Key community groups in Kalamazoo continue to cut ties with Southwest Michigan First over the hiring of Republican former state House Speaker Lee Chatfield as CEO of the economic development nonprofit.
Well-known community nonprofit groups such as the Kalamazoo Promise and the Kalamazoo Community Foundation have cut ties with the organization in recent days. Those severances follow the Kalamazoo City Commission’s unanimous decision to cut funding from the organization, something Kalamazoo County is also considering doing.
Southwest Michigan First now finds itself deserted by key stakeholders in the region, but its leaders say they’re committed to rebuilding those relationships.
Chatfield, 32, termed out of political office late last year having spent six years in the state House, the last two leading the body. Chatfield’s