We love Lawrence. A city rich in history, diversity, and beauty, Lawrence grew to prominence in manufacturing’s heyday, spawning majestic brick mill buildings along the Merrimack River while attracting immigrants with its plentiful jobs.
And these assets yet remain. A tradition of welcoming immigrants and their cultures defines the city, while mill buildings today house not just manufacturing operations, but office space, retail shops and cafes, and living spaces. It is our vision to accelerate the economic development of our city, creating opportunities that preserve this character and infrastructure, while hosting a thriving and growing business environment at the heart of Merrimack Valley.
Developing an urban community is a complex endeavor. We drew from the experience of other cities across the U.S., as well as empirical research, to guide our formation. We also studied the experiences of such local Massachusetts communities as Lowell and Salem, which have experienced significant revitalization.
What we discovered is that collaboration is crucial. No single leader, company, school, or community organization can do everything by itself. Accordingly, we are a group of presidents, CEOs and executive directors of local banks, mills, businesses, schools, and community organizations, along with elected officials, unified around a vision of a growing and thriving Lawrence. We speak with one voice, share our resources, and meet regularly to identify and implement projects of transformational change.
Our work comprises many activities, all of which bring our partners together across sectors to break down barriers that constrain business growth and employment opportunities for our residents. We are bringing investment capital and expert mentoring to new and small business that traditionally have difficulty accessing both. We are working with large organizations in various capacities to create lasting employment opportunities and upward mobility for our citizens. 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.