grateful to our current Chairman’s Circle members which include: A. Lindberg & Sons, Inc., American Transmission Company, AT&T, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Champion, Inc, Checker Bus, Cliffs Natural Resources, Eagle Mine, Frei Chevrolet, Holiday Stationstores, Integrated Design, Iron Range Agency, J.M. Longyear, LLC, Marquette Board of Light and Power, Marquette General, a Duke LifePoint Hospital, Mining Journal, Northern Michigan Bank, Northern Michigan University, Northern Tire, Oasis Fuel, Advanced Center for Orthopedics, Range Bank, Semco, TriMedia Environmental & Engineering, U.P. Catholic Credit Union, U.P. Health Plan, U.P. Home Health, Hospice & Private Duty, Upper Peninsula Power Company, VAST, Veridea Group, We Energies, Wells Fargo and Wolverine Power Cooperative.

The main goal of economic development is improving the economic well-being of a community through efforts that entail job creation, job retention, tax base enhancements and quality of life. So we all benefit when the communities economic development strategies are successful, but ultimately whose responsibility is it to fund the activities? I would argue it is all of our responsibility.

The LSCP is a private-public partnership funded 75 percent privately, a split we have proudly maintained since our inception in 1998. As we enter budget season, I urge you to consider how you can play a role in economic development in our community.

For information on getting your company involved with the Chairman’s Circle, visi orcall at 906-226-6591.

Editor’s note: Amy Clickner is CEO?of the Lake Superior Community Partnership. Her twice-monthly column will address topics of interest to the local business community.