South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership Brings Community Leaders Together at “Rally the Region”

GRANGER, Ind. (Aug. 11, 2022) — The South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership (Regional Partnership) debuted the “Five Cs” of its core purpose to an audience of community leaders at its inaugural “Rally the Region” event on August 4. Bringing together partners and stakeholders from the Regional Partnership’s five county region – Elkhart, Marshall, and St. Joseph counties in Indiana and Berrien and Cass counties in Michigan – the event included updates on activities and the Regional Partnership’s initiatives, including the 2021 Annual Report, the $50 million READI (Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative) grant award process, and November’s upcoming Founder Factory event. Formerly known as the Regional Opportunities Forum, this was the first time this event was held in person since 2020 and marked the first formal introduction for Bethany Hartley since she was named President and CEO of the organization in May of this year.

The organization debuted the “Five Cs,” distilling the core purpose of the Regional Partnership:

  • Communicate though storytelling and reporting
  • Convene through committees, councils, and boards
  • Catalyze, via the power of convening and communicating, to secure funding with the intention of catalyzing inclusive economic growth
  • Collaborate by working with partners to advance the region
  • Create opportunities where there is an identified needs gap

“It is our job to ensure you are equipped with the tools and resources available to support attracting more talent to our region and highlighting the accessibility, generosity, and opportunities available here,” said Bethany Hartley, President and CEO of the Regional Partnership. “When you’re selling this region to your friends, children, grandchildren, new employees, we want you to lead with a better story than it’s cheap to live here. If we look at the South Bend – Elkhart region as a product – we aren’t a bargain bin half-off VCR, we are the bedazzled Swiss Army Knife – functional, multi-faceted, humble, yet resilient with a little flair.”

Rally the Region also included the unveiling of Founder Factory 2022: A Startup Summit for South Bend – Elkhart. In its second year, event is happening November 16, 2022, at the Lerner Theatre in Elkhart. Created for entrepreneurs, investors and enthusiasts, Founder Factory will feature a keynote presentation from Jewel Burks Solomon, managing partner of Collab Capital and Head of Google for Startups. She will be joined by her partner at Collab Capital, Justin Dawkins.

A continuing topic of interest in the community is the distribution of the $50 million in READI grants. South Bend – Elkhart was one of five regions in Indiana to receive the full award. The Regional Partnership announced that it has worked alongside the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Development Authority to produce a Quality of Place RFP process that is underway with the expectation that the projects will create the physical spaces and expansion of programmatic resources that will catalyze the organization’s 2030 goals. According to Hartley, without the grant funding, this was unlikely to have occurred at the rate now anticipated.

Rally the Region wrapped up with a brief panel discussion featuring Hartley; Jess Koscher, Chief Executive Officer of Write Connections | strategy + design and Vice Chair of the Regional Partnership’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee; and John DeSalle, Executive Engineer-in-Residence at iNDustry Labs at Notre Dame and Chair of the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Development Authority. Jeff Rea, President of the South Bend Regional Chamber and Vice Chair of the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership Board of Directors, acted as moderator.

“We’re scrappy,” Koscher said. “We have grit. We continue to work on things. We create opportunities and bridges where we know there’s going to be gaps. And we do that throughout this region. The Regional Partnership helps us do it better.”

To view photos from the event, click here.


About South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership
The South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership is a collaboration of the economic development partners from 47 smart connected communities in northern Indiana and southwest Michigan. The South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership focuses on a long-term systemic approach to advance the region’s economy by aligning the efforts of various stakeholders around five key areas: educating a world-class workforce, recruiting and retaining great talent, attracting and growing new economy companies in complement to our remarkably strong manufacturing industries, promoting inclusion and sparking opportunities for minorities and helping entrepreneurs thrive. The South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership seeks to unify and collaborate so that together, the communities across the region to work together to achieve what cannot be done individually. For more information about the Regional Partnership, visit

Media Contact
Sarah Niespodziany
South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership