Regarding the Partnership’s new organization
Background on GRP 1994-2013
What is the Greater Richmond Partnership's mission?
The short answer is “jobs, capital investment (new tax base) and regional cooperation.” The long answer is in our mission statement: “To help grow the Greater Richmond economy through the attraction of high quality jobs and new capital investment, the retention of existing businesses, and the continued improvement of the region’s business climate.”
Why was it formed?
While most local jurisdictions began setting up their own economic development offices in the 1960s and 1970s, it became obvious from questions from the business community that a regional organization was needed to market Greater Richmond as a whole. Local governments joined in forming such an organization (the Metropolitan Economic Development Council, or MEDC) in 1980, but success continued to be less than desired. In July 1994, the business community joined in through the Greater Richmond Chamber as a 50-50 partner to form the Greater Richmond Partnership, Inc. This new organization was Greater Richmond’s first real experiment in public-private regional economic development cooperation.
What has been the relationship between the Partnership and the Greater Richmond Chamber?
The Partnership and Chamber have a symbiotic relationship going back to 1994 when the Chamber's leadership proposed setting up a public-private regional economic development organization with the region’s four local governments. The Chamber manages the Partnership’s 150 private sector contributions through its 501(c) Foundation and provides quarterly checks to the Partnership. The Chamber also appoints the four private sector members that sit on the Partnership's Board.
Finally, the Partnership contracts with the Chamber for specific business services, such as small business formation and workforce development. These contracts have specific metrics tied to the Partnership's five-year goals.
How has the Partnership been funded?
Half by the business community, through reinvestment campaigns conducted by the Greater Richmond Chamber and the Partnership every five years, and half by the public sector (the City of Richmond and the counties of Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico). Each public partner pays the same amount for its Greater Richmond Partnership, Inc. services. A list of investors can be found here.
What was the board makeup?
Half of the board's eight members come from the private sector (usually top executives of major corporations that invest in the Greater Richmond Partnership, Inc.) and half from the public sector (usually top elected official from each jurisdiction). The position of chair rotates between public-sector and private-sector members of the board on an annual basis.
What is the size of the Partnership's staff?
The Partnership has ten full-time staff members in the Richmond office. Additionally, the Partnership has a consultant in Kent, England, who serves the UK and Northern Europe.
What have been the Partnership’s programs?
The Partnership has four main program areas: Business Attraction and Regional Marketing, Business Retention and Expansion, Talent Development and Promotion, and New Small Business Formation and Small Business Support. Research, information and communications support these programs.
Going forward starting Oct. 1, 2013
How will the change affect the day-to-day work of the Partnership?
The Greater Richmond Partnership’s mission remains the same, however by relinquishing the workforce development, talent promotion and small business development responsibilities, it will free us to focus on what we do best which is the attraction of high quality jobs and new capital investment, the retention of existing businesses, and the overall improvement of the region’s business climate.
One asset that the public may see a change is in our online career tool, RichmondJobNet.com, which will find a new home in the upcoming months. RichmondJobNet.com has served the community as a free resource since its launch in early 2009 and has attracted thousands of social media followers and registered users. It is important that this tool continues to help the community find local positions.
Where will your future funding come from?
For nearly 20 years, we have been fortunate to have more than 150 private sector investors involved in our main goals of jobs and capital investment. As part of every five-year funding campaign, the Partnership and Chamber raised funds from the private sector half of the GRP’s budget. The GRP then appropriates part of that funding to Chamber contracts which included New Business Formation and Small Business Support (provided by the Small Business Development Center) as well as Talent Promotion and Workforce Development.
This year marks the last of the 2009-2014 funding cycle so it was a perfect time to transition. Moving forward, the business community will be able to choose which regional economic development services to support instead of investing in one fundraising campaign.
The nucleus of the Partnership’s future funding will be from its four public partners, which have committed monies to regional economic development efforts. Additional capital will be raised from private sector businesses and through grant processes.
The Partnership is currently structured as a 501(c)6 non-profit organization, however our Board of Directors will be exploring other classifications moving forward, including the 501(c)3 designation.
How will the change affect the Partnership’s relationship with the Chamber?
Our two organizations will continue to work together on economic development projects throughout the region much as the Partnership combines efforts with Richmond Region Tourism, the Retail Merchants Association and many other like-minded groups.
The Partnership and Chamber have been financially tied since 1994 when a group of private sector investors raised funds to form a public-private partnership with the Metropolitan Economic Development Council (MEDC), comprised of Richmond, Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico. The Chamber handled all of the Partnership’s payments through their Chamber Foundation. This relationship will continue through June 30, 2014.
The Chamber’s Small Business Development Center has been partially funded by the Partnership along with the U.S. Small Business Administration. The Partnership will continue funding the Center until the end of this fiscal year.
Annually, the Partnership provided funding to the Chamber for workforce development programs. The Partnership will no longer fund regional workforce development.
The Chamber appointed four voting members to the GRP Board of Directors, along with four alternate members. Moving forward, the new board will soon determine which private sector investors will be appointed to the Board. We expect appointments to be made by Jan. 1, 2014.
Charles R. Samuels, President of the Richmond City Council, succeeds G. Slaughter Fitz-Hugh, President of CapTech, as Chair of the Partnership Board of Directors and assumes the duties for the remainder of 2013-2014.