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Cultivating Connections Throughout 11 Counties

Cultivating Connections

March 28, 2024

One of the advantages our region has in being able to advance economic development and complete major community projects is that we operate as one region with one voice. The Greater Des Moines Partnership serves 11 counties, 23 Affiliate Chambers of Commerce and more than 6,500 Business Members through its regional network. This makes The Partnership the fourth-largest regional chamber in the country and makes our voice even stronger on a national scale.

Last year, The Partnership conducted an 11-County Listening Tour to hear from leaders across the region. They heard over and over that there is an opportunity for The Partnership team to have a stronger presence in communities across the region, and that there is a desire among leaders to build connections between rural, suburban and urban communities.

Regional Community Integration Plan

To address this opportunity, The Partnership team has launched a Regional Community Integration Plan to have a more intentional presence in each of the communities we represent. Team members from throughout the organization have raised their hands to be Community Liaisons.

Community Liaisons will visit their coverage area at least one day every other month, meeting with city, county, chamber and other leaders. The goals are to listen, get to know communities better, identify opportunities to offer support, share success stories and discover even more leaders to connect with. Community Liaisons will bring their notes back to other experts on The Partnership team who can offer support related to economic development, talent development, public policy, small business growth, placemaking, storytelling and more.

In the fall, we will work to convene leaders from all 11 counties at a Regional Summit. Watch for more details in the coming months.

The Partnership’s 11 counties vary in range of size and the area spans over 100 miles end-to-end. In meeting with leaders on the listening tour, we discovered several common themes related to challenges and opportunities and how The Partnership could help. The conversations reiterated that we are stronger together and that there is more that unites us than divides us. We are looking forward to further creating connections in 2024.

More notes from the Chair….

  • Another theme that came to the forefront during the 11-County Listening Tour is that there are significant placemaking projects transforming communities across the region. It is one of The Partnership’s Strategic Priorities in 2024 to celebrate and support them. One I would like to highlight this month is the Iowa Confluence (ICON) Water Trails, which touches five counties. ICON recently announced the results of an economic impact study that showed its access points led to nearly $20 million in total economic output during water recreation season in 2022.
  • I encourage you to consider registering for the DMDC trip to Washington, D.C. from May 8 – 10. If you have been on the trip, you know how beneficial it is. The 2024 trip is the 45th anniversary and promises to be one to remember whether you are looking to advocate or make connections. Learn more at DSMpartnership.com/DMDC.

The Greater Des Moines Partnership Board is made up of Greater Des Moines (DSM) leaders and industry experts. The Board is united in driving economic growth with one voice, one mission and as one region.

David Stark

David Stark is Chief of Government Affairs & Philanthropy at UnityPoint Health and 2024 Greater Des Moines Partnership Board Chair.