My proposal to merge our business organizations under one umbrella organization has generated a bit of a buzz.
It was obvious that combining the alphabet soup of EDC, COC, CVB, HBA, PPAR and the Downtown Partnership into an organization that could be called the Greater Colorado Springs Partnership made sense to many of you that contacted me.
Joe Aldez at the Hispanic Chamber is on board with the idea.
However, one organization in town is suggesting that funding would decrease if the groups were combined. It suggested that if the Economic Development Corp. got $50,000 and the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce got $50,000 from a particular company, the total amount might be reduced to $75,000 after a merger.
Well, what about the reduced overhead? If a company did reduce its contribution, what is the real net effect?
Decreased contributions might have more to do with transient economic conditions, or the perceived lack of competence of the nonprofits involved. As I have said before, we have very competent leaders at our business organizations and I think they are doing a great job, but I think contributions to organizations are a function of local economic conditions, past performance and anticipated results.
A merged body ought to do better, not worse — with more professional fundraising and smaller overall operating budgets.
I might be all wet, but it is something that needs to be considered by a study group, comprised of people not directly involved with any of the organizations.
I think it is important, and here is why: Who is the face of the Springs in Denver? We have a perception problem statewide and nationally. How many of the newly elected Democrats hate the Springs because of our crazy far-right elected officials?

It is about money, we need it

Since we have the far-right tag (whether deserved or not) we might be at risk of being denied transportation money from years of far-right leadership and perception. The Democrats certainly don’t need to help the Springs. As one political operative said, “We will be last for any discretionary funds.”
The business leadership in the Springs needs to start testifying in Denver against crazy right-wing bills. We need to send a message to our state political leadership that we are moving to the center politically. Pueblo’s political capital is pretty rounded out in Denver.
Now is the time for all the acronyms to start having serious discussions about not just co-habitating, but the structure of their leadership. Not everyone can be king. The time is now to start moving toward some type of arrangement where these organizations are all working together, sharing resources and carpooling to Denver.
Sure, the chamber gave $1,000 to Gov.- elect Bill Ritter when it became obvious he was winning. Was it too little too late?
It is time to change the four “P’s: policy, public relations, personnel and politics. We need our legislature to see us as a moderate community or we will lose out on much-needed funding from Denver.
What is the brand of Colorado Springs? We need a serious strategy about our brand as a community.
I often ask non-locals about their impressions of the Springs. I don’t have to tell you what they say. Whether accurate or not, we need to work on this.
Combining some of our business organizations in some way can help execute communication and initiatives that can get more things done in our city.
Has this idea made me some friends in town? Yes and no. Change is scary for some people but the only constant I know is change.
Lon Matejczyk is publisher of the Colorado Springs Business Journal. He can be reached at Lon.Matejczyk@csbj.com or 329-5202.