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Chamber announces full funding of Tulsa’s Future III regional economic development plan

Published Monday, July 31, 2017

The Tulsa Regional Chamber announced completion of the fundraising phase of Tulsa’s Future III, its regional economic development plan that enables the northeast Oklahoma region to effectively compete with peer regions across the country for jobs and capital investment. Tulsa’s Future III focuses on job growth and retention, innovation, workforce development, and community betterment strategies.

The Chamber secured $21,486,700 in Tulsa’s Future III pledge commitments. This exceeds the plan’s $21 million goal by two percent, which will ensure we have the funds necessary to fully execute the plan’s program of work through 2020.

“Without the support and funding provided by Tulsa’s Future, we would not be able to compete with peers like Kansas City for new and expanding projects,” said Phil Albert, 2017 Chamber chairman and president of Pelco Structural. “A decade ago, Chamber leadership made a commitment to concentrating on economic development as a key component to growth in Tulsa and the northeast Oklahoma region. Ten years later, we have genuine momentum occurring throughout the region, and the full funding of Tulsa’s Future III is a testament to the power of public – private collaboration.”

Tulsa’s Future III is a Chamber-led, 20-county regional economic development plan. It is the third phase of a program that began with Tulsa’s Future (2005-2010) and continued with Tulsa’s Future II (2011-2015). Tulsa’s Future III began in 2016 and will fund regional economic development efforts through 2020.

Tulsa’s Future III is designed to impact a number of key metrics, including increasing the skill level of the workforce and job growth. Even prior to completion of fundraising, the program has delivered results.

“We sincerely appreciate the support of our generous investors, and their commitment is paying off,” said Brien Thorstenberg, senior vice president of regional economic development for the Chamber. “Since the beginning of 2016, Tulsa’s Future III has supported creation of more than 7,000 new jobs, including more than 4,200 with a salary greater than $50,000 annually. Those new jobs represent real regional growth.”

Funding for Tulsa’s Future III comes from 197 investors, including 28 Oversight Committee members – those contributing at least $75,000 a year for five years – and 34 regional partners, communities in the Tulsa area that see value in the regional approach to economic development. There are 66 returning investors from Tulsa’s Future II, and 44 legacy investors committed to the Tulsa’s Future program since its inception. There are also a record number of new investors – 87 – for this third phase of Tulsa’s Future.

“Tulsa’s Future III was developed through a comprehensive process facilitated over a two-year period by Atlanta’s Market Street Services, a globally recognized economic development consulting firm,” said Mike Neal, president and CEO of the Tulsa Regional Chamber. “This process gained inclusive insight from the Tulsa’s Future Steering Committee, regional partners, municipalities, tribal entities, and the public. This insight was then used to shape the direction for northeast Oklahoma’s economic development strategies.”

Wade Edmundson, CEO, Oklahoma for Commerce Bank, and Stacy Kymes, executive vice president of corporate banking for BOK Financial, served as Tulsa’s Future III fundraising campaign co-chairs.

“I’d like to offer a special thank you to both Wade and Stacy for their exemplary leadership,” said Jeff Stava, chair for Tulsa’s Future and chief operations officer for the Tulsa Community Foundation. “Along with the 55 members of their campaign cabinet, Wade and Stacy lived and breathed this effort for the past two years, and their unwavering dedication set the tone for all of us.”

With the Tulsa’s Future program, economic development has become more proactive, with extensive marketing and outreach programs as well as research resources that would not otherwise be available.

“The recently completed comprehensive regional workforce assessment conducted by Site Selection Group is one example of the additional resources enabled through Tulsa’s Future funding,” said Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum. “Studies such as that give our regional employers tremendous insights and a competitive advantage. Without Tulsa’s Future, opportunities like that simply would not exist.”

Exceeding the Tulsa’s Future fundraising goal will allow the Chamber to further increase targeted marketing efforts on behalf of the region. That, in turn, will bring increased visibility to the many attributes our region offers.

“All of the tribal partners for Tulsa’s Future are excited by the prospect for the accelerated regional growth this plan offers,” said Chuck Hoskin Jr., secretary of state for the Cherokee Nation. “We expect great things from this plan, and we are confident it will deliver.”

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