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November 27, 2018 11:09am

$5 Billion Impact on Greater Louisville

“The more you give, the more you receive.”  This popular adage has been used for decades to describe everything from athletic prowess to self-actualization. I’d like to put forward that this is true, but in some cases giving even a small amount can generate an exponential impact.

Look no further than the recent “Give for Good Louisville” campaign through the Community Foundation of Louisville. More than 500 local non-profits took part in a day-long competition. Raising $5.4 Million from almost 17,000 donors, those contributions will be spread across our region in an economy of good deeds. This is a testament to Louisville’s compassionate spirit. To build upon that sentiment, there are even more scalable ways we can improve our region and the lives of everyone who lives here. You, as an individual, can be a part of transforming the regional economy.

GLI has received a $50,000 personal giving challenge grant from two individuals to help fund the Greater Louisville 2020 campaign.  This is the first-time ever that the Metro Chamber has received or solicited personal donations to fund efforts to grow our region’s economy to its fullest potential. We are encouraging everyone interested in a more vibrant economy with better jobs to step up on this match grant.  Every $1 donated by an individual towards this campaign becomes $2. More than 30 individuals have already personally donated, alongside over 100 corporate donors not in the match program.

So you are aware, Greater Louisville 2020 is an aggressive, comprehensive economic growth and capacity building initiative. It is centered on three distinct goals:

  • Recruit & create new businesses and grow jobs
  • Recruit, grow, and retain a skilled workforce
  • Advocate for a strong business environment

Those goals will be accomplished by doubling down on GLI’s Economic Development plan, and increasing investment in GLI’s Talent, Workforce, Entrepreneurship, and Policy initiatives.  Our objective is to solve the community’s most pressing economic growth challenges and prepare us for the jobs of the future.

The $7.5 Million Greater Louisville 2020 plan is projected to generate $5 billion per year in new economic activity across the region when completed.  It calls for the attraction of 5,000 new high-wage jobs, plus another 6,000 induced jobs, and doubling the number of sustainable startups.  On the workforce front, the plan’s 5-year goal is to increase the region’s working age population by 38,000 and increase the number of degreed adults in our region by 18,000. The plan also seeks to equalize Kentucky’s income tax rate in order to compete with surrounding states.

These aggressive goals will not be reached by chance. We must invest to achieve them.  Historic under-investment in economic growth has not sufficiently raised the tide for of all of our residents. In fact, in 2017 our metro area’s GDP grew by only 1.5 percent.   Compare that to 2.5 percent in Indianapolis and 4.1 percent in Nashville.  And over the last ten years, the growth rates of our population, labor force, college degrees, real wages, and bank deposits have under-performed versus our peer cities.  We must invest and work harder than our peer cities to attain the economic results we deserve.

Recently, Bill Samuels, Jr., Greater Louisville 2020 Campaign Co-Chair and Chairman Emeritus of Maker’s Mark Distillery, told a group of more than 600 GLI investors that “programs like Greater Louisville 2020 can only succeed when good people are willing to team up with others and work towards success.  I ask that you join us and have a hand in shaping our region’s future.”

Louisville is ready to grow for the betterment of all its citizens, but we must give of ourselves to make real economic growth happen.  To paraphrase the old adage, once we have given of our treasure and invested our sweat we will receive the economic future Greater Louisville so rightly deserve.  Contact me to learn more, 502-625-0208 or koyler@greaterlouisville.com.

Kent Oyler

Kent Oyler, President & CEO of GLI