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About the Partnership

About the Partnership

One organization. One voice. One mission:
To grow Freeport & Stephenson County.

Our Mission

The Greater Freeport Partnership is the place where organizations and people unite to advocate for the region, drive economic growth and champion a talented, workforce ready community.

Our Values:

  • Art, Design and Culture
  • Diversity in all Forms
  • Hard Work and an Entrepreneurial Spirit
  • The Outdoor Experience
  • Giving Back
  • Always Learning

What does the Partnership do?

2019-2021 Strategic Goals

1. Assess and align government, nonprofit and educational efforts into a cohesive plan of measurable programs and services that address current and future workforce needs.
2. Develop and implement a broad-based Stephenson County marketing and promotion plan.
3. Captain the development and implementation of a county-wide, local business economic educational program(s) to increase their long-term success rate.
4. In collaboration with the public and private sector, develop and implement a plan to improve the aesthetics of the corridors leading into Freeport including wayfinding signage directing visitors to the downtown retail area. Orchestrate enhancements to downtown Freeport’s image creating more local pride and favorable first impressions.
5. Build the Partnership’s capacity to be the resource of business and economic development information. Analyze and distribute relevant data to businesses, developers and consultants.
6. The Partnership board of directors, committees and staff, in its composition and practices, will reflect the diversity of the area it serves.

Vision 2029

In 2029 the Partnership is celebrated for their inclusion and collaboration with the diverse communities of Greater Freeport. We are well known as:
• The chief advocates of Freeport and Stephenson County as a great and safe place for all ages to live, work and play.
• The region’s workforce development leader effectively identifying needs and linking (s) the public and private sector to recruit and retain employees.
• The repository for business and economic development information; a resource for businesses to find answers and creative approaches to grow their business.
• The driver of revitalization and development of the area’s retail scene, outdoor activities, and community events championing the idea that people want to come to Greater Freeport to visit, shop, eat and stay.

Our History

The Greater Freeport Partnership promotes Stephenson County and support businesses.  We accomplish these goals through workforce development, marketing, beautification, business education and providing data resources.

Our history:  In June 2018, four organizations became one: Northwest Illinois Development Alliance – NIDA, Freeport Area Chamber of Commerce, Freeport Downtown Development Foundation, and Freeport/Stephenson County Convention & Visitors Bureau / Visitors Center. The focus: create a seamless economic development, business services and tourism entity focused on providing outstanding service to those looking to start a business, grow a business and visit the area.

Funding comes from the City of Freeport, Stephenson County, partner investors and members.  Revenue is also generated through co-op advertising programs, grants and revenue from events.

The Greater Freeport Partnership board includes members of the Freeport and Stephenson County business community, the Freeport City Manager, Stephenson County Board Chair, and representatives from Highland Community College and Freeport School District.

Annual & Quarterly Reports

We are the Greater Freeport Partnership

The Greater Freeport Partnership Board:


Board Position

Mark Gridley


Josh Elliott

Vice Chair

Mark Wright


Chris Schneiderman


Randy Bukas

City Manager, City of Freeport Representative

Scott Helms

Stephenson County Representative

Derek Thompson

Board Member

Amy Baker

Board Member

Mike Marten

Board Member

Carolyn Mitchell

Board Member

Chris Kuberski

Board Member, Highland Community College Representative

Dr. Anna Alvarado

Board Member, Freeport School District Representative

Ross Vehmeier

Board Member

Gary Quinn

Chair Emeritus

C. Mark Williams

Executive Director

Key Industries

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Construction, Plumbing, Heating, & Service

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Private Label Food Manufacturing

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Blog Feed

Metrics for Happiness & Progress September 21, 2022 Last night I must say my unhappiness index was high following the Bears-Packers game. The heat that follows any disappointment. However, I wasn’t unhappy for long as I came back into my priorities and things that mattered most.  I knew I had a great, meaningful job to go to in the morning and work with some fun and talented people.  […]
Downtown Historic Walking Tour September 16, 2022 As a longtime architecture and history geek, I relish old buildings, quaint downtowns, and buildings that, at a glance (and with a little imagination), can transport you back in time. So, I’m excited to announce the Downtown Historic Walking Tour has launched! A subcommittee of the Design & Placemaking Committee has been hard at work compiling information to create a […]