The year long fund-raising campaign for establishing the Chesterfield County Economic Development Alliance, that exceeded the expectations of many, is “a living thing,” said Brenda Workman, director of the Chesterfield County Economic Development Board.
Since last week, she said, the total has risen by about $15,000. “We currently stand at $945,000 and have approximately $200,000 in pledges still to come.” The goal was to reach $800,000.
“Now that we’ve got the money,” said Workman, “people want to know what’s next. What are we going to do with it?”
The truth is, no one knows yet, she said.
As Workman explains, the deep rooted plan to bring more money into the county calls for a chain of events. Even though the initial fund-raising goal has been met, the long range plan to secure money for the program is actually a five-year plan, she said.
Feasibility studies have already determined three areas in which the money will be appropriated; training for future employees, infrastructure, and recruitment of new business. The next step, however, is to establish a board of directors. According to Workman, it will be January before those people can be appointed, oriented to the bylaws of the organization, and ready to make the decisions on exactly where and how the money will be spent.
The board will be comprised of business people with vested interests in the Alliance, with at least one member from Chesterfield County Council and the Chesterfield County Economic Development Board.
“The idea is to work in tandem with council and the programs already in place with the Chesterfield County Economic Development Board,” said Workman. The organization, which will be a separate entity, has been established as a 501(c)(3) non-profit group.
“The hardest part was raising the money,” said Workman. “But the success of the campaign proves the business community, the municipalities and county council are ready to work together to improve the economic condition of Chesterfield County.”
Workman, who has seen this program succeed in other places, said, “We’ve gotten major contributors from every area of the county. Even county council’s vote of approval was unanimous, and that gives us confidence.”
“We have a track,” said Workman. “We have a plan. And we’re ready to roll out.”
— Staff Writer Karen Kissiah can be reached by calling 843-537-5261, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.