An initiative of the One Sumter Economic Development Foundation, Inc.

One Sumter is a public-private partnership focused on Economic Development, Workforce Development, Marketing and Communications, and Transportation. This initiative encompasses all of Sumter County including Americus, Andersonville, DeSoto, Leslie, and Plains. In the past 5 years, One Sumter has created collaborative partnerships to positively impact our communities.

Dear Friends, Stakeholders & Community Leaders,

Over the past five years, the One Sumter Economic Development Foundation, Inc. has dedicated itself to serving as a catalyst for change throughout Sumter County. By building community collaboratives to tackle issues such as workforce development, rural broadband infrastructure, public safety, economic development and branding – One Sumter has been able to bridge together different sectors throughout the community to work toward a common goal. These accomplishments have significantly impacted the overall economic climate in Sumter County as well as serve as a best practice model for rural communities across the State.

While we have many successes to celebrate, there is still more work to be done in order to truly be considered a unified and sustainable community for future generations. In an effort to capitalize on the momentum generated by One Sumter’s original Business Action Plan, we are excited to announce GROW 2024 – a new, robust strategic plan that will continue to build upon previous accomplishments coupled with new priorities and opportunities to cultivate an inclusive and vibrant atmosphere for growth in Sumter County. GROW 2024 will guide the organization, programming and operations over the next five years by focusing on four key priority areas:

I. Economic & Community Development
II. Education & Workforce Development
III. Leadership Development & Regional Sustainability IV. Entrepreneurship & Talent Development.

In preparation for the launch of our new initiative, we have enlisted new leadership to help build upon current collaboratives and forge new partnerships to rally around our community and the future prosperity of Sumter County. It is with the unwavering dedication and commitment from our public and private partners, key stakeholders and community leaders that will make this plan become a reality. We consider GROW 2024 a vital component to the success of our community. As always, we remain extremely grateful for your commitment to Sumter County and humbly request your continued support as we strive to create one community, one future, One Sumter.

With hope and excitement for the future,

Alex Saratsiotis
Chairman of the Board
One Sumter Economic Development Foundation, Inc.

Economic & Community Development

Partner with all Sumter County communities (Americus, Andersonville, DeSoto, Leslie and Plains) to establish active programs of work and projects in each community – including “downtowns” – that will facilitate growth and revitalization, blight mitigation and a comprehensive wayfinding plan.

Expand support for countywide crime prevention initiatives, including youth summits, gang suppression, drug enforcement, public listening sessions and other programs to build bridges among law enforcement and the community and continue efforts to establish a Joint City-County Drug Task Force.

Continue to support rural broadband initiatives through policy and legislation (locally and statewide) and advocate for expanded services throughout all areas of Sumter County.

Partner with Sumter County, and other key institutions, to develop a comprehensive greenway and blueway plan by establishing the boundary and footprint for a countywide greenspace trail network.

Revitalize neighborhood redevelopment programs and blight mitigation efforts to enhance access to diverse housing types and affordability.

Annual Cost: $135,000 & Five-Year Cost: $675,000

“It is vital for our community to continue to cultivate an atmosphere conducive for economic success and position Sumter County with more of a sustainable future.”

-Rene Smith, Sumter EMC President/CEO

Education & Workforce Development

Provide funding and support to Ignite College & Career
Academy to ensure long-term success by supporting growth efforts and serving as a funding partner to hire a qualified Economic Development professional as Chief Executive Officer.

Work with our education partners, to develop and implement curricula focused on workforce development, leadership development, and financial literacy in Sumter County schools.

Create stronger connections and partnerships between the downtown business community and college campuses, students, and faculty.

Engage businesses to identify internship and job opportunities for students and provide teacher externships for industry exposure.

Explore leadership development opportunities and camps for at-risk youth, host annual youth summits, and partner with local organizations focus on implementing strategies targeting at-risk youth.

Annual Cost: $80,000 & Five-Year Cost: $400,000

“Working with our economic development partners, education institutions and business community to continue developing a highly qualified workforce is a critical component to ensure future labor needs are met.”

-Eshonda Blue, Ignite College & Career Academy Board of Directors Chair

Leadership Development & Regional Sustainability

Host meetings of the Diversity and Inclusivity Council and support efforts to create and celebrate a culturally diverse and inclusive community.

Host an annual One Sumter Visionary Summit, a countywide strategic planning retreat for key partners, institutions and
elected officials to address barriers and challenges to leadership and growth and ensure that Sumter County moves forward with a common vision for future growth.

Partner with the Sumter County Chamber of Commerce to establish a vision-forward, skills-based leadership development program to provide individual leadership skills training to enhance the skillset of local community officials and leaders as well as host an annual Citizens Academy for emerging leaders who are interested in seeking elected office.

Support local participation in the region’s 21-county leadership development program, South GeorgiaLEADS, through scholarships and/or sponsorship support.

Annual Cost: $50,000 & Five-Year Cost: $250,000

“We aim to enhance regional sustainability and strategically address barriers and challenges that prohibit growth in our community and ultimately create a pipeline of leaders for generations to come.”

-Tammye Pettyjohn Jones, Office of Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr.

Entrepreneurship & Talent Development

Collaborate with our existing businesses and economic development partners to foster entrepreneurial creativity and new business development by supporting a Sumter County business incubator and co-creative space.

Provide seed funding for entrepreneur/small business start-ups and competitions to support local and regional growth.

Support youth development and job opportunities for Sumter County youth to retain and foster local talent by establishing “Sumter County 100” to provide 100 summer jobs to 100 Sumter County youth.

Develop a robust talent retention and attraction plan to ensure Sumter County retains an innovative entrepreneurial-driven workforce.

Engage Millennials & Generation Z to determine quality of life wants and needs; collaborate with local and regional partners to implement recommendations.

Annual Cost: $50,000 & Five-Year Cost: $250,000

$2 Million Goal

Grand Total Annual Cost: $400,000
Grand Total Five-Year Cost: $2,000,000