The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.
- Coretta Scott King
As we approach the referendum vote to determine the fate of the Marcotte property, I find myself thinking more and more about this quote and how we can embrace it and act on it. There will always be times when we are divided as a community. The key is to express our views but remains civil and understanding in the process. Moreover, we must vote with the big-picture betterment of the community in mind.
As you likely already know, the Sturgis Chamber supports the development of the property by voting "No" next Tuesday. What you may not know is why we have come to this conclusion. As an organization, we have made this decision after much discussion and a unanimous Board of Directors vote to support "Vote No and Grow" because it, in turn, supports us in our mission - the reason the Chamber exists at all:
The Sturgis Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau advocates on behalf of its members and actively supports business, agriculture, and tourism resulting in an enhanced quality of place for the entire community.
Part of my job as Executive Director is to help ensure that our decisions are made not by personal interest, but by upholding our Mission Statement. To do this, I break the Mission down into its separate components and compare the project at hand with each. Does this particular project support each component? If so, how? Here is a brief breakdown:
"advocates on behalf of its members"
This first portion of the mission is achieved through the simple process of electing our Board of Directors. Each Board member must first be a Chamber member and is elected into office by a majority vote by our entire membership. Once elected, it is each Board member's responsibility to vote with his or her own business in mind, as well as the interests of the membership as a whole. Since our membership is comprised of over 300 members, it is rare that every single member agrees on a particular topic. The Board of Directors makes decisions like this one for the organization based on the majority opinion.
"actively supports business, agriculture, and tourism"
The second portion of our mission features a keyword, "actively." While many nonprofits choose to remain neutral, ours is a 501(c)6 and legally has the ability to campaign to support its mission. Since we have chosen to "actively" support our members, we are supporting the "Vote No and Grow" campaign as unanimously voted by the Board of Directors.
"enhanced quality of place for the entire community"
Now that we have ticked boxes for the first two components and determined that yes, we are advocating for our members, and yes, we are actively supporting them, the question is - does this decision enhance our community's "quality of place?" Our Board has determined that it does. This development will provide better infrastructure for our trails and streets, more housing options for employees of our local businesses and for growing families, more customers for these businesses resulting in greater revenue and sales tax that will continue to improve the community, and funds for several other community improvement projects. The basic question is, "do all of these things enhance our quality of place more so than leaving the property as it is?" and the answer we have determined is, "yes, they do."
We support a vote "No" next Tuesday because we support community growth and the big-picture, long-term benefits to our members and community that come with it. Please consider joining us in our mission at the polls.
Sturgis Area Chamber of Commerce
& Visitors Bureau