Nearly six years after launching the Q2030 regional action planning process, leaders of Q2030 are creating a new stand-alone nonprofit

Q2030 will be incorporated as a stand-alone nonprofit organization and its first executive director will start this summer.

organization. They’re seeking its first executive director, to start this summer, and raising $400,000 to implement the long-range plan.

The new organization – announced Thursday — includes a diverse board representing the business, government, nonprofit and education sectors within the Quad-Cities. The first four champion organizations – Quad Cities Chamber, Quad Cities Community Foundation, United Way Quad Cities and Visit Quad Cities – have strengthened their partnership with Q2030 by committing to align their work with the vision and support the initiative.

“The coronavirus pandemic has brought significant challenges for our region. Now is the time for the Quad-Cities to re-invest and re-invigorate our support for Q2030,” said Kent Pilcher, Q2030 co-chair and president of Estes Construction.

“There is so much good work happening here, but to truly transform our region, we need both sustainability and breadth of engagement,” said Q2030 co-chair Joe Slavens, president/CEO of Northwest Bank & Trust.

Kent Pilcher is president of Estes Construction and co-chair of the Q2030 board.

“Q2030 is collective impact in action, working with people across sectors, race and geography. Evolving from a business-led model to community governance supported by a team of championing organizations is both natural and necessary,” he said.

The Q2030 vision remains the same: The Q-C is recognized globally in 2030 for growing and attracting talent and businesses, is energized by a diverse and culturally rich community, inspires innovation and embraces lifelong learning.

 However, Q2030’s mission outlines the role and expectations of this new organization: to lead intensified and focused regional collaboration that ignites the transformational change in the Q-C region that is necessary to realize our vision.

In 2020, consulting firm Alchemy conducted a mid-course review of Q2030 to determine what was working, identify gaps and develop an action plan to accelerate the pace of moving the region forward. Focus groups, one-on-one conversations and an online survey provided critical feedback during the process.

Their main recommendation was to incorporate Q2030 as a 501(c)3 nonprofit with independent governance to serve as the implementation backbone, including a diverse board of directors and its own executive director.

Not only does corporate independence ensure that Q2030 is a neutral party in the Q-C’s strategic landscape, but it also serves to clarify roles and better engage major implementation champions and a broader group of key strategic partners, according to a Thursday Q-C Chamber

Rev. Dwight Ford is executive director of Project NOW and vice chair of the Q2030 board.

release.

“Now more than ever is the time for the Quad-Cities to re-invest and re-invigorate our support for Q2030,” the release said. “Forming a stand-alone 501(c)3 organization will allow the region to sustain a coordinated initiative to position the Quad Cities as a national community of choice.”

“Driving our regional destination forward and strategically positioning the community for the future with vision, clarity and tangible action is the only way to achieve positive outcomes,” said Dave Herrell, president/CEO of Visit Quad Cities.

“Q2030’s midcourse process has led us to reaffirming our purpose and focus, sets the stage for increased collaboration and coordination, and demonstrates that a culture of regional ideas and mission critical regional initiatives will further lead us to success,” he said. “We need to have a sense of urgency if we are going to continually compete for people and place and Visit Quad Cities is proud to be aligned with this team and energy to help the Q-C grow and improve.”

Advertisement

“It’s not hard to bring people together. The hard work is keeping people together long enough to do something together that they could not do separately and apart,” Q2030 board vice chair Rev. Dwight Ford, of Project NOW Community Action Agency, said at Thursday’s press conference.

Monica Smith is vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion at Augustana College.

“We move forward with that idea, how do we keep doing the difficult?” he said. “If we were looking for easy, it went out the window a long time ago, even pre-Covid. All we have left is the necessary, and this is what we’re engaged in doing, working collectively with as many people as possible, to do the necessary – to lift our region to the place it absolutely deserves and make sure all the citizenry can enjoy and bask not just in the socio-economic basement, but actually reside on the balcony of life’s opportunities here in the Quad-Cities.”

Monica Smith, another Q2030 board member, is Augustana College vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion.

The Quad Cities Community Foundation homepage shows how it is championing Q2030.

“Much of the way business was handled and decisions were made in the Quad-Cities were about people at a particular table, and there wasn’t access for other people,” she said Thursday. “I’m glad to see the conversations and those who usually aren’t at the table, but were at the Big Table discussions, that those conversations have moved to action.”

“For us, we have to recognize this is a journey, this is not a destination,” Smith said. “Continuing to understand it is alive and it’s growing, is a very important concept for us each to embrace. The Quad-Cities region is a very diverse region and that means that all voices need to be heard, represented and reflected in everything that is being done.”

Equity is about creating access and dismantling barriers that exist, she said.

“We have to question whose voice is at risk of not being heard because they’re being silenced, not being at that table, or they’re outnumbered,” Smith said. “A large part of this is really about us being able to develop enough of the relationships that we can hold each other accountable and we can value the shared voices that are around the table, continuing to move forward together.”

Chamber expands Q2030 champions

The Q-C Chamber has served as the Q2030 backbone organization and has championed a Q-C regional vision since its inception. Going forward, the Chamber will continue its involvement, serving as one of four organization “champions” alongside Quad Cities Community Foundation, United Way Quad Cities and Visit Quad Cities.

