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Fundraising to protect region’s interests enters public phase, panel says

   EDWARDSVILLE — Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois has entered the public phase of its “One Voice. United for Growth” investment campaign aimed at generating $3.2 million to support what it says are the council’s most critical programs as it works to ramp up the region’s economic development engine.
    The council has already secured commitments for more than $850,000, which represents in excess of 25 percent of the total goal. The early commitments represent support from regional allies on both sides of the Mississippi River.
    Among the largest donors to date are Madison County, St. Clair County, Southern Illinois Construction Advancement Program, the St. Louis Regional Chamber, Illinois American Water, Enterprise Holdings, Southwestern Illinois Building and Construction Trades Council, the Bank of Edwardsville, Holland Construction Services, Impact Strategies, Ameren, the Regional Business Council, Americas Central Port, Phillips 66, Metro East Industries, First Clover Leaf Bank, The Korte Co., J.F. Electric, BRiC Partnership, LLC, Hortica, East County Enterprises, Coldwell Banker Brown Realtors, Bernardin Lochmueller & Associates, The Hauser Group, SCI Engineering Inc., Community First Bank, Oates Associates Inc., Bank of O’Fallon, NAI DESCO, Terra Properties and Huntleigh Securities.
    The primary focus for the funds raised will be on continuing efforts to protect and enhance Scott Air Force Base.
    The Leadership Council is working with chairmen of the boards in St. Clair and Madison counties through a recently established task force to take steps to retain the missions at Scott. The effort is in advance of scrutiny under the Base Realignment and Closure process anticipated in the 2015–2016 timeframe. That process has led to the closure or scale back of many military defense installations in the last couple of decades. Past similar efforts by regional leaders have helped protect the Scott base.
    Funds raised also will support the Leadership Council’s initiatives to foster multimodal job growth and investment; coordinate regional economic development efforts to retain manufacturing and grow entrepreneurship; serve as One Voice driving the region’s public policy agenda and help to ensure the re-accreditation of the levees protecting the American Bottom by 2015.
    “It’s been 10 years since we’ve needed to raise outside funds to support our work, but the aggressive work plan we believe is essential to keeping our region on track for the future requires that we do so now,” said Bruce Holland, president of Holland Construction Services and co-chair of the 2013 investment campaign. “Thanks to the support already demonstrated in the early weeks of the campaign, we are confident that we will meet our campaign goal and be strategically positioned to move our region forward in the years to come.”
    Holland is joined as co-chair of the investment campaign by Gerry Schuetzenhofer, president of Coldwell Banker Brown Realtors, and both are also among a group of Leadership Council board members who have signed up to serve as donor chairs focused on building support among the various sectors the council’s members represent.
    Schuetzenhofer is rallying the realty community in support of the effort, while Holland is teaming with Mark Hinrichs of Impact Strategies to engage developers and members of the construction industry.
     Other donor chairs include Tom Holloway (financial); Mike Riley (health care); Bo Butters and Ken Diel (accountants); Stacy Cutler (hospitality); Mark Harms and David Oates (engineers/architects); Pat Mathis (legal); Ronda Sauget (manufacturing); Rich Sauget Sr., (Archview companies); Jack Schmitt and Kathy Federico (automotive); Dale Stewart (labor), and Dave Kunkel (defense contractors).
    Additional donors who have contributed to the campaign’s early success include Validus Business Strategies, The Village of Troy, Heartlands Conservancy, Cecil Management Group, Louer Facility Planning, Raifort Properties, Plocher Construction, Johnson Properties, Eagle Marine, BARBERMurphy Group, Inc., Miller & Maack General Contractors Inc. and Rhutasel and Associates.
    As the campaign enters its public phase, the Leadership Council will begin reaching out beyond its members to seek support from the State of Illinois, the various communities in the Metro East, and partners in the St. Louis region, as well as others who recognize the importance of protecting regional interests. Anyone interested in donating to the campaign is encouraged to contact the council at (618) 692-9745 or via email at
    The Leadership Council’s last investment campaign raised over $3 million and primarily supported the regional effort led by the council to defend Scott Air Force Base during the 2005 round of Base Realignment and Closure.
    In more recent years, the council has worked to address challenges facing the Metro East and the broader St. Louis region, including advocating for the new Mississippi River Bridge; critical infrastructure needs; and working to secure the reaccreditation of the Metro East Levees.
    “The Leadership Council has proven time and again that with the right level of support, it truly can unite our region for growth,” said Schuetzenhofer, co-chair of the investment campaign. “At this time, our ability to be a more proactive force in economic growth in Southwestern Illinois is dependent on additional funds to support our comprehensive work plan focused on those priorities that will drive our region forward.”
    Every dollar pledged “is appreciated and will be put to good use,” he added.
    The Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois is a member-based, economic development corporation representing Madison and St. Clair counties. The Council works to unite business, industry, government, education and labor for economic growth in Southwestern Illinois. These effective partnerships serve as a driving force behind successful economic development efforts throughout the Metro East region.

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Mathis firm sponsors Art on Square

    BELLEVILLE — The law firm Mathis, Marifian & Richter, Ltd. has renewed its sponsorship of the art program “High School Sculpture in the City” for another three years.
    The program, an annual interactive arts initiative through Art on the Square, places an artist in an area high school to work with students and faculty to create one-of-a-kind art sculptures for their schools. Belleville West, Belleville East and Althoff Catholic High School have participated in the program since it began in 2010.


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