Booster groups Indy Partnership, Develop Indy to merge

Local economic development boosters Indy Partnership and Develop Indy plan to merge operations to save money and more effectively pitch the city and region to businesses that could create jobs.

The organizations—Indy Partnership represents the nine-county metro area and Develop Indy focuses on Marion County—will retain their individual brands and economic-development specialties but will operate together out of the Develop Indy offices on the 24th floor of Chase Tower. The groups will share marketing, fundraising, accounting and human resources functions.

The merger, which the groups announced in a joint statement Tuesday, will result in the elimination of four or five positions, mostly through attrition. Indy Partnership has about 10 employees; Develop Indy has about 16.

Indy Partnership, which launched in 2001, will eliminate two open positions in its marketing department and an administrative position. CEO Ron Gifford will leave to become executive vice president for policy at Central Indiana Corporate Partnership, an alliance of CEOs and university presidents that absorbed Indy Partnership in 2007. Indy Partnership's senior director of business development, Scott Fulford, will become executive director.

“We have two organizations with pretty robust operations doing similar work,” Gifford said in an interview. “This lets us effectively promote the Indianapolis region and bring more business and jobs here.”

Develop Indy CEO Scott Miller will remain in the same role at the Indianapolis-focused group, which was launched in 2007 after Indy Partnership became part of CICP.

“We’re in a very tough competition for new opportunities, often going up against cities and regions that can’t match our business climate but do have more money to tell their stories,” Miller said in a statement. “This new model will allow us to maximize every dollar spent so we can aggressively pursue new job opportunities and investment from around the globe.”

The consolidation will take effect at the end of February. The groups plan a joint fundraising campaign to ensure corporate donors don't receive multiple requests to support business recruitment.

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