The Salem Partnership's mission is to promote the greater good of the city of Salem and the surrounding region. Its focus is on the implementation of projects, informing its members about key issues in the city and region, and providing its members with the opportunity to affect change. The group's goal is to revitalize economic development in Salem.
In 1987, a group of Salem businesspersons gathered at the Hawthorne Hotel and agreed to establish a community-based organization to maximize Salem's economic potential. Senator Paul Tsongas related how a similar group in Lowell has organized, calling itself the "Lowell Plan." The Partnership's founding members included what was then the Peabody Museum and the Essex Institute, the Hawthorne Hotel, Salem State College, Eastern Bank, the Salem Five Cents Savings Bank, Holyoke Mutual Life Insurance Company, Parker brothers, the National Park Service and the Salem Evening News. The initial target for the group was to support pending legislation to expand the National Park Service's presence, restore Salem Maritime Historic Site, and build a regional visitor center. Since its creation, the Partnership has helped spur more than $80 million in investment in Salem and the region. In 2000, there were 70 members who paid a membership fee to help sustain the group. They focus on two or three projects that they feel will benefit the community.
The first president was Stan Lukowski, CEO of Eastern Bank, whose leadership was essential to the early success of the group. Other key players over the years were Bill Tinti, Sumner Jones of Eastern Bank, David Ives of North Shore International Insurance all who served as active presidents of the Partnership. Annie Harris was executive director for 10 years. In the 1980's the late Cynthia Pollack was instrumental during the improvements to the Salem Maritime site, including the renovation of the Armory and construction of the tall ship, "Friendship." Patricia Zaido served as executive director in the 90's and continued its focus on "courts and ports."
Some of their past success stories are: The Friendship of Salem, Essex National Heritage Area, and Salem Main Streets Program.
Current projects include: Renovation and expansion of the Courts Complex downtown, Salem Port Development project, and the Parking Garage at the MBTA train station.
- Vertical File in Salem Collection - Salem Partnership
- Salem Partnership Official website
- "Harris named to lead Salem Partnership" Salem Evening News, Aug. 16, 1991, p. 9
- "The Salem Partnership celebrates 20 years of service" Salem Gazette, May 11, 2007, p. 4
- "Driving Salem's economic growth" Salem Evening News, Apr. 5, 1996, p. A1
- "Salem Partnership celebrates 20 years" Salem News, May 24, 2007, p. A2
- Salem Partnership; how it began, what it's done, where it's going today" Salem News, Feb. 27, 2003, p. C9