A Lawrence Chamber of Commerce fund-raising drive to boost economic development activity has received pledges for more than half of its $1.2 million goal.
Chamber officials at a kickoff breakfast Thursday announced they've received pledges totaling $703,250 from 38 area businesses.
The drive's co-chairwoman Marilyn Dobski, co-owner of Lawrence's McDonald's restaurant franchise, said she expected to reach or exceed the goal by April.
Chamber officials eight months ago decided to start the "Excellence by Design" drive to increase funding of the chamber's economic development efforts.
Kansas University Chancellor Robert Hemenway, the drive's co-chairman, told a crowd of about 200 people who gathered at the Kansas Union that the primary purpose of the campaign was to create high-quality jobs for current and future residents of the area.
"I can't tell you how many times I have had students tell me they would like to stay in Lawrence to live and work, but they don't see the opportunity here," Hemenway said. "I think this campaign positions us exactly where we need to be to look ahead and address that issue."
Campaign officials said they've set goals of creating 5,300 new jobs during the next four years, attracting $40 million in new capital investments and increasing tourism revenue in the county by 5 percent per year.
Chamber officials also provided a breakdown on how they would spend the money generated by the campaign. During a four-year period, the chamber would spend: $480,000 on its marketing program to attract new business; $312,000 on a program to plan for new business infrastructure, such as industrial parks; $240,000 on a program to help existing businesses expand and remain in the community; $120,000 on educational efforts to create a business-friendly environment; and $48,000 for a work force enhancement program to produce better skilled workers.
The chamber's economic development annual budget currently is about $270,000 with $90,000 funded by the city of Lawrence, $90,000 funded by Douglas County and $90,000 funded by the chamber.
|Chamber reports businesses who have pledgedJ-W Staff ReportsArea businesses that have made pledges to the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce's fund-raising drive:Amarr Garage Doors; Baldwin State Bank, Barber, Emerson, Springer, Zinn & Murray L.C.; Callahan Creek; Capitol Federal Savings Bank; Central National Bank; Clinton Marina; Commerce Bank; CornerBank;Creative Expressions Graphic Design Studio; Crown Chevrolet-Oldsmobile Inc.; Douglas County Bank; Emprise Bank; First State Bank & Trust; Golf Course Superintendents Association of America; Grubb & Ellis/The Winbury Group; Hallmark Cards Inc.; Intrust Bank;Kaw Valley Electric Cooperative; Kizer-Cummings Jewelers; Landplan Engineering P.A.; Lawrence Journal-World; Mainline Printing Inc.; Martin-Smith Personnel; McDonald's of Lawrence; Minuteman Press; M-Pact Worldwide L.L.C;Pioneer Ridge Retirement Community; Pro-Print of Lawrence Inc.; Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc.; Sauer Danfoss; Stephens Real Estate; Stevens & Brand L.L.P.; Therapy Works P.A.; Kansas University; UMB Bank; US Bank and Warren-McElwain Mortuary.|