United Way of Madison County has released the Request for Proposals (RFP) to further expand the THRIVE Network to help struggling families begin to achieve financial stability. Building on work to strategically focus on creating self-sufficiency for ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) households, the THRIVE Network is an innovative collaborative of several local nonprofit partners working together to provide a unique and powerful opportunity for hardworking, financially-struggling individuals and families throughout Madison County. Participants receive personalized coaching, resources and supports to obtain good jobs with good wages, success for their children and financial skills that produce long-lasting financial changes in their lives.

“The leadership of UWMC took a stand to make a lasting impact for the people we seek to serve through this innovative and collaborative approach to services,” said UWMC President Nancy Vaughan. “The response has far exceeded our expectations and our challenge now is to build our capacity to meet the need.”

The THRIVE Network model is a data driven model with promising evidence showing that this strategy works to increase the financial capability and economic mobility of participants that fully participate.  Expansive research affirms this model’s impact on low-income job seekers’ employment, net income, credit and net worth.

The RFP document is available at http://www.unitedwaymadisonco.org/RFP. The deadline to apply is 5:00 February 16, 2018.


About United Way of Madison County

United Way of Madison County is improving lives locally by mobilizing the caring power of community by focusing on the building blocks to a good life: Education, Income and Health. Governed by an 18-member volunteer board of directors, United Way of Madison County has been a member in good standing of United Way of America since 1973. For more information, contact 765-643-7493 or visit our Web site at www.unitedwaymadisonco.org

Burning Glass is a Boston-based organization that is a leader in labor market analytics based on its artificial intelligence technology reviewing hundreds of millions of job postings. The Indiana Chamber's BizVoice® magazine featured a yearlong series in 2015 based on Burning Glass analytics.

A new research brief outlines that "American manufacturers now post more jobs for software developers than production workers." It goes on to add that "software developers are now second only to sales positions in terms of the total number of jobs posted."

Burning Glass uses the auto industry as a prime example of the changes that are taking place. In 2012, vehicle manufacturer postings for software developers and mechanical engineers were equal.Four years later, in 2016, the software developer postings doubled those of mechanical engineers.

And in a reflection of the battle for talent, the time to fill a software opening (48 days) is 50% longer than that of production workers (32 days).

A geographical analysis finds a mismatch. A higher concentration of software developer job postings occurs on the coasts (think California, Oregon, Washington, Massachusetts and Connecticut). Manufacturing operations and postings are more clustered in the Midwest. The 12 states with the higher production worker job postings include Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska.

Burning Glass has a two-page summary, complete with charts and analysis.

Mark Lawrance | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | (317) 264-7547


More than just an AC/DC song, it’s a shout out for celebration as MCC returns to a black-operating budget after four plus years in the red.

With the success of the Get Linked Expo, Annual Gala, and other event and membership initiatives, the Madison County Chamber generated an additional $80,000 in gross revenues and realized $10,000 in cost savings in less than six months.

“I am thrilled to advance into the new year with a stable budget, a diversified board of directors, and a motivated staff to inspire economic growth,“ says Kyle Morey. “If the chamber can find success in our current economy, then anyone can.”

Additional successes include adding Angela Barbosa and Amy Debiak to the team, rotating board meetings around the county, increasing attendance at events, achieving 3 million impressions for Madison County, improving internal processes, doubling social media and press coverage, building regional relationships in 19 counties, and studying commerce in China.

“2011 is here. Let’s make some noise!” - Kyle Morey


Charter schools: a good thing for Indiana? Two opposing views from the The Indiana Chamber and Anderson Community Schools.

Indiana Chamber supports the Charter School Bill

(following excerpt is taken from the Indiana State Chamber blog)

"House Vote Pending on Charter School Bill The Indiana House is preparing to debate and vote on a bill to significantly improve and expand charter school options in Indiana.

House Bill 1002, authored by Speaker of the House Brian Bosma (R-Indpls.), would expand the number of charter schools, provide more options for students, assist with facilities, and bring equity in funding to charter schools. As one national expert testified, this bill will make Indiana’s charter school one of the strongest in the nation.

"Charter schools are demonstrating real successes in many communities around the state in providing new public school options for parents that really work in increasing student achievement. Parent satisfaction with charter schools is very high and students are succeeding at significantly higher rates." (Excerpt from the Indiana Chamber Grass Roots Alert Email Jan 27, 2011)

What would House Bill 1002 do?

· Helps increase the number of charter schools by allowing private universities, mayors of second-class cities, and a new state charter schools board to authorize charter schools. It would also eliminate current limits on the number of charter schools.

· Increases accountability measures for charter school authorizers to help assure they require strong management and performance in charter schools.

· Makes unused and under-utilized public school buildings available to charter school start-ups. Also closes the current funding gap between public charter schools and traditional public schools.

