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Chamber Blog

Cape Fear Future Launches Public Phase of Passion Works Campaign

The Passion Works Capital Campaign held the official public kick-off event for their fundraising efforts this morning at the Wilmington Convention Center. Cape Fear Future (CFF) is the flagship initiative of the Wilmington Chamber that aims to raise $1 Million over the course of a five-year strategic action plan. The purpose of this effort is to increase the number of higher wage jobs (knowledge sector economy) in order to foster economic growth and ensure the prosperity of the region. The initiative will leverage existing assets to build a community where knowledge sector workers would choose to live, work and play.

The Cape Fear Future strategic plan focuses on fostering an entrepreneurial community by supporting, promoting, and educating young and emerging entrepreneurs; assisting the improvement of our area school systems and expanding emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM); and improving the overall image of the greater Wilmington region by delivering community improvement projects that enhance quality of life.

Passion Works Campaign Chair Jack Barto announced that the campaign has been received very well in the community and has already raised 60% of their goal, thanks to a variety of early investors. “Cape Fear Future is the most exciting and challenging economic opportunity in the Cape Fear region in quite some time. Bringing business and community leaders together in a concerted effort to facilitate necessary change to the region is crucial to long-term economic prosperity for all of our citizens.” The investors of Passion Works see it as a long-term economic development effort with forward-thinking goals to maintain and attract a skilled workforce.

Knowledge workers choose where they want to live and work, and CFF is taking a proactive and strategic approach to compel them to choose the Cape Fear Region. Fortunately, the Wilmington area has inherent advantages due to its supreme quality of life and resources such as the beach and river, thriving arts community, historic district, and more. CFF focuses on key areas that are important to the knowledge sector - education (particularly science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM), an entrepreneur friendly environment, and a high quality of place.

This kick-off event celebrated CFF’s successes to date and recognized those early investors and partners who see the vision and have already stepped forward to support these key initiatives. Passion Works Campaign leaders including Honorary Campaign Chair and Superintendent of New Hanover Schools, Dr. Tim Markley engaged the business community to encourage further investment, “The improvement of area schools, encouragement of higher education, and emphasis on STEM is vital to economic success in the region. Without strong education and the development of in-demand skill sets, we cannot live up to our full potential.”

Early pledges have set the tone for a successful fundraising campaign and there is much excitement as the campaign moves into the Public Phase. George Rountree III, Honorary Co-Chair and Principal of Rountree, Losee & Baldwin commented, “We are planting the seed for excellence in three areas important to the growth of Wilmington – Education and Workforce Development, Quality of Life, and Entrepreneurial Development. An investment in this effort will surely produce progeny of which we can all be proud.”

If you have questions or would like additional information regarding the Cape Fear Future – Passion Works Campaign, please contact the Campaign Director, Tamera Toogood, in the Campaign Office by calling (910) 762-2611 x 209 or email cff@wilmingtonchamber.org.

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