MERRILLVILLE | The One Region, One Vision grassroots initiative launched by The Times in 2008 and the long-established Quality of Life Council may join forces -- both to add power to mutual goals and reduce overlap.
The joint effort was announced Friday during the latest gathering of the nearly 50-member One Region, One Vision Council, many of whom are also affiliated with QLC.
In introducing the proposal, Bill Masterson Jr., Times publisher and chairman of One Region, One Vision, recalled the initial challenge of encouraging the plethora of regional leaders to step to the plate and addressed moving the effort to another level.
Masterson, also a member of QLC along with Times Executive Editor William Nangle, met with Valparaiso University President and QLC Chairman Mark Heckler to explore going to that new level together.
The Quality of Life Council focuses on a broad range of public policy issues pertaining to Lake, Porter, and LaPorte counties. It is chaired on a rotating basis by the presidents and chancellors of the six colleges and universities in Northwest Indiana. Its membership includes many major employers and institutions in the region, as well as an additional 150 individuals who are key community leaders from all walks of life, including business, labor, the faith community, the nonprofit sector, academia and the environmental community.
Heckler spoke Friday of the overlap in energy between the two groups, which both have undertaken education, race relations, government and ethics as top issues. He said his group researches, disseminates information and recognizes excellence.
"What we don't do is mobilize people to take action," Heckler said.
To that end, Heckler shared a draft resolution proposing the QLC appoint a three-person task force to join a three-person task force appointed by One Region, One Vision to explore merging the two groups into a single nonprofit entity.
Also announced were two new initiatives in which One Region, One Vision members will pursue a greater interest by the business community in recycling waste and partnering with area chambers of commerce.
The group also heard of progress in spreading support for regionwide educational and medical initiatives.
On the other end of the spectrum, the group heard of a lackluster reception by state lawmakers to improving governance.