With the majority of Pennsylvania's counties in the green phase of reopening and the remaining counties on the verge of moving to green, I hope you are beginning the summer with a spirit of optimism. Though severe damage has been done by the COVID-19 crisis, there is a shared hopefulness that the worst is behind us so that we can all more fully turn our attention toward playing key roles in leading an aggressive recovery. As you continue to do essential work in your communities, PEDA - as your state association - continues to seek opportunities to provide the information and support that will help you to best meet your communities' needs. We were pleased to organize a reopening roundtable "Zoom" forum this month to allow members to exchange ideas and to begin strategizing about what's ahead. Attendance and participation were strong, as we anticipate they will be for the recently announced round of virtual regional member meetings. We will continue to seek more opportunities like these in the future, ensuring the ongoing exchange of best practices.
On a more pragmatic note, discussion has gone on for weeks regarding how to handle the Fall Conference planned for Valley Forge. After much debate and careful consideration, we have decided to postpone the October 2020 event until October 2021. The prospect of a conference with masks, social distancing and reduced crowds just didn't feel right and would not be representative of the kind of first-class event with which members and partners have become accustomed. We recognize that benchmarking, information exchange and camaraderie are the hallmarks of PEDA conferences and we certainly plan to develop other programs and forums to assure we continue to provide these benefits to our members in the interim.
Outreach is underway to sponsors and exhibitors and separate communication will be sent to professionals who had previously agreed to have their 2020 Spring Conference registrations shifted to the 2020 Fall Conference. In the meantime, here are a few quick updates regarding PEDA's ongoing efforts to meet our members' needs.
Advocacy: PEDA's government relations team continues to actively engage legislators and agency leaders in the pursuit of funding to assist the economic development community now and in the days that follow this crisis. Information continues to be shared as it's available, but it is critical that we engage with our legislators, individually, to educate on the impact of our collective efforts and to advocate for the resources necessary to help our communities survive and thrive.
Member Forum: As mentioned above, the Reopening Pennsylvania forum for PEDA members produced high attendance, active engagement and a recognition that future offerings of this type can be scheduled as frequently as needed and with relatively little lead time.
Sustainability Survey: This past month, a survey was conducted through PEDA's EDC committee to explore the ways the pandemic has impacted organizations and how PEDA can help. Initial results were shared with members and subsequent surveys are being considered.
Regional Member Meetings: This year's series of regional member meetings will be held via Zoom. Though members are invited to participate in the meeting that best suits their schedules, our general objective is to have each meeting comprised of members of a particular region of the state (i.e., Western PA, Central PA, and Eastern PA).
Communications: PEDA will continue to keep you aware of key developments and, as the amount of resources and information being made available grows, we encourage you to frequently visit websites for the Office of the Governor, the Pennsylvania Departments of Community and Economic Development, Labor and Industry and Health, the Small Business Administration, RestoreYourEconomy.org and others.
Thank you for your support and, as always, we welcome any thoughts or ideas on how PEDA can add value to your organization. In the meantime, I wish you the best as you focus on economic recovery efforts within your communities.