RAEDC & Rockford Chamber Unification

RAEDC Rockford Chamber Unification Logo

Facilitator Selection

The unification task force hired Avalanche Consulting from Austin, TX

The task force considered several firms, evaluating proposals from four. Avalanche was chosen due to:

  • Vast industry experience including 150 clients, small to large, in the economic development/Chamber arena
  • Fresh, outside view of our region coupled with national best practices
  • Focus on economic development strategies, organizational assessments, workforce development, marketing and research

Avalanche Consulting will assist with:

  • Stakeholder Input
  • Organizational Structure within Partnership Umbrella model
  • Governance
  • Funding Model
  • Goals/Programs
  • Performance Measures
  • Implementation Workshops, as needed
  • Follow-up, as needed

What is “Partnership Umbrella” Structure?

  • Unified but not merged
  • Under the “Partnership Umbrella” structure, the Rockford Chamber, RAEDC and its shared services like HR, operations, marketing and I.T. would be housed under an umbrella 501C6 organization; they would retain their separate boards and individual focus but would work together on coordinated agendas for the region
  • Existing political action committee will be held outside of this structure

How We Got Here

  • Members of both organizations’ boards began discussions several months ago
  • Both boards agreed to form a Unification Task Force in May, made up of members of both boards, to consider unification of the organizations
  • Task Force began meeting in June to evaluate ten national models for unification
  • Both boards passed a resolution in September to pursue and develop plans for a “Partnership Umbrella” model for unification
  • Task force hired a facilitator in October
  • Goal set for completing the unification plan by end of first quarter of 2020

Historical Note:  The Chamber and RAEDC were jointly managed until 2004 when they separated for a variety of reasons

Next Steps

  • Avalanche Consulting will begin with a survey, focus groups and stakeholder input in the next 30 days
  • They will then do on-site meetings, off-site consulting and develop a unification plan
  • Both boards will have the opportunity to issue a yes/no vote on the unification plan and, if approved, begin implementation in the 2nd quarter of 2020

Overall Goal for Unification of Chamber and RAEDC

“The Rockford regional business community believes that by speaking with a unified voice, working from a coordinated agenda, and collectively committing to measuring and achieving key outcome metrics, our region will grow and prosper.”

Guiding Principles:

  • Clear Focus. Both organizations need to solidify their respective focus areas, enhancing collaboration and unification of what needs to get done and who owns it. 
  • Governance Best Practices.  Enact best practices for organizational governance in both organizations. 
  • Accountability. Ensure we, not only track activity but also results and impact from the organizations’ respective plans.
  • Strategic shared business services.  Both organizations need to work toward shared services to free up dollars for more strategic investment.