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Rockford Chamber and RAEDC take next steps toward unification

The board of directors of the Rockford Area Economic Development Council (RAEDC) and the Rockford Chamber of Commerce (Rockford Chamber) passed a resolution recently to pursue and develop plans for a “Partnership Umbrella” model as the structure to unify the organizations.

A joint task force made up of Rockford Chamber and RAEDC board members concluded a three-month study to research and evaluate ten national models for unification. They chose and recommended the “Partnership Umbrella” model used in cities like Topeka, Kansas, as the best solution for Rockford.

Under the “Partnership Umbrella” structure, the Rockford Chamber, RAEDC and its shared services like HR, operations, marketing and IT 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.

As part of the resolution, the boards will jointly hire a facilitator to help the directors and task force develop a plan for uniting the organizations. The task force set a goal for completion of the plan for the first quarter of 2020.

“At that time, both boards will have the opportunity to issue a yes/no vote on the unification plan and, if approved, begin implementation,”  said Task Force Chairman Jeff Hultman. “Our task force work helped us conclude that both organizations will be stronger, more accountable, more efficient and more effective working more closely together.”

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