Rapid City Chamber of Commerce

Chamber Member Input is Requested

 – By Rapid City Chamber

Dear Chamber Member,

I’m writing to you today to inform you of a decision that our Board of Directors will be making at our Board meeting on Thursday, December 13th, 2018 regarding an organizational change.  Please take a moment to read through this letter so that you understand the background of why we are considering this proposal.

 

In 2016, the Chamber of Commerce and Rapid City Economic Development embarked on a joint venture to bring the business community together around a shared vision of innovative, accountable, and results oriented economic growth for Rapid City. We felt that by pooling our resources and focusing our efforts we could make real progress for our businesses and citizens.

Through that vision emerged Elevate Rapid City. The mission of Elevate Rapid City is to “achieve shared economic and community development goals that will elevate the quality of life and employment opportunities for all those who call Rapid City home.”  Elevate Rapid City joins the resources of Economic Development Partnership, Economic Development Foundation, South Dakota Ellsworth Development Authority, the City of Rapid City, numerous private business investors, and the Chamber of Commerce around a collective vision to make a greater impact in our community.

As a member of the Chamber of Commerce your annual investment is actually an investment in the future of our community.  Chamber membership joins your one voice to the powerful voice of many as we advocate for business growth and community progress.  Through Elevate Rapid City we have the opportunity to unite our powerful Chamber voice with the initiative for economic prosperity for Rapid City.

The Chamber Board of Directors embraced the vision of Elevate Rapid City and is committed to aligning resources to accomplish the goals set-forth by the coalition through a joint partnership.  The Chamber Board of Directors is now considering a structural change.   Elevate Rapid City has asked the Chamber of Commerce to join with Economic Development Partnership and Economic Development Foundation and come under one organization - Elevate Rapid City,  thereby making a change in our structure creating a larger, more influential coalition moving forward with a common vision.

What does this mean for the Chamber?  Structurally, we would become a division of Elevate Rapid City. We would continue to represent the business community through the programs and services with which you are familiar. Elevate Rapid City Board of Directors and the Elevate CEO would become the leading authority guiding the combined vision and resources of the larger organization.  There would also be a formalized agreement of shared employees and resources between all economic development and chamber related divisions.  

This decision changes the structure and independence of the Chamber of Commerce and the Board is taking this change very seriously.   They are carefully evaluating the benefits and pitfalls to coming under Elevate Rapid City and have identified the following as key elements critical to the final decision.

  1. The Rapid City Chamber of Commerce would retain its name and identity – Rapid City Area Chamber of Commerce   a Division of Elevate Rapid City
  2. The Chamber is assured that small business would continue to have a voice at the table, 25% representation on the Elevate Rapid City Board of Directors as well as the Executive Board.
  3. The Chamber Board of Directors would then become an advisory board and would administer the programming of the Chamber.
  4. All Chamber staff would be offered employment by Elevate Rapid City.
  5. Any documents created between the Chamber of Commerce and Elevate Rapid City would contain an exit clause allowing either entity to withdraw from the agreement and retain the assets they entered with.

On Thursday, December 13, the Chamber Board of Directors will vote on a resolution to either - move forward and become a division of Elevate Rapid City or retain its independence and work side-by-side as a partner organization.  Either way, we are fully committed to the economic prosperity of Rapid City and whole-heartedly support the goals and vision created through Elevate Rapid City.

We know there are many details that would have to be worked out. Those of you who have dealt with acquisitions understand the level of negotiations that these processes entail.  As a member of the Chamber, your feedback on this decision is very valuable. We want to hear from you. Please feel free to send me an email or give me a call at 718-8466, if you have questions or comments.

Thank you for your support of the Rapid City Chamber of Commerce and your commitment to growth in our community. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Linda Rabe, IOM CCE
President & CEO
Rapid City Area Chamber of Commerce

605-718-8466 (direct line)
rabe@rapidcitychamber.com


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