Paul Rumler is president/CEO of the Quad Cities Chamber

“Over the last five years, the vision has engaged thousands of Quad Citizens, businesses and organizations to take action to make our region a better place,” said Chamber president/CEO Paul Rumler.

“As Q2030 takes an important step forward, the Chamber will continue to align with Q2030 to implement regional business and economic growth, placemaking and talent development

Dave Herrell is president/CEO of Visit Quad Cities.

initiatives that are critical to realizing the Quad-Cities’ vision,” he said. “We celebrate the many partners that have advanced Q2030 to date, and welcome even more to get involved in the years ahead.”

Organizations will serve as “champions” of the Q2030 initiative with higher-level responsibilities for aligning behind strategic goals and engaging partners in the implementation of Q2030’s four pillars. Champions have broadly committed to being regionally focused, supporting and aligning their work with Q2030 plans that are consistent with their organization’s mission, vision and programs of work.

Total Solutions has been contracted to facilitate the search and hiring of a first executive director. Interested candidates should supply a resume and cover letter and apply at www.totalsolutionsus.com/q2030search. The board, to whom the executive director will report, hopes to announce the new executive director by this summer.

The executive director’s primary purpose is to translate the Q2030 vision into actionable, measurable impact to drive outcomes. The successful person in this role will be relational at their core, an exceptional communicator and have the political know-how to listen and navigate the complexities of our bi-state region. Guided by the regional vision, the executive director will oversee the implementation of the action plan.

Advertisement

Rene Gellerman is president/CEO of United Way Quad Cities.

Q2030 has established a first-year fundraising goal of $400,000 and early efforts are close to securing half the funds. Remaining funds will be solicited through both public and private investment sources.

“Many generous community leaders agree that financial support for Q2030 will help our region improve and grow, tackling some of our toughest challenges,” said Pilcher. “In order for this movement to be successful, we need this to be an ‘and’ when it comes to giving – meaning we need funders to continue giving at the same levels or higher to our existing nonprofits and give more to support the work of Q2030.”

“One of the biggest impediments our community has in becoming world class is how to work across our sometimes fragmented, geographically dispersed and siloed region,” said Rene Gellerman, United Way Q-C president and CEO.

“I am most proud of the steps that Q2030 and the many endorsing organizations have already taken to align and work differently,” she said. “This is not only evident in the efforts of the four champion organizations, but even in how businesses, nonprofits and local funders are aligning to dream big, build capacity, reduce unnecessary redundancy and improve outcomes. I am encouraged by this step and believe that by breaking down our silos, we can help lead our region to a more hopeful and prosperous future for all Quad Citizens.”

Planning started in 2015

Joe Slavens is president of Northwest Bank and Trust, and co-chair of Q2030.

In 2015, more than 4,000 Quad Citizens provided feedback for a strategic process that became Q2030, a regional vision and action plan that brought together business, government,

The plan embraced the collective spirit of the Q-C region and the unique characteristics and strengths that make it a dynamic place with rich resources and high potential. Strategic efforts were focused on four priority themes for action: cool places, creative people, connected region and prosperous economy. Significant milestones included a public community survey, the Big Table conversations and endorsement from 243 organizations.

During its first five years, the Q-C Chamber served as the coordinating body to help bring together diverse stakeholders and help lead a synchronized effort for Q2030 to nurture the movement, gain supporters, develop the action plan, host conversations like the Big Table and raise funds to support the effort.

“The complete history of Q2030 will not be written for years to come, but today we can be certain of one thing; whatever we accomplish, it will be overwhelmingly determined by effort, creativity, collaboration and investment of Quad Citizens, and no one else,” said Slavens. “To become what we are capable of becoming is entirely up to us.”

Sherry Ristau

“There is a unique opportunity and urgent need for Q2030 to collaborate with other regional partners on Covid-19 recovery and rebuilding,” he added. “Key themes that have emerged as priorities include education, the riverfront and making the Quad-Cities a place where everyone has the opportunity to fulfill their potential.

“The game changer for this is the building upon existing work with the alignment of people, organizations and money in a way that increases capacity and impact in transformative ways,” Slavens said.

“I believe in the regional vision our community set forth together over the past few years. Just like the new I-74 bridge is a game-changer that will allow our community to come together, Q2030 provides the vision – the mindset and the roadmap – to think and act like the inclusive and prosperous Quad-Cities we need to be to grow amenities and businesses that attract and retain people,” said Sherry Ristau, president/CEO of Quad Cities Community Foundation.

“The Community Foundation believes in the Quad-Cities, and in the vision created by our community, for our community,” she said. “And just as we have for the past five years, we will continue to listen to what our community wants for our region – and act.”

For more information, visit https://quadcitieschamber.com/q2030.

Advertisement

Jonathan Turner has been covering the Quad-Cities arts scene for 25 years, first as a reporter with the Dispatch and Rock Island Argus, and then as a reporter with the Quad City Times. Jonathan is also an accomplished actor and musician who has been seen frequently on local theater stages, including the Bucktown Revue and Black Box Theatre.