What is a strategic affiliation?
Plenty of organizations call for collaboration, but the York County Economic Alliance and
Downtown Inc are walking the walk. This formal partnership effectively combines the resources
of two of York County’s most dynamic economic development organizations. Our goal is to bring
greater prosperity to all of York County, including Downtown York, by building both
organizations’ capacity through a strategic affiliation.
Is this a merger?
No. In a merger, one or more identities are lost. In this strategic affiliation, Downtown Inc will
keep its identity, logo, brand and its commitment to serving Downtown York. The same is true
for YCEA. There is no intention to change any of the successful programming or services by
either organization. Rather, the affiliation expands the capacity of both organizations. The York
City Government will continue to appoint directors to the York Business Improvement District
Authority, which will continue to administer BID funds and advise on downtown development
Why is this affiliation happening now?
Downtown Inc and the York County Economic Alliance have considered the impact of increased
collaboration for many years, and the current climate in York County lends itself to this
affiliation. Initiatives such as the Brand York Project and opportunities such as the Codorus
Creek restoration project have fostered stronger partnerships and comradery between the two
organizations, and both want to lead in building a more connected county and city. Further,
YCEA President and CEO Kevin Schreiber and Downtown Inc CEO Silas Chamberlin were both
tasked with finding ways to work together strategically when hired. Both have had time to survey
their organizations, and the time is ripe for action.
What is the benefit to YCEA as an organization?
YCEA is recognized as York County’s expert on economic development, which is largely
impacted by quality of place. That quality of place is driven by the success of Main Street
programs, which are lined with small businesses. Downtown Inc is the foremost Main Street
expert in York County, and this alignment will allow YCEA to strengthen small communities and
small businesses. Vertically integrating these two organizations, both of which are charged with
driving economic development, and bringing the Main Street experts in house will result in
What is the benefit to Downtown Inc as an organization?
This affiliation adds substantial tools to Downtown Inc’s toolbox, including marketing and
graphic design support, and expertise around economic development and project financings.
These new tools will increase the impact of our work and add substantial value for our many
stakeholders, including BID property owners, Downtown York merchants, individual donors, and
community stakeholders. The Downtown Inc team will expand to include a Main Street Manager
position, allowing Downtown Inc to maintain a focus on promotions, business recruitment and
retention, public safety and public space improvements, even as the organization begins to
coordinate high-level economic development activities.