July 11, 2023
By Jason G. Brown, Director of Stakeholder Relations
Nightly, I end my day by verbalizing at least one thing I am thankful for. As one might imagine, good health, a growing family, and a beautiful place to call home are the sorts of items that populate my list on a recurring basis. The team at Charleston Regional Development Alliance (CRDA) often notes how grateful we are to have an amazing pool of investors, whose leadership and funding directly supports our efforts to attract the best companies, talent, and entrepreneurs to the tri-county region of Charleston, South Carolina. CRDA’s most recently concluded five-year capital campaign is the most successful in our organization’s history and thanks to more than 140 unique investors, we raised $2.15 million dollars in commitments. Arguably, most telling is more than 40 percent of current investors increased their investment level this past year. The CRDA team is beyond grateful for this support and the support of our County Partners who also increased their annual investments with our organization – we take an enormous amount of pride in utilizing these resources for the benefit of long-lasting economic prosperity to the Charleston region and its residents. Our Global Business Development team looks far and wide for companies who fit our unique coastal economy – and its economy that has become the envy of markets more than twice our size.
As Charleston has grown and evolved into the economic juggernaut we know today, so has our organization in its efforts to recruit companies who will sustain our community for generations to come. Our investors have also evolved over the past several years, and this recently concluded campaign is further acknowledgement of our regions shift away from just “more” and instead to “targeted,” underscoring our unique needs as a community steeped in tradition, innovation and resiliency. We no longer seek to land every available large project for Charleston. Our tri-county region is enviably positioned to recruit the most innovative companies, who pay high quality wages, and produce goods of the future – allowing families to not only find gainful employment but grow and prosper. We now have the luxury of targeting companies within several “high impact clusters” including the aerospace, advanced (automotive) manufacturing, life sciences, and technology sectors. Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester Counties are home to industry leaders in all these categories, and each contribute to and ensure our residents’ long-term vitality. None of this growth would be possible without the financial commitments of so many in the private and public sectors, who work tirelessly to provide sustainable economic opportunities to the region.
There is an enormous opportunity to ensure our regional economy is durable and diversified in a manner that allows Charleston to stare down any unforeseen challenge that lies ahead in the global economy. Thank you to our investors, who realize this work is not complete and know we must continue to exercise prudence in evaluating projects that come our way. In many ways, the challenges facing our region have landed us back in the position which led to our success – fear. Though now, perhaps there is a fear of too much growth versus the fear and anxiety evident in the aftermath of the Naval base closure in the mid-90s. Our region overcame this challenge almost 30 years ago, and we will continue to find solutions to current challenges the only way we know how – together.
Thank you for your continued support and leadership.