- Category: Top Stories
- Published on Friday, 07 September 2012 01:00
- Written by Nicholas Shannon Kulmac
The Columbia River Economic Development Council (CREDC) publicly kicked off a new capital campaign this week. Opportunity Clark County will fund the organization’s operating budget of $1.1 million per year from 2013 to 2017.
The $1.1 million figure set by the CREDC represents a $300,000 increase over the public-private organization’s current budget, set during the 2008-2012 Forward Thinking, Direct Action campaign, which concludes at the end of this year.
CREDC President Lisa Nisenfeld said the additional funds would be used to expand the organization’s business growth program, increase networking events, grow entrepreneurship activities and to hire a key full-time
“Assuring that we have buildable, market-ready industrial land, making sure our regulatory environment is competitive and participating in the county’s comprehensive plan update is really a full time job,” said Nisenfeld. “We’re hoping the proceeds from the campaign will enable us to hire someone who specializes in those areas.”
Diane Dempcy, the council’s manager of investor relations and communications, said the CREDC is also developing a more robust investor relations program.
“This is one of the things that we’ve been promising the companies that are investing with us,” she noted.
Having launched a silent phase of the capital campaign in March 2012, Dempcy said at press time that the organization has already raised just over $3 million. That puts the campaign at 55% of the $5.5 million goal. She attributed much of that early support to investor confidence in the direction the council is headed – specifically regarding the implementation of the Clark County Strategic Plan.
“Lisa [Nisenfeld] likes to say that economic development is a team sport and it takes a village,” said Dempcy. “This campaign really is a rally cry to invest in the CREDC because we do have a plan. We are the conveners or the overseers of the plan. However, we can’t implement it alone, so we need the village to help us.”
With an eye on the coming year, Nisenfeld said the CREDC has entered into a small contract with TIP Strategies (the firm commissioned to develop the county’s strategic plan) to help reinforce the development council’s strategic efforts. Additionally, she said the organization would continue to “work on issues that directly affect our business climate, especially when cities and other [public entities] can’t stand up and take an official position.”
“We need to take that lead and say, ‘this is our business climate, this is how it affects us,’” Nisenfeld said.
Using the state’s stormwater policy as an example, the CREDC president said the council received a great amount of positive feedback from the business community after it sent a critical position paper on the subject to Olympia last month.
“I can’t tell you how many atta girls I got,” she said. “People were really pleased. Now they are going to be watching to see if we’re going to keep that pressure up. And we have every intention of doing that.”