A regional planning effort trying to plot strategy for the 16-county area for the next 40 years has gotten its first funding from outside of Hamilton County.
Thrive 2055 announced today that it has received $50,000 from Shaw Industries in Dalton, Ga., and another $42,000 from the Dalton-Whitfield Community Foundation, Grow Greater Dalton, the Anna Sue and Bob Shaw Foundation on behalf of Whitfield County, Ga., Jordan Fabricating on behalf of Polk and Bradley counties in Tennessee, and the Greater Jackson County Chamber of Commerce on behalf of Jackson County, Ala.
The new investments from outside of Chattanooga will be matched by the Lyndhurst Foundation, which said it will provide a dollar to Thrive 2055 for every dollar given by governments or organizations outside of Hamilton County up to $250,000.
Thrive 2055 was launched three years ago through a commitment of $2.6 million by local governments, companies and foundations within Hamilton County.
Vance Bell, CEO of Shaw, said investments by his company and other businesses and organizations located in the area surrounding Chattanooga signify the success in building the regional initiative across state and county lines.
"At Shaw, we have 57 facilities located in 10 counties in Northwest Georgia, Northeast Alabama and Southeast Tennessee," Bell said in a statement today. "Thrive 2055 has the opportunity to facilitate strategy and cooperation on the opportunities and challenges we all share. If we act regionally on education and training, transportation, and economic development, our companies and communities will be better able to navigate the currents of the global economy."
Brian Anderson, president and CEO of the Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce, which leads the Grow Greater Dalton initiative, said Thrive 2055's efforts to improve the region's climate for students, employers and employees are a natural extension and ultimately benefit communities such as Dalton.
"The mission of Grow Greater Dalton is to create jobs, prepare a skilled workforce and grow the economy in Dalton and the surrounding areas with which we share people and resources," said Anderson, who is also past chair of the Thrive 2055 Coordinating Committee. "Those goals perfectly align with the initiatives of Thrive 2055, which is why we are committed to supporting the project."