Charter schools are demonstrating real successes in many communities around the state in providing new public school options for parents that really work in increasing student achievement. Parent satisfaction with charter schools is very high and students are succeeding at significantly higher rates. The charter schools bill passed out of committee after nearly six hours of hearings. We expect it will face a number of hostile amendments during floor debate."

Action Needed: Please ask your state representative to "support charter schools and House Bill 1002."



Superintendent Dr. Felix Chow exhorts voters to take action against the Charter School Bill

Legislative Update: Just a Few Facts About the Charter School Legislation

According to the current Charter School legislation:

Anderson Community Schools could be required to lease school buildings to charter schools for $1 per building. Why is that a bad deal? First, those facilities together are probably worth more than $1 million. Also some charters are run by non-profit or for-profit entities that may or may not pay taxes in our district and have not invested in those buildings. In addition, some of those buildings are our backup insurance for future enrollment increases.

Charter schools would be allowed to take some of the money currently used to support the ACS Transportation Department and Facility Department. We will have to curtail some transportation functions in an already cash-strapped operation that is suffering through higher energy costs. That would mean fewer and lower levels of services and less money available for building maintenance and repairs. The Transportation Fund and the Capital Projects Funds are supported by property taxes paid by Anderson/Richland/Union Townships residents, not by state tax dollars. It would not be fair to spend those funds to cover expenses for charter schools that may or may not be local.

There is still no accountability for Charter Schools in this law. Unlike all Indiana public schools, charter schools are not subject to the state accountability law – Public law 217. Charter schools are not under the jurisdiction of the Indiana Department of Education as public schools are.

Charter School enrollment does not reflect the enrollment in public schools in terms of students who do not speak English as their native language and with special education students.

What are the questions for you as a parent and as a taxpayer? How long can we continue to siphon money away from public schools to support the lowest performing schools in our community? Can we afford to give assets away to private entities when it might expose our community to higher costs and taxes down the road? Why aren’t charter schools required to open their doors and provide high quality programming for all students like the public schools? Charter schools ARE supposedly public schools. Given two major choices for parents – charter schools and public schools – charter schools nationally and in Indiana are not out-performing the public schools.

After you read the information below, I hope you are motivated to share your views with your state legislators. You can locate their contact information at http://www.in.gov/cgi­bin/legislative/contact/contact.pl. In a democracy, the people have a responsibility to communicate their opinions to their elected officials.

ANDERSON COMMUNITY SCHOOL CORPORATION | Felix H. Chow, Ed.D. | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | 765-641-2028



Love it or hate it, social media is here to stay. With over 500 million users on Facebook and Twitter closing in on 100 million tweets per day, social media is most definitely not a fad. If it isn’t already a part of your marketing mix, it should be. Why? Because business happens online.

No matter how small or how local the business, you have an online reputation. Even the absence of an online presence is a reputation. And whether or not you are using social media, your customers are. Chances are that at least some of your competitors are using it too. If you choose not to participate in the conversations about your industry, your company and your brand, rest assured, someone else will.

What does this mean to you? Primarily that you seriously need to GET LINKED. Social media tools – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and many more – cost little to nothing to set up and use. These are perhaps the most cost-effective tools you have to create buzz about your business, interact with (not just market to) your current and potential customers, monitor and direct your brand, research your competition, and drive traffic to your website.

Not sure where to start? Jump in! An easy first step is to set up simple personal profiles and business pages on Facebook and LinkedIn. Then find the people and businesses you know, connect to them, and join the conversation. In fact, you can start with us!

We’ll be sharing information, insights, and inspiration to help you on your way to social media success!


I love this saying. I get this visual of a HUGE pink elephant on the boardroom table. (Why pink? I lived near Fortville as a kid). Everyone is trying to talk around it without acknowledging that it’s in the MIDDLE OF THE ROOM.

In Madison County, we definitely have our Elephant.

For 10 years the Chamber and other organizations have discussed combining their respective resources to get more bang out of our collective bucks. Like many areas around the country, we lost large manufacturers, draining both money and people from Madison County. Smart people thought it made sense to consolidate to conserve our assets. It did not get done.

We were not the only Chamber trying to go this direction. In the intervening 10 years, other Chambers have successfully implemented a combined model.

In 2006, Greater Lafayette Commerce (GLC) formed from six organizations, including the Chamber of Commerce. This organization now represents, “a vast world of business resources, funneled into one single agency to fuel the professional ambitions of individuals and corporations attracted to [the] region.”

The conversation to create the Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance started in 2006 with Kokomo’s largest employers in bankruptcy. Five organizations merged to, “focus on programs instead of constant fundraising,” and the Visitors Bureau joined this spring.

In both of these cases, the combined organizations are financially stronger and have the sound leadership and agility to be proactive forces for growth and improvement.

