ICAD launched $3 million economic recovery and resiliency campaign

The Iowa City Area Development group to launch a $3 million economic recovery and resiliency campaign which aims to build workforce and support businesses.


William J. Adams

Photo of a MERGE design. Contributed.

Claire Benson, News Reporter

The Iowa City Area Development Group this month launched a new three-year, $3 million campaign through 2021 to 2023.

The campaign prioritizes economic recovery and resiliency, and identified three key areas to create a long-term stable local economy: community development, business innovation, and developing people and the workforce as a whole.

ICAD Board of Directors Chair Todd Means said the organization aims to understand how local businesses big and small have been affected by various events that have occurred in 2020.

“When you look at those three areas, what we’re trying to understand is how the dynamics of the pandemic, the derecho, getting students back on campus, [have affected] supporting local businesses as well as our larger employers,” Means said.

Means said it will be important for the community to join forces to understand the impacts of the difficulties faced within the past year and how recovery and resiliency will take place.

“We need to understand the next six to nine months as a community, as a whole, I don’t think we know the overall, underlying impact quite yet and I think it will take some time into the first quarter to really understand what that looks like,” Means said.

President of ICAD Kate Moreland said the development group has mostly always been investor funded, from both public and private organizations within the community.

RELATED:  Iowa City looks to create climate conversations with new ambassadors program

Moreland said ICAD is 40 percent publicly funded, with investors such as the City of Iowa City, the City of Coralville, the City of North Liberty, and Johnson County.

The remaining 60 percent of funding comes from private businesses in the area, along with financial institutions, law firms, and similar organizations.

CIVCO, a local medical solutions company, has invested in the development group for at least 10 years, CIVCO President Robin Therme said.

Therme is also a member on the ICAD Board of Directors, which she said has helped her become more familiar with the organization’s goals within the community and further CIVCO’s support for Iowa City Area Development.

“We just want to continue to support their efforts,” Therme said. “More recently, I’ve been on the board of directors for ICAD and I have an even deeper understanding of what they’re trying to accomplish and really the help that they’re providing to this community, and to all of the businesses that either exist or are trying to get started.”

Moreland said that they introduced this campaign to follow a three-year format rather than ICAD’s usual four- to five-year campaigns, because of the change of pace with the pandemic and the upcoming recovery period that the local economy will face. In addition to this, Moreland said this three-year timeline was an easier amount of time for ICAD’s primary investors to plan for.

Therme said that the three-year timeframe for this initiative will benefit CIVCO in the future, as well as provide some financial reassurance.

“Doing the three-year campaign, it allows us, as an organization, to also plan for longer periods of time and it gives us some security and stability for investing in the future,” Therme said.

Moreland said private businesses supporting Iowa City Area Development not only positively impacts the local economy and community, but also those businesses as well.

RELATED: With Phase 1 approved by City Council, Iowa City eyes a new Public Works Facility

“If you invest in our organization, which we’re tasked with helping the economy grow, that then impacts your business,” Moreland said.

Means said this recently introduced campaign will allow the development group to strengthen their relationships with their primary investors, as well as help the organization grow.

“It’s our ability to connect with our investors, reinforce the importance of ICAD, and keep us sustainable and moving forward as an organization,” Means said.

Moreland said the campaign will continue until the end of 2020, with funding for the campaign beginning July 1, 2021. Once the campaign concludes, Moreland said that ICAD will have a better understanding as to how and where to apply this funding.

Moreland said this campaign and initiative will work most effectively with an increased level of involvement and support from the community and those that are able to financially contribute to its efforts.

“Beyond just financial support, I hope that we have community support and interest in being involved in the work itself,” Moreland said. “It’s going to be a challenge… the more involvement we can get from businesses, business leaders, community leaders, in the years to come, the stronger our recovery will be.”

Means said once the community is through the recovery period, he hopes it will be able to prioritize resiliency along with attracting and retaining businesses and workforce talent within the area.

“Hopefully at this time next year, we’re through recovery and really focusing on resiliency and how we can attract talent and new business into the community,” Means said.