One for all; all for one

Arlington Chamber of Commerce President Michael Jacobson and Retired U. S. Navy Chaplain Rich Stoglin, founder of the Community Influence Leaders Roundtable, recently appeared on a special edition of the city’s “Ask Arlington” video series to discuss the progress of their collaboration.

They explained the purpose of the partnership between the two organizations as a combination of the vision and mission they share, with the ultimate goal of ensuring the opportunity of success for all Arlington citizens.

“Our goal,” Stoglin began, “is to achieve a united business focus that is representative of Arlington’s unique diversity. We want to encourage the sharing of ideas, resources, opportunities and contributions from all of Arlington’s unique community.”

“That ties in perfectly,” Jacobson responded, “with the Arlington Chamber’s mission of together championing economic and community prosperity – with emphasis on ‘together’!”

Now with a couple of years behind the cooperative effort, some results have been realized and momentum established that will ensure continued success in meeting those common goals.

The Arlington Chamber has exchanged credentials with the Fort Worth Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce so that now both are members of the other’s organization.

Such a move enlarges the outreach throughout Tarrant County and brings other community leaders into the shared commitment of inclusion across all areas of one of the country’s more diverse and faster growing urban regions. Among the first initiatives was to support Arlington’s commitment to award 25 percent of the city’s contracts to qualified minority- and women-owned business enterprises.

At the latest report, that goal has been exceeded and substantially aided by the work underway building the new Globe Life Field and Texas Live! in the city’s burgeoning entertainment district.

CILR identifies its principal strengths as having achieved a high level of support from Arlington’s mayor, city council members, chiefs of the police and fire departments and Tarrant County Commissioners Court. Partnering with the Arlington Independent School District, Tarrant County College, and the University of Texas at Arlington brings every area of public education into the fold.

Other community affiliations include the city’s transportation advisory council, civil service commission, community relations commission, the public policy advisory council, the Arlington NAACP, among other trade, organizational and professional associations. An open forum is convened annually to hear reports from the organizations’ leaders and stakeholders.

I had the opportunity to attend the most recent of those gatherings with about 40 in attendance and came away convinced that the work is strategic and enjoys the full engagement of those dedicated to its success.

“Diversity is not just a catch phrase, it is a reality,” Stoglin declares. “Not just because it’s politically popular or sounds good, but because it is right – so that Arlington truly is the American Dream City for all.”

Jacobson echoes Stoglin’s sentiments by confirming that success in the effort is measured by meeting the high calling of everyone benefiting from a strong and growing local economy.

Communication and capacity building are identified as principal challenges that lie ahead for CILR and its partnerships.

With an impressive track record having been achieved in the early going of the joint initiatives, there’s every reason to believe such an outcome is within reach