The Greenville-ENC Alliance already has raised 89 percent of its private-sector funding goal and its leaders believe they will exceed that goal now that the campaign is going public.

A total of $2.46 million has been raised toward a planned $2.75 million goal, the Alliance’s leadership announced on Tuesday, during a kickoff reception of the public phase of its capital campaign. About 130 people attended the event.

The donations, which will be collected over a five-year period, will go directly to the economic development programs outlined in the alliance’s five-year strategic plan.

“We aren’t even halfway through our campaign,” said Lance Clark, co-chairman of the alliance’s fundraising committee. “We will get the goal. We’ll get the $2.75 million. Our hope is we get north of $3 million and (become) the best and most funded economic development (organization) in the states of North Carolina and South Carolina. That is our goal; we’re going for $3 million.”

The City of Greenville and Greenville Utilities Commission each have committed $2.5 million over the next five years, meaning that if the alliance hits its goal, it will have raised $8 million.

East Carolina University, Vidant Health, and TowneBank have each pledged investments of $250,000 or more over the next five years. They have been labeled Diamond investors.

Platinum level investors, pledging between $100,000-$249,999 include Bill Clark Homes, Taft Family Ventures, The Jefferson Group and Hyster-Yale.

Thirteen other companies and organizations have pledged between $5,000 and $99,999.

The Greenville-ENC Alliance will focus economic development efforts of the City of Greenville, surrounding towns, local institutions and businesses to bring in new industry, grow existing businesses, build a qualified workforce, strengthen the region’s competitive position and facilitate investments in the community.

Thomas Taft Jr., co-chairman of the capital campaign, said the public-private economic development partnerships goals for the next five years include:

  • 2,750 jobs created that pay at or above the county’s average wage.
  • $1.25 billion in new capital investment.
  • More than 300 public-owned acres for business/industrial expansion.

“This is truly a transformational enterprise and one of the most important things is the slogan we came up with, ‘Together we are Pitt County,’” said Michael Overton, chairman of the transitional board of directors. “Together means one. We’ve gone too many years fighting each other, too many years running on parallel tracks. It’s time to come together and work together. If we do this we’ll achieve more than we’ve ever achieved.”

Already Ayden, Bethel and Farmville have committed to joining the alliance, Overton said, and representatives of Simpson, Grifton and Grimesland are attending meetings.

The organization has given Bethel a $7,000 grant to help with its marketing and website development and has committed $50,000 to the Pitt-Greenville Airport to help it secure federal funding that will help land a second airline for the community, Overton said. It also has funded efforts to secure state certification of the remaining sites at Indigreen Corporate Park, which will make it easier for industries that want to build at the location.

Christopher Chung, CEO of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, pledged his organization’s support.

“We have a big, diverse state with lots of great locations for all different kinds of companies,” Chung said. “Our job is to elevate the rest of North Carolina beyond the Triangle and Charlotte so we can grow the rest of North Carolina. We can’t do that without great local partners.”

Greenville, he said, has tremendous potential.

“A decade from now, we will be looking back at this moment. The moment the Greenville region decided to do something special,” East Carolina University Interim Chancellor Ron Mitchelson said.

The success will be proportionate to the community’s collective investment, he said.

“We are building a really special destination. I certainly believe the key ingredients are in place,” Mitchelson said. “What’s important is that we are willing and able to elevate the brand which is led by the word Greenville. … ECU is all in. ECU will continue to be an asset for this organization or any other economic development organization.”

Contact Ginger Livingston at glivingston@reflector.com or 252-329-9570.

Contact Ginger Livingston at glivingston@reflector.com or 252-329-9570.