Earlier this year, dialogue began with the Heartland Partnership (H-P) regarding the Peoria Civic Federation’s (PCF) desire to institutionalize itself and its mission. After considering various options, the PCF Board decided its best option was to merge with H-P. The Board of Directors of H-P recently approved the merger. Funding issues for the new organization are still being discussed.
The National Community Development Service (NCDS) has been engaged by H-P to evaluate and recommend a funding system for the new organization. The NCDS has met with a number of community organizations across the greater Peoria area. Based on these discussions and its experience with communities across the country, they have submitted their recommendations to H-P for consideration.
Another issue is the review and revision of bylaws for the PCF, H-P and its subsidiary corporations. As an interim step, the PCF is now called the CEO Roundtable. The transition period will lead into the CEO Roundtable serving as the board of what is now the Heartland Commerce and Economic Development Foundation, an existing 501(c)(3) subsidiary of H-P.
The mission for the interim CEO Roundtable is to prioritize key community initiatives and provide appropriate financial and organizational support needed to ensure that these initiatives are successful and in the best interest of the community. The current priorities are as follows:
- Regional branding
- Cumulative voting
- Expansion of the Peoria NEXT initiatives
- Quality of life issues
- Healthcare industry: improving community health.
At its July board meeting, there was very active discussion on the cumulative voting issue. John Sahn, representing the Chamber and Mayor Jim Ardis, contributed various perspectives on the history of cumulative voting in Peoria.
We are heading into the final stages of the alignment. The goal is to prepare all of the necessary documentation and recommendations for the CEO Roundtable and H-P to approve in the September/ October time frame.
I continue to be extremely excited about this opportunity to advance economic development initiatives within the united business community. There is so much that this new united organization can accomplish. IBI