Rockford Chamber, Area Economic Development Council vote to unify

Transform Rockford also submitted a letter in support of unifying the organizations.
The City of Rockford
The City of Rockford(The City of Rockford)
Published: Jul. 1, 2020 at 10:45 AM CDT
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The board of directors of the Rockford Area Economic Development Council and the Rockford Chamber of Commerce voted to unify their organizations to align goals.

Under the plan, the Rockford Chamber and RAEDC would be unified but not merged, working together on coordinated agendas for the region but retaining their separate boards. The organizations will also share services like event planning, marketing, and fundraising and will be legally housed under an umbrella 501c3 organization, according to the two groups in a statement on Tuesday.

Volunteer members of both boards will form a Unification Implementation Team to iron out the details. The Team will develop guidelines for governance, operations, fundraising and marketing. The group will also begin legal and financial filings, develop budgets, plan for year one of operations and hire a CEO to oversee the umbrella 501c3 organization, with a targeted date of Jan. 1, 2021 to have the new structure in place.

“This is happening across the country,” task force chair Jeff Hultman said. “Our research and evaluation over the past 18 months looked at ten models for unification of Chambers and Economic Development organizations nationwide. In studying best practices, the state of the Rockford region, and where we want to go as a community moving forward, we are convinced that now is the time to unify to ensure our community’s success moving forward.”

The Chamber and RAEDC were jointly managed until 2004 when they separated. Hultman and both boards of directors believe now is the time to align together again.

“The region’s ability to grow and prosper is dependent upon the business community speaking with a unified voice, working from a coordinated agenda, and collectively measuring and achieving key metrics,” Hultman said.

Transform Rockford also submitted a letter in support of unifying the organizations.

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