March 21, 2019 | EST. READ TIME: 3 MIN

WDC Reaches Beyond Previous Capital Campaign Goals to Accelerate Watertown’s Growth

The Watertown Development Company (WDC) has reached $3.5 million in pledges for its capital campaign goal, the largest total its ever achieved.


Launched September 2018 with the assistance from National Community Development Services out of Atlanta, GA, GROW Watertown is a five-year campaign for collaborative investment to accelerate and secure Watertown’s economic growth. The success of the campaign means WDC will be better positioned to promote the area to businesses and entrepreneurs across the country and beyond while also helping companies already rooted in the community thrive.


“WDC’s successful $3.5 million capital campaign under the leadership of Chris Schilken marks the beginning of a new state of advancement for the organization. The WDC staff efforts – from developing our economic blueprint to the strategic plan – laid the groundwork and now our community leaders have shown their confidence by rallying behind WDC so it can implement the plan. Together we will pursue a bold new future for Watertown,” said Jim Redlinger, WDC Board Chair.


Success of the campaign was facilitated in part by creating a new investor model as a result of a survey that was conducted of WDC stakeholders and their enthusiasm for its proposed new strategic plan. Stakeholders responded that they wanted aggressive and intentional economic development and expected the WDC to lead those efforts but wanted WDC to also reimagine their engagement with investors and how it collaborates with the rest of the community to meet its goals. As a result, the WDC aligned its plan to provide for more investor and community involvement.


“WDC’s new investor model is already having a meaningful impact on our business development efforts in the community as companies are no longer viewing their contributions as a donation, but as an opportunity to be part of building a stronger and growing community. Many are actively engaged in committee work that is driving some of the strategies for the WDC,” said Traci Stein, Director of Marketing and Public Communication for the WDC.


Strong capital campaign leadership also helped WDC reach beyond its campaign goal. To date, eighty-eight businesses have invested in WDC, and more are expected to join.


“Achieving its capital campaign goal allows the WDC to continue to be a vital driver of economic development for the community. Over the years, their focused efforts have helped strengthen Watertown’s position as a destination for business investment, and under the leadership of Chris Schilken and his staff, I am confident they will reap even greater rewards for our city in the years to come,” said Watertown Mayor Sarah Caron.


The investments made will be used to focus WDC on these five strategic initiatives over the next five years:

  1. New Business Attraction
  2. Existing Business Retention and Expansion
  3. Workforce Development/Talent Attraction
  4. Downtown Redevelopment/Entrepreneurship
  5. “Built Environments” conducive to talent attraction and retail growth


“We are very thankful to all of our investors for supporting not only WDC but also the entire GROW Watertown Strategic Plan. This community has tremendous potential – from world class manufacturing facilities to a highly educated workforce – and the success of our campaign will allow us to more effectively attract workforce, new investment, and jobs that will accelerate Watertown’s growth,” said Schilken.


About National Community Development Services

National Community Development Services (NCDS)  was founded in 1977 by Howard Benson. Located in Atlanta, GA, NCDS is the leading, most experienced provider of fundraising campaigns for chambers of commerce, economic and community development organizations across the United States.  NCDS pioneered the multi-year strategic initiative funding model, which has become the preferred approach for public-private economic development programming.