Va. Tech Councils Face Fundraising Shortfall

Shortfalls in fundraising are prompting a Virginia-based economic development organization and a related technology council to merge. The News & Advance is reporting that two of the six partner organizations in the Region 2000 Partnership—the Economic Development and Technology Councils—have announced plans to “combine missions, redistribute priorities and consolidate support staff.”

group of business people networkingThe Center for Advanced Engineering and Research, also part of the Region 2000 Partnership, is slated to become an independent organization and break off from the group in about five years, said the paper.

The move comes at a time when budget cutbacks and fundraising shortfalls are common for economic development and technology councils across the country. “The amount identified as needed to support the partner organization was $184,000 more than expected to be available in 2014,” according to the transition plan.

The outgoing executive director of the EDC, Bryan David, blamed the recession for the fundraising gap. He pointed to similar restructuring efforts at other organizations, adding that “it’s Region 2000’s turn.”

Staff support for economic development and technology initiatives will be combined to improve services and efficiency. The newly created Business and Economic Development Alliance will take over and redistribute the duties of the Tech Council and the EDC. The Tech Council will maintain its own board, as will the new Alliance, but the groups will work together to facilitate business investment, job growth and promote both the technology community and the greater integration of technology into area businesses.

According to the paper, the change will eliminate the positions of EDC executive director, Tech Council executive director and communications officer. Bryan David, executive director of the EDC, and Jonathan Whitt, executive director of the Tech Council, announced plans to leave Region 2000 at the end of the year. Communications Officer Catherine Mosley left at the beginning of December. The executive committee of the Alliance Board will hire a chief executive officer.

“I really think if Region 2000 can get this right, and I have every confidence that it can…that Region 2000 will continue to serve this region well,” said David, in a statement.