Rising Together will focus on creating a vibrant, diverse and progressive economy in Lawrence and Douglas County. Stay tuned for more information on our upcoming five year plan.

Want more information? Email Steve Kelly here.

Recent Accomplishments

Job Creation and Economic Prosperity


  1. Create 1,500 new jobs. 
  2.  Increase Capital Investment by $100,000,000. 
  • Project Catalyst, appears to be moving forward with plans to expand into 10,000 square feet in Lawrence.
  • We recently submitted information for Project Riviera, a bioscience company interested in establishing an operation in this region which would generate on the order of 10 high paying jobs within the first year. 
  • We recently inquired about the status of the “mega project” which has a Kansas location as a finalist in the quest for this $billion+ project. This project generated efforts in the Kansas Legislature which resulted in the passage of a package of incentives that became known as the APEX bill. The finalist Kansas site under consideration for this project is near DeSoto. We made videos, gave in-person testimony, and written testimony in support of the project.
Workforce and Talent Development


  1. Connect students with local employers.
  2. Creating 50 quality childcare slots. 
  • We’ve been working to connect students and local employers with job fairs.
  • Speaker/Presenter at the Lawrence SHRM chapter meeting.
Innovation and Entrepreneurship


  1. Grow new start-up companies. 
  2. Establish revolving loan funds (RLF) for minority and women-owned businesses. 
  • In order to build our Revolving Loan Fund in a way that it the most useful, we are taking the time to build a larger more inclusive network for underrepresented entrepreneurs within Douglas Co. This will help highlight existing resources within the community as well as present training opportunities for entrepreneurs and others interested in entrepreneurship.
  • We recently convened a meeting to provide an update to stakeholders on our Revolving Loan Fund Efforts. The United Way, KU SBDC, Douglas Co., Network Kansas, Chamber Board members, and Chamber Staff participated.  We hope to begin the networking events in late March or early April.
  • We have submitted a Letter of Interest to the County for ARPA dollars and plan to submit a formal request to help us build the Revolving Loan Fund as well as programmatic support.
  • Congratulations to KU Innovation Park who just recently celebrated creating 500 jobs! 
Housing and Land Development
  1. Annexation for 800 housing units.
  2. 100 shovel-ready acres for industrial development. 
  • We were part the organizing team for the west of SLT annexation meeting.
  • Ongoing conversations with stakeholders to continue to advance housing and industrial land development.

“It is a recognition that economic development needs to be about more than just marketing to companies that may want to locate here. It also must be about removing barriers to help people who already live here become better employed and have brighter futures. In that same vein, the campaign includes initiatives related to financing for women and minority-owned businesses, and workforce training assistance for people who would be good candidates to fill highly needed jobs.”

Editorial: Let’s raise both funds and enthusiasm for economic development

Lawrence Journal-World

Want to join the campaign? You can download a Rising Together pledge form here.

Rising Together’s Case for Investment

Rising Together’s Investors