The Lawrence Partnership believes the strongest economy is one that benefits the whole community. One where local businesses compete in regional and global markets; where local service providers meet the needs of their community; where the retail sector is vibrant; and where the labor force is diverse and supported. The Partnership’s network of community-minded leaders is actively engaged in creating a local business environment that is growth oriented and fosters shared prosperity. It is a recipe that promotes equity, innovation, and resilience—and it works.
The Lawrence Partnership was launched in 2015 by leaders from local businesses, area banks, nonprofits, educational and healthcare institutions, and government, each committed to building a resilient, inclusive and equitable local economy. Always guided by a people-first strategy, the Partnership develops and implements initiatives that support small businesses, foster leadership and grow the workforce. We work with our partners to spur an inclusive approach to growing business and creating employment opportunities in the community. We leverage investment capital and expert mentoring to support new and small businesses that traditionally have difficulty accessing both.
We work with large organizations in various capacities to create lasting employment opportunities and upward mobility for our citizens. We invest in leaders, leadership pipelines and the building of social capital among them. We support and catalyze place making and downtown revitalization efforts. And we serve as an advocate and voice for the City, communicating our successes and milestones to our residents and those in surrounding communities, as well our vision and optimism for the future.
The work we undertake is guided by our working principles:
The partnership is by its nature a collaborative body that convenes stakeholders to implement projects and ideas that nobody would have the capacity to do independently.
Principle: If there is another group that can take on a project, the partnership should support that group instead of leading it.
Principle: The partnership is a big thinker, with capacity and commitment to approach issues of large scale and long-term time horizons.
A growing economy that attracts outside investment and generates new development opportunities may inevitably create some level of displacement, but through intentional policies and approaches, those impacts may be minimized.
Principle: The partnership will prioritize projects and strategies that maximize economic opportunities for current residents.
Each sector—public, private, non-profit—is uniquely qualified and positioned to assume a leadership role in different circumstances, but overall, the greatest impact results from all three working in concert.
Principle: The partnership aims to be informed and supported by the private sector, but incorporates the non-profit and public sector at all stages as well.
While tax bases and municipal borders have clearly drawn boundaries, the fortunes of Lawrence and its residents is inextricably linked with that of its immediate neighbors and the overall region.
Principle: The partnership will engage regional entities and view them as our partners, recognizing them as employers of our workforce, customers of our businesses, and beneficiaries of our success.
The diverse make-up of our residents and the City’s commitment to inclusivity have been core to Lawrence’s identity and a primary key to its success, historically as well as today.
Principle: The Lawrence Partnership recognizes the diversity of its residents as one of its greatest assets and intends to celebrate and build upon that advantage as it develops the economy.