When Gov. Rick Snyder announced his statewide Regional Prosperity Initiative in 2014, it was billed as a means of encouraging local partners to create vibrant regional economies. The RPI acknowledged that many Michigan regions and their myriad of planning and service delivery entities have overlapping responsibilities and lack a shared vision for economic prosperity.
While the program is intended to help regional partners come together to identify a common vision and identify ways to reduce redundancies and gaps in service delivery within their regions, in many areas it meant sweeping change, a redefinition of long-established geographic regions, consolidation and the forced partnership of organizations that had never worked together before, or worse, had adversarial relationships. Though the program is voluntary, funding and grants are only available to those regions participating in the RPI, providing substantial motivation for participation.