Kalamazoo: Michigan’s Blueprint for Recovery

The national news coverage that Kalamazoo has garnered as a result of DCI's efforts has played a powerful role in our region's revitalization.

Ron Kitchens, President and CEO

Southwest Michigan Result- From Economic Development Public Relations Campaign-Kalamazoo's Lesson-July 28,2008

The Challenge

During a time when the rest of the Rust Belt was in a downward economic spiral, the Kalamazoo region remained an “oasis of growth” thanks to a groundbreaking approach to economic development that Southwest Michigan First dubbed “Community Capitalism.”


The DCI Strategy

The DCI team sought to generate positive business stories in national newspapers and broadcast outlets that would highlight the Kalamazoo region’s economy recovery as a model for other communities across the country.


The Results

  • Katie Couric with CBS News, ABC, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Chicago Tribune all covered the Kalamazoo Promise and the region’s resurgence.
  • As a result, Kalamazoo saw home sales shoot up for the first time in 20 years and nearly 1,000 new students added to its public school system during 2006.
  • Kalamazoo’s life science cluster was featured in Inc., The Detroit News, Foreign Direct Investment, The Scientist and Chemical Marketing Reporter.
  • Southwest Michigan First won the prestigious CoreNet Economic Development Leadership and Innovation Award for its successful “Community Capitalism” model.