Mission Statement The Whatcom Partnership for a Sustainable Economy is an initiative of government leaders working with residents, communities, and all economic sectors of the Whatcom community to create and support a healthy and diversified economy for its residents.
Background In 2000, the Port of Bellingham led the effort to expand economic development leadership to all of Whatcom County and to initiate a collaborative approach with other agencies in the county, working on economic development and quality of life issues. The partnership’s key activities included the following:
Creating information and planning for public investment in the county
Developing a blueprint for the economic future
Providing better research and understanding of the economy
The partnership re-focused its role in collaboration with the Small City Caucus to work directly with the six smaller municipalities while maintaining rural outreach and coordination with local economic development groups.
Small City Economic Development Fund In 2004 The Port of Bellingham initiated a matching fund program to assist smaller incorporated cities with economic development projects. The purpose of these planning funds is to help the cities evaluate the feasibility and secure other funding programs to implement job-creating economic development projects. The port annually calls for projects and submittals, which are reviewed and prioritized through the partnership before being awarded by the Port Commission. Through 2014 the port has spent over $570,000 on small city projects, the cities have provided over $860,000 in match and over $19 million in capital project funds have been raised, to support the completion of infrastructure projects.