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Published on December 3rd, 2019 | by Millennium Magazine Staff


Columbia Empowerment Zone, Inc. Receives Excellence in Economic Development Award

Pictured Mayor Steve Benjamin and City Council recognized the Columbia Empowerment Zone, Inc. for receiving Bronze and Silver Excellence in Economic Development Awards.

The Columbia Empowerment Zone, Inc. (CEZ, Inc.) of Columbia, SC won Bronze and Silver Excellence in Economic Development Awards for its North Main Plaza Retail and Affordable Housing Development, a project in the category of Neighborhood and Retail Development and also Creative Financing of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). The honor was presented at an awards ceremony on Tuesday, October 15th during the IEDC Annual Conference, which was held October 13 – October 16, 2019 in Indianapolis, IN.

IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development Awards recognize the world’s best economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials, and the year’s most influential leaders. 34 award categories honor organizations and individuals for their efforts in creating positive change in urban, suburban, and rural communities. Awards are judged by a diverse panel of economic and community developers from around the world, following a nomination process held earlier this year. IEDC received over 400 submissions from 12 countries.

“On behalf of the City of Columbia, I congratulate the CEZ, Inc. on these well executed projects, in keeping with the impactful body of work the Development Corporation has become known to produce. The recognition by IEDC is well deserved and demonstrates that CEZ, Inc. is producing results right here in our community by providing access to affordable housing and goods and services. We are fortunate to benefit from CEZ’s internationally endorsed model for creating and supporting such opportunities in our city.” – Teresa Wilson, City of Columbia, City Manager

“It was very gratifying to be recognized by the International Economic Development Council for our North Main Plaza and Veranda Senior Housing projects. They represent significant investments in North Columbia and we believe that these projects provide a solid foundation for further development in this region of the City. We are humbled to be honored by such a prestigious organization as the IEDC and we look forward to continuing our efforts to improve the quality of life in this important area of Columbia. “– Russell A. McCoy, CEZ, Inc. Board of Directors, Co- Chairman

CEZ, Inc. is a nonprofit economic development corporation whose mission is to efficiently, effectively, and enthusiastically create and support economic development opportunities in the City of Columbia. They achieve this mission by ensuring activities create, retain and reinvest wealth in our community. The guiding principles and values are: accountability, integrity, inclusion, outcomes and stewardship.

“The Columbia Empowerment Zone, Inc. has received a total of three awards from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), which includes a 2017 joint social media award with the City’s Public Relations Department, said CEZ, Inc. Executive Director, Felicia Maloney. I’m thrilled by the most recent recognition that the Columbia Empowerment Zone, Inc. (CEZ, Inc.) has received from IEDC for its immeasurable contribution to the economic impact of the North Main Corridor. It’s an honor to accept two awards, this year, from a group of my peers. Receiving this recognition is gratifying and nourishes my spirit to continue the work with my board of creating, retaining and reinvesting in Envision Columbia 2036.”

About the International Economic Development Council

The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is a non-profit, non-partisan membership organization serving economic developers. With more than 5,000 members, IEDC is the largest organization of its kind. Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life for their communities, by creating, retaining and expanding jobs that facilitate growth, enhance wealth and provide a stable tax base. From public to private, rural to urban and local to international, IEDC’s members are engaged in the full range of economic development experience. Given the breadth of economic development work, our members are employed in a wide variety of settings including local, state, provincial and federal governments, public-private partnerships, chambers of commerce, universities and a variety of other institutions. When we succeed, our members create high-quality jobs, develop vibrant communities, and improve the quality of life in their regions. Learn more at

“The recipients of IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development awards represent the very best of economic development and exemplify the ingenuity, integrity, and leadership that our profession strives for each and every day”, said 2019 IEDC Board Chair, Tracye McDaniel. “We’re honored to recognize more than 100 communities for their excellent work, which forges new opportunities for our profession. We look forward to even greater participation from economic developers across the globe in the 2020 awards program.”


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