A recent article in the Rockford Register Star gave us an encouraging story about investing, the value of business to the community and self determination. David Portnoy of Barstool Sports made $15,000 available to Sisters Thai Café of Rockford to help it navigate the pandemic. This was not money provided by the government (remember, such funds are originally OUR money obtained via taxes) but by a private citizen motivated to help other businesses. With this assistance, This Café has worked hard to stay afloat and has not cut or stopped paying employees.
Could this be a model for spurring economic development in our city — a city that watches businesses close and population decrease. Will we make greater progress when private individuals and businesses invest in businesses – where we encourage entrepreneurs and industrialists to build businesses? Is this a better path for our city than growing government entitlement programs funded by tax dollars better spent elsewhere?
Government handouts will not build our community; however, individuals motivated to create businesses can. Had these funds been provided to the city, far less than 100% would have been available – after processes and meetings to decide how best to use the funds. Rockford needs a change of direction and David Portnoy has shown us a path forward that does not rely upon taxes. Let us create the incentive and environment that supports this new vision – leveraging funds from successful donors who can better evaluate and invest than governmental bureaucracy.