Two of Lakeland’s most highly respected organizations, along with the City of Lakeland, have stepped up to make significant lead gifts to the Lakeland Chamber Foundation’s $5 million capital campaign for The Works Business Resource Center. Broadway Real Estate Service has committed $250,000, The City of Lakeland has committed $250,000, and Citizens Bank & Trust has committed $100,000 to help the organization establish the signature initiative of the Chamber and Foundation. The Works will provide a centralized hub to support the advancement of small business and workforce development in the City of Lakeland and Polk County. The center will be located at 517 W. Lemon Street, just north of the RP Funding Center.
In 2017, leaders within the business community advocated for the structural and philosophical change of the Lakeland Chamber Foundation. This shift to directly addressing the needs of the Lakeland business community focused on three key areas: business education, pipeline development, and workforce development. In early 2018, the Foundation launched New Business 101, the Management Training Program, various educational seminars, and the Early Decision Orientation Program for first- and second-year college students. The rousing response to these programs has reinforced the need for an advanced facility to house these activities that would be accessible to the business community and all of Lakeland.
“This is a major milestone for us in our campaign to create a facility that provides a collaborative approach to business growth and development,” said Gow Fields, Vice Chair of The Works BRC Committee.
“We are incredibly grateful to Broadway and Citizens Bank & Trust for investing in The Works and the businesses and entrepreneurs that will be served by the Chamber, the Foundation, and our many resource partners. Their generous lead gifts establish a strong foundation from which to build momentum for a successful capital campaign,” said Darla Sechrest Petteway, Lakeland Chamber Foundation’s Chief Development Officer.
In addition to the significant gifts provided by Broadway Real Estate Services and Citizens Bank & Trust, the Foundation has also secured seed funding from the City of Lakeland as part of the development agreement in furtherance of the construction of the facility that will provide training, certifications, and other business development education with a focus on the success of minority, women-owned, and veteran-owned businesses.