Organization & History

Coming Together to Meet Our Challenges

By late 2015, these and other challenges prompted leaders associated with the Rapid City Economic Development Partnership, Rapid City Chamber of Commerce, Ellsworth Development Authority and the Economic Development Foundation, among others, to rethink the fundamental manner in which our diverse region practices economic development. With the professional assistance of Convergent Nonprofit Solutions (CNS), confidential interviews with more than 100 business and community leaders were conducted in the 3rd and 4th quarters of 2017. The interviews confirm the aspirations and need to develop a robust strategy to grow the Rapid City economy. Among the findings:

  • A joint partnership between the Rapid City Chamber of Commerce, Ellsworth Development Authority, Rapid City Economic Development Partnership and Economic Development Foundation is viewed very favorably. Local business and community leaders want to see aggressive strategies to maximize growth while minimizing duplication of effort. While the name implies a focus on Rapid City, all are in agreement that a stronger Rapid City makes for a stronger region.
  • 90% of interviewees indicated they had benefited directly and indirectly from the efforts of these organizations independently. Working together makes them a formidable force for change.
  • All interviewees believe the Rapid City region must remain competitive to ensure a vibrant future. And, as area research revealed, job competing regions such as Sioux Falls run multimillion-dollar capital campaigns focused on new jobs, payroll, and capital investment. It is imperative that this joint venture compete at a commensurate level or risk losing momentum and economic gains to competitors.

Elevate Rapid City

Elevate Rapid City is a new and innovative approach to economic development for Rapid City and the Black Hills region. A true public/private partnership, Elevate Rapid City represents the first time in our history that four of the leading private sector economic development organizations have united under a joint partnership agreement in order to lead strategic economic growth and development according to a collective vision and shared plan vetted by more than 100 community leaders.

Under discussion for nearly two years, Elevate Rapid City is a joint venture of the Rapid City Chamber of Commerce, Ellsworth Development Authority, Rapid City Economic Development Partnership, and the Economic Development Foundation. Its mission is to achieve the shared economic and community development goals that will elevate the quality of life and employment opportunities for all those who call Rapid City home. Led by top proactive business and government leaders, Elevate Rapid City serves to enhance and better leverage the economic development activities of its pro-business partners in order to achieve more pronounced and measurable economic results.

The Rapid City Area Chamber of Commerce began in 1886, making it one of the oldest organizations in the west. With nearly 1,200 members, our chamber prides itself on promoting a healthy economic environment and being the bold voice of businesses in the western South Dakota region.

A Partnership With Purpose

  • Coordinating the creation and retention of primary and secondary jobs;
  • Developing and promoting a unified, compelling image of the Rapid City region to targeted industry clusters;
  • Facilitating the rapid, well-coordinated and most effective response to existing and prospective business needs;
  • Aggressively advocating for public policies and processes conducive to capital investment and job creation and retention;
  • Allocating resources, financial or otherwise, to area projects and/or organizations consistent with Elevate Rapid City’s mission, purpose, and program of work;
  • Strengthening the relationships of Rapid City and Elevate Rapid City’s implementing partners with regional and state economic and community development organizations;
  • Overseeing the execution of the five-year work program in cooperation with pro-business implementing partners;
  • Gathering, formatting and sharing relevant data regarding the Rapid City MSA;
  • Maintaining a high degree of accountability to all program investors and other relevant stakeholders by benchmarking performance and communicating measurable, meaningful results.

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Lets Make Things Happen

Elevate Rapid City is an investment in your business and the environment in which your business operates. No other business organization is as deeply connected to what is happening in the Rapid City community. And no other organization brings together the decision-makers and leaders who make things happen.

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COVID-19 Update

As the Coronavirus situation continues to evolve, it is important for all employers to monitor the outbreak and are prepared to implement strategies to protect their workforce while ensuring continuity of operations.


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