South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership

Who We Are

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 organization serves as a single point of contact for regional communication and seeks to create economic opportunities for all partner members through collaborative promotion, marketing and capacity building efforts. The Regional Partnership also serves as the Administrator for the Regional Development Authority (RDA) to allocating regional cities initiative funding to the 26 quality of life projects.

The Regional Partnership focuses on aligning the efforts of various stakeholders and encouraging communities across the region to work together to achieve what cannot be done individually.

How We Operate

The South Bend-Elkhart Regional Partnership was formed in 2011 by the lead economic development organizations (LEDOs) in the region, with the initial focus on marketing the region. The Regional Partnership was instrumental in applying for Indiana’s Regional Cities grant and became the administrative entity for the Regional Development Authority when the region won the $42 million grant in 2015. Throughout 2016 and 2017, the Regional Partnership was key in disbursing the funds for the projects and assisting with the Regional Economic Development Strategy (REDS) work and a growing number of regional activities.

The RDA and the LEDOs developed the following governance structure to support the Regional Partnership in its execution of the REDS Plan. This structure enables the key stakeholders to effectively align their economic development efforts. Representatives from of the LEDOs, Local Government, Southwest Michigan, Private Industry and other key stakeholders, along with the committee chairs representing our five strategic drivers will govern the South Bend-Elkhart Regional Partnership as it works to execute the strategies in the REDS Plan.

Part of what sets the region apart is also what highlights the need for a framework that includes such broad geographic and thematic representation. The South Bend - Elkhart Region spans northern Indiana and southwestern Michigan with differing funding engines and state governments, but residents that flow back and forth across the border regularly for work and play. While many regions in the United States are defined by a single urban area, the South Bend - Elkhart Region has a collection of small to mid-sized cities and a number of smaller communities, totaling 47 across multiple counties.

The University of Notre Dame is the region’s largest employer and research institution, but it is far from the only significant player in the region’s higher education efforts. Indiana University, Purdue University, Ivy Tech Community College, and Southwestern Michigan College are all public, state schools with campuses in the region. A number of private colleges educate nurses, teachers, and those in other professions, who choose to live and work in the region.  These schools, as well as the municipalities, the chambers of commerce, and economic development corporations, and others share a common interest in advancing the region’s economy.

Through the coordinated efforts of the Regional Partnership, the region is prepared to act on the recommendations in the REDS plan.

The Partnership Staff

Our primary office location is within the South Bend International Airport, and are further supported by resources of our LEDO partners, including the ability to work from their offices, which supports collaborative efforts with these partners.