Archived Story

Chamber will partner with Funding Solutions to form strategic plan

Published 7:27pm Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Alexander City Chamber of Commerce is working to redefine its role in the community.

The chamber has decided to partner with Funding Solutions, an economic and community development consulting firm with a 22-year history of work in Alabama.

Thomas Mucks, president of Funding Solutions, said that there has been a change in the roles of many chambers of commerce over the past two decades.

“A trend started about 20 years ago that many chambers of commerce started to become less event-driven and more program-driven,” Mucks said.

Ann Rye, president and CEO of the Alexander City Chamber of Commerce, said that the first step will involve the community’s input.

“Funding Solutions will be interviewing key stakeholders in our community, both chamber members and nonmembers, to find out what it is that the community needs from the chamber and what they want the direction of this community to be,” Rye said. “We are re-writing the work of the chamber and what we are doing to make an impact on our future and the future for our children.”

Mucks said the goal of the interviews is to look for ways the chamber can transition to a new role.

“We will explore opportunities for the chamber to become more involved in areas that other chambers of commerce have been involved in, such as workforce development, education, retail and commercial development, public policy and other community betterment initiatives,” Mucks said.

This will lead to a preliminary plan, Mucks said, that will then be reviewed by the public one more time before forming a concrete action plan.

“This will lead to a 5-year strategic plan for the chamber and a subsequent funding goal to help execute that plan,” Mucks said. “From there, we will develop and move into a campaign to involve and seek investment from the community to execute those initiatives.”

Rye said that this is a “bold step but one that needs to be taken.”

“There is some bigger work to be done in this community,” Rye said. “The beauty of this process is that all the people of the community will help write this strategy. We will be doing what business leaders and the community at large thinks needs to be done. This is an exciting time. I applaud the leadership of this board of directors for taking a big step as a community.”