So here we are ten years later: budgets decreasing, potential board members spread thin serving too many organizations, and businesses having to choose which to support. Our efforts to increase commerce are still divided and less than spectacular. Yet we cling to the status quo instead of recognizing that change is needed.

As a leader I am accustomed to grabbing problems by the tail, looking at them from every angle, and then making decisions. Being a business owner this process can take 10 minutes or 10 months. It probably won’t take much longer because business moves too fast, and I can always change again if needed.

We all know that change is inevitable. It will either happen “to” you or “by” you.

With our business organizations struggling to have significant impact, we have to acknowledge our Elephant in the Room. Do we grab hold and make changes? Or do we let change happen to us? Personally, I’m a grab hold kinda gal.

Marcy DeShong


What does it take to be exceptional? By definition it is more than just a step above. Something truly exceptional is, “1. forming an exception or rare instance; unusual; extraordinary, 2. unusually excellent; superior,” (thank you, Dictionary.com). Personally I really like that second definition.

While exceptional itself is rare, I know many who would agree that truly exceptional customer service is almost unheard of. Though I don’t usually fancy myself a cynic, on this one point, here I agree. Far too often service ranges from not noticeable to merely average. Occasionally it can be downright awful.

At a time when so many businesses are struggling, providing exceptional customer service would seem to be a relatively low-cost and easy way to attract and retain new customers. And not just any customers. Those who experience exceptional service are far more likely to frequent that business and probably become their walking billboards.

Case in point, over the past several weeks, I have experienced or witnessed some truly exceptional acts of customer service. The Gaither Family Resource Center, The Edgewood Golf and Dining, PIP Printing, Beyond the Greens Restaurant & Pub, and Eleck Promotions have all provided service that is the exception. Here are the stories:

Creating an experience.

The Gaither Family Resource Center was asked to host a free networking event for the Mad9, a newly formed group of Madison County business organizations seeking to provide networking opportunities for local professionals at locations around the county. The hosting businesses are simply asked to provide a venue and refreshments at their cost in return for the exposure they receive. Keep in mind, it’s a free, two-hour event. Some fruit punch and cheese trays would be considered by many to be more than ample provision of freebie snacks for an unpaid crowd. The Gaither’s, however, went all out. From the dynamite spread (including shrimp cocktail, gourmet cheeses, and mini oreo mousse desserts) to the beautiful signage carefully coordinated with the Mad9 colors, this was a CLASS A EVENT! Every person MCC staff talked to that night raved about the event and the Gaithers. I would guess that by going above and beyond with one brief event, they made lifelong fans of the more than 200 people who enjoyed their spectacular hospitality that evening … and positively influenced the hundreds or thousands more who have heard about it since then. > event photos

On the house.

As you can imagine chamber folk tend to eat out a fair bit. Whether staying in touch with our members, chatting up the press, or working over a politician (HA!), meeting for a meal is a frequent happening. Recently Kyle Morey came back from one such meeting positively alight with enthusiasm for The Edgewood Golf & Dining. Apparently at that lunch something happened to him that has not happened in more than 10 years of chamber work: the proprietor of the establishment saw that Kyle was representing the chamber and gave he and his guest lunch ON THE HOUSE. What a smart move! Give a free lunch to someone who travels the county regularly, plans frequent events, and talks all the time to anyone who will listen!

Minding the details.

PIP Printing in Anderson prints and folds MCC’s newsletter each month. As someone who has worked in and around the printing industry for a couple of decades, I can tell you that keeping a print shop moving is a full-time job. Checking over every single detail of a standing order job like our newsletter really isn’t in the cards. Unless you’re PIP Printing. Even though we sent a press-ready file to them for nothing more than printing and folding, someone in that shop took it upon themselves to read through that newsletter before it went to press, caught a potential mistake, and stopped the presses to call us and ask if we meant to say that. While it wasn’t a life or death error, it was a GREAT CATCH on their part that saved us the embarrassment of having to make some quick phone calls and send out some emails to retract and explain!

Friendly competition pays.

You saw the description of the Gaither’s Mad9Mixer above. What I didn’t tell you is that Executive Chef Jack Buttry from Beyond the Greens Restaurant & Pub was there on a mission. Owner Sally Kane had already agreed to host the mixer the next month … and was cooking up some friendly competition. Chef Jack took notes, went back to Elwood, and cooked up a veritable GOURMET FEAST for the April 2011 Mad9 event! From prosciutto-wrapped asparagus to steak and blue cheese bruschetta to shrimp salad on cucumber slices (and don’t even get me started on the desserts), this was a full-on gourmet buffet for the professionals who gathered to network and a “share a few goodies.” I for one WILL BE BACK … and will be bringing a crowd!

Enthusiasm to spare.

