Re: Request for Start-Up Funding for Gallatin Valley Independent Business Alliance

August 19, 2003

To: Bozeman City Commissioners

Re: Request for start-up funding for Gallatin Valley Independent Business Alliance

Dear City Commissioners,

Enclosed is a request for the city to assist in funding a new campaign for Bozeman and vicinity.

This proposal arises from several months of organizing among Bozeman residents and business owners to develop proactive measures that will ensure the long-term vitality of the independent business base that adds so much to our local character and economy. The accompanying packet describes the background, purpose and objectives of the new Gallatin Valley Independent Business Alliance (GVIBA) and the budget for our first three years.

The requested funds are a portion of the fees paid to the city by the Home Depot and Wal-Mart Corporations. Since many worthy projects may compete for these limited funds, we are demonstrating the strength and seriousness of our commitment by proposing a matching funds grant. The Steering Committee’s total request is for $75,000, but we ask only $25,000 initially.

After an initial grant of $25,000, the city’s subsequent $50,000 contribution would be contingent on our independently raising $25,000 by the agreed-upon date, thus ensuring the city’s contribution will be fully realized only if the organization succeeds in building the IBA a strong foundation. January 1, 2005 is our proposed deadline by which GVIBA would have to raise those funds. This commitment among the involved businesses, community members and city will ensure widespread investment in the long-term success of this initiative.

Bozeman will benefit from this work because a greater portion of overall spending in Bozeman and surrounding communities will go to locally-owned businesses, increasing the multiplier effect in our local economy and building genuine prosperity. We will be working closely with the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) in this effort. AMIBA is a national non-profit organization dedicated to supporting exactly the kind of initiative we propose and has assisted successful initiatives in Corvallis, Oregon; Boulder, Colorado; Austin, Texas; Santa Fe, New Mexico and several other communities. The opportunity to work directly with AMIBA, which relocated to Bozeman in spring 2003, adds to the tremendous potential of this effort.

Our community is blessed with a vibrant downtown and a healthy foundation of unique independently–owned businesses, but the displacement of these businesses by national chains is a growing danger. With a concerted and adequately funded long-term effort, we can keep

Bozeman home to an abundance of independent locally-owned businesses and maintain our unique character.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions for us. We look forward to personally presenting this program at City Council meeting. Thank you for your consideration.


Suzie Johnson, Bozeman resident, on behalf of the Gallatin Valley Independent Business

Alliance Steering Committee

(list of committee members)