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Cumberland Valley Alliance starts with a strong first year

You can find the following article from the Central Penn Business Journal here. For information on theCumberland Valley Alliance, please contact Laura Potthoff at 717-240-7197 or at laura@cumberlandbusiness.com.

Cumberland Area Economic Development Corp.’s plan to sell “memberships” in a bid to become financially independent had a strong 2014 response, CEO Jonathan Bowser said.

On March 1, CAEDC created the Cumberland Valley Alliance, a membership-based program offering several perks. For a fee ranging from $100 to more than $4,500 annually, businesses receive services that can include networking, seminars and legislative updates.

Through Dec. 31, CAEDC reported 38 stakeholders that contributed a total of $88,000. Members joining at the top level included CenturyLinkTuckey Cos.Carlisle Events and M&T Bank, Bowser said.

“We have already started to see additional interest from existing and new stakeholders interested in participating at the higher level,” he added via email.

The CVA includes three levels of membership: Friends ($100-$1,499), Members ($1,500-$4,499) and Founders ($4,500 and up). With each level comes additional services that range from greens fees at the CAEDC golf tournament to being an annual tourism conference sponsor.

One hundred percent of the investment generated from the CVA will fund existing financing programs, CAEDC has said, in addition to funding business-attraction efforts through direct marketing.

“In 2015, we will expand our marketing efforts to further market the Cumberland Valley Destination to businesses seeking to relocate and expand here, which creates jobs and investment, in addition to increasing the tax base,” Bowser said.

The county cut its contribution to CAEDC from $90,000 to $40,000 in 2014, with the expectation the agency would be “self supporting” in the future, commissioners have said. That led to the CVA plan as the agency seeks to replace public funding with private dollars.

For every dollar invested, CAEDC has returned $127 in additional investment, which has equated to more than $10 million in additional annual tax revenue to the local economy, CAEDC said in announcing the membership plan.

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