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Washington, DC – Sugar Land Office of Economic Development won a Bronze Rank for its Sweet Cash Program (#AllInForSLTX), a project in the category of Innovation Programs and Initiatives of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). The honor was presented today at an awards ceremony during the IEDC Annual Conference, which is currently underway.
IEDC's Excellence in Economic Development Awards recognize the world's best economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials, and the year's most influential leaders. 25 award categories honor organizations and individuals for their efforts in creating positive change in urban, suburban, and rural communities. Awards are judged by a diverse panel of economic and community developers, following a nomination process held earlier this year. IEDC received over 500 submissions from 4 countries.
With full participation, the campaign projects to contribute $206,335 back into the local economy through both the City’s gift card purchases and the consumer participation.
The Sweet Cash program immediately injected $97,500 into the local economy and stimulated an additional $108,835 with shopper’s participation in Sweet Cash, for the total impact noted above. Over 1200 consumer submissions were made to the program. Additionally, the first round of the Sweet Cash program has generated a total of $24,140 in gift cards to Front Line Workers including the city’s three major hospitals, local grocery store, the local school district, and numerous individual Front Line Workers nominated by program participants.
The primary objective of the #AllInForSLTX Sweet Cash program was to design a simple and seamless “Buy Local” campaign around the slogan of: BUY, GET, GIVE! For every gift card a shopper BUYS ($40 minimum) from any Sugar Land business, they will GET a gift card from a participating business and Sweet Cash will GIVE a gift card to a frontline worker. Later in the year, the program transitioned into a holiday-themed “Tis The Season” message, and moved to a “Buy One, Get One” format. Throughout both iterations of the program, the two direct economic activities were the key activator: the City’s initial purchase of $100,000 in gift cards directly from 39 local businesses, and the consumer’s purchase of a matching gift card from any Sugar Land Business. Accentuated by an intense social media marketing campaign, the program served as a boost to small business cash flow during the first 9 months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, through the initial phase of the program, matching gift cards were given to frontline workers that were nominated by program participants. Finally, the City donated additional gift cards directly to its three hospitals for ultimate distribution to their employees. These two efforts resulted in over 1200 gift cards (valued at nearly $25,000) donated to frontline workers.
“The winners of IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development awards represent the best of economic development and exemplify the leadership that our profession strives for every day,” said 2021 IEDC Board Chair and Invest Buffalo Niagara, President, and CEO Tom Kucharski. “We’re honored to recognize the more than 100 communities whose marketing submissions, projects, and partnerships have improved regional quality of life.”
We're incredibly honored to recognize the outstanding organizations that received this year's Excellence Awards. This year, more than ever, has presented opportunities to innovate, impact, and progress the cities, neighborhoods, and communities around us. Each of this year's recipients represents the best of the economic development profession and exemplifies the ingenuity for fellow economic developers to aspire to in the years to come.
About the International Economic Development Council
The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is a non-profit, non-partisan membership organization serving economic developers. With more than 5,000 members, IEDC is the largest organization of its kind. Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life for their communities by creating, retaining, and expanding jobs that facilitate growth, enhance wealth and provide a stable tax base. From public to private, rural to urban, and local to international, IEDC’s members engage in the full range of economic development experiences. Given the breadth of economic development work, our members are employed in various settings, including local, state, provincial, and federal governments, public-private partnerships, chambers of commerce, universities, and a variety of other institutions. When we succeed, our members create high-quality jobs, develop vibrant communities, and improve the quality of life in their regions. Learn more at iedconline.org.