Those of you who attended MCC’s Annual Gala “Make a Joyful Noise” in January 2011 may remember that some of the most joyful noise that night was made by singing sensations “Joshua’s Vision.” What you probably don’t know is that two of its members, Bryan and Andrea Hughes, also own Eleck Promotions, a new company Bryan launched to provide marketing, graphics, and outreach services for churches, schools, and non-profits. As a startup business owner as well as a booked musician (and dad and husband and church member), you can imagine that Bryan’s schedule is a little jammed. But when Kyle Morey called Bryan several weeks ago to float an idea past him for yet another undertaking to ENERGIZE MADISON COUNTY, he didn’t blink an eye. In fact, over the past several weeks Bryan has spearheaded the effort, led the charge, concocted the magic potion, and is well on his way to training the troops … ALL IN HIS “SPARE” TIME … and for nothing more than the satisfaction of building a worthy cause and perhaps getting a little visibility for his nascent company down the road. What a consummate customer service pro!

Though entirely different situations arising for different reasons, each of these businesses chose to BE EXCEPTIONAL to such a degree that those of us at the chamber haven’t stopped talking about them. What would it have cost them to buy that kind of advertising? Could they have bought it? Probably not.

In each case someone in that organization made a conscious choice to spend the time, money, energy – whatever it took – to create that exceptional experience. It’s paying huge dividends, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

Oh, and what is that energizing project that Bryan Hughes and Eleck Promotions took on? Stay tuned…




Daniel Wohlberg

Mentoring Initiative of Madison County

(United Way of Madison County & Anderson University)

P. O. Box 1200, Anderson, IN 46015



Mentor Initiative of Madison County hosting Round Table Discussion

Calling existing youth mentoring programs to the table to identify what mentors are doing in Madison County

Madison County, IN – United Way of Madison County and Anderson University will host a youth mentoring roundtable discussion Wednesday, March 30 at 3:30 p.m. at the Anderson University Community Partnership Center (Building A at West Campus Complex, adjacent to Park Place Church of God). Mentoring programs are urged to participate by contacting Daniel Wohlberg at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 765-641-3688. The event is free and refreshments will be served.

The recently established Mentoring Initiative of Madison County is a collaborative effort between United Way of Madison County and Anderson University and was formed to draw attention to the benefits of mentoring in our community. The initiative serves as a resource and support system to all programs and individuals engaging in youth mentoring.

Beyond training and on-going support for mentors and programs, Daniel Wohlberg, mentor coordinator, aspires to identify the collective effort and progress being made. “It’s hard to know exactly what is happening when the scope of mentoring is so broad. With such diverse mentoring efforts, the initiative would like to call all of those programs to a round table discussion. The hope is to bring that information together in one forum to identify the good work being done and any gaps that might exist.”

The Mentoring Initiative of Madison County is funded through a matching grant awarded through the Indiana Association of United Ways funded by the Lilly Endowment.

United Way of Madison County supports human services throughout Madison County, Indiana and is governed by a 24 member volunteer board of directors. The organization has been a member in good standing of United Way of America since 1973. For more information, contact 765-643-7493 or visit our Web site at www.unitedwaymadisonco.org.


The Anderson Noon Exchange Club held its 43rd Annual Red Haven Memorial Award on Tuesday, May 17th at the Edgewood Country Club. The award is named in honor of Orville “Red” Haven who was the sports editor of the Bulletin newspaper and a former president of the Noon Exchange Club many years ago. “Red” wrote about the accomplishments of the high school athletes on the field and also made note of their outstanding academic accolades and how they took time to give back to their communities and schools. It was those qualities that are sought in awarding the award in his honor.

Leah Steele, a senior at Lapel High School, is the daughter of Rob and Linda Steele of Lapel. Leah is a 6-sport, 17 letter athlete with letters in cross country, basketball, volleyball, track & field, football manager, and band. She is ranked 1st in her class of 88 students and will be graduating with academic honors and a 4.190 GPA.

Special guest speaker Kyle Morey, President and CEO of the Madison County Chamber of Commerce, challenged the seniors to think big and act big. “Challenge yourselves, said Morey, and go after what you want.”

Each Madison County High School nominated a candidate to represent their school for the Red Haven Award. The candidates were: Katie Muey, Alexandria, Jordan Eddy of Anderson High School; Derek Wells, Anderson High School; Allison Browning, Frankton High School; Leah Steele, Lapel High School; Erika Lindley, Liberty Christian; and, Molly Craig, Pendleton Heights High School.

Leah Steele of Lapel High School received a $500 scholarship from the Anderson Noon exchange Club and a $500 scholarship from the Herald Bulletin in honor of their former sports editor, Red Haven. Leah has received the 2011 Lilly Endowment Scholarship, Heart of the Bulldog Award, University Incentive Grant, Supplemental University Incentive Grant and will be attending Purdue on a full scholarship.