Lead from the Middle—With or Without #AmazonHQ2

Amazon #KC5Stars #AmazonHQ2

Mayor Sly James #KC5Stars #AmazonHQ2
Mayor Sly James of Kansas City, Missouri, launches the #KC5Stars campaign, leaving 1,000 5 star reviews on Amazon and donating all purchased goods to charity. | Twitter

The bid for Amazon’s second headquarters, and its promised 50,000 jobs and $5 billion in investment, set off a scramble throughout regions across North America.

More than 200 proposals were submitted to Amazon last week. Cities across the U.S., Mexico and Canada, used different approaches from massive tax break promises to more creative attempts to get attention.

Our own KC Mayor reviewed 1,000 Amazon products that he purchased with private funds to donate to charity, setting off the hashtag, #KC5Stars.

Kansas City took a different approach from the start.

That’s to be expected. The entire region is working to lead from the middle.

A Plan Invested in People

Our region pulled together, under the direction and leadership of the Kansas City Area Development Council (KCADC), an approach that wasn’t simply a proposal for Amazon—it was the start of a blueprint for the region to grow and succeed.

As the Kansas City Star reported, it wasn’t a typical throw-money-at-Amazon approach.

The effort was about recognizing what was special about Kansas City and how we all, collectively, plan on continuing the momentum of our region by investing in people. Mr. Kauffman believed the investment he made in people was key to his success. And, he was deeply devoted to Kansas City. That’s why it was natural for the Kauffman Foundation to join so many others in the regional effort to create the Amazon proposal.

Kansas City would benefit from becoming the site of Amazon’s second headquarters, but in Kansas City, Amazon would also be joining a dynamic community that is already changing the world from its location in the middle of America.

With or without Amazon, the blueprint created by our community will happen. The Kauffman Foundation will continue to work together with our communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions that empower people to shape their futures and be successful.

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