Key organizations and companies across the 16-county region are joining the effort to fund Thrive 2055, a process to develop a cooperative regional strategy for the future, officials said.
As Thrive 2055 begins its third and final year, Shaw Industries is taking the lead to broaden regional funding for the process through a commitment of $50,000. Additional commitments totaling $42,000 have been made by Grow Greater Dalton, the Dalton-Whitfield Community Foundation, and the Anna Sue and Bob Shaw Foundation on behalf of Whitfield County, Ga.; Jordan Fabricating on behalf of Polk and Bradley Counties in Tennessee; and the Greater Jackson County Chamber of Commerce on behalf of Jackson County, Al.
Officials said, "These investments significantly broaden and regionalize the funding and participation in Thrive 2055, which was launched through a commitment of $2.6 million by local governments, companies and foundations within Hamilton County."
According to Vance Bell, CEO of Shaw, investments by his company and other businesses and organizations located in the area surrounding Chattanooga signify Thrive 2055’s success in engaging stakeholders from across the 16-county region and opening lines of communication among them.
“At Shaw, we have 57 facilities located in 10 counties in Northwest Georgia, Northeast Alabama and Southeast Tennessee,” Mr. Bell said. “Thrive 2055 has the opportunity to facilitate strategy and cooperation on the opportunities and challenges we all share. If we act regionally on education and training, transportation, and economic development, our companies and communities will be better able to navigate the currents of the global economy.”
Brian Anderson, president and CEO of the Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce, which leads the Grow Greater Dalton initiative, said Thrive 2055’s efforts to improve the region’s climate for students, employers and employees are a natural extension and ultimately benefit communities such as Dalton.
“The mission of Grow Greater Dalton is to create jobs, prepare a skilled workforce and grow the economy in Dalton and the surrounding areas with which we share people and resources,” said Anderson, who is also past chair of the Thrive 2055 Coordinating Committee. “Those goals perfectly align with the initiatives of Thrive 2055, which is why we are committed to supporting the project.”
Underscoring the importance of raising funds outside of Hamilton County, the Lyndhurst Foundation has pledged $250,000 to match contributions, dollar for dollar, made on behalf of any of the remaining 15 counties by governmental entities, corporations or individuals. Lyndhurst will also contribute $1 for every $2 in new donations provided by private, corporate or community foundations located within the entire 16-county Thrive 2055 area.
“The Lyndhurst Board understands that Thrive 2055 can have an unprecedented impact on our communities, but it needs the full support and endorsement of the region to do so,” said Bruz Clark, Lyndhurst Foundation president and treasurer and Thrive 2055 Finance Committee chairman. “Lyndhurst is committed to the success of this endeavor, and our matching grant is aimed at securing the operational support needed to complete the full three-year program of activities.”
Thrive 2055 has also incorporated a donation page through which people, organizations and companies can give to the project online. Donations can be made to the project on behalf of one of the region’s 16 counties at www.thrive2055.com.
“These contributions signify a notable commitment to not just Thrive 2055 but also the fostering of meaningful ties that will benefit people and communities long after the project is complete,” said Dan Jacobson, chairman of the Thrive 2055 Coordinating Committee. “I along with the entire committee am sincerely appreciative of this support.”
Launched in 2012, Thrive 2055 is a regional growth planning initiative with an estimated cost of $3.2 million. Officials said, "Thanks to initial funding commitments from Hamilton County entities and new support from companies and organizations around the region, Thrive 2055 has narrowed its remaining fundraising to $500,000, which is necessary to complete Phase 3 of the project, scheduled to begin this fall."