Chamber and Manchester Main Street merged, now called Manchester Alice

By Amanda Bridgman

NORTH MANCHESTER -- The North Manchester Chamber of Commerce and Manchester Main Street got the vote Wednesday, Nov. 14, to merge into one organization that is named Manchester Alive.

Members of both organizations were mailed ballots late October, and the votes were to be due by proxy or at the Nov. 14 meeting. A combined total of 83 yes votes and one no vote confirmed the merge. 
“This has been a great project,” Chamber Board President Sue Roesner said at the meeting. “This will be a really great thing I think for North Manchester.”

Wabash County Attorney Steve Downs chaired the vote meeting, and North Manchester Town Manager Adam Penrod tallied the votes. 

The project started back in early summer of 2018. Organizers and leaders of the groups said this will be a way for both nonprofits to work better together and partner, including grants and charitable work. 

Chamber Executive Director Susan Mattern said, “As we evolve as a community, with economic and business growth, it just makes sense. We're all working on the same thing.”

Public meetings had taken place to help explain to the community what this merge would mean. At the June 29 meeting, Program Director of the Community Foundation of Wabash County Julie Garber said the merge will make it easier for both nonprofits to partner. 

“The chamber, as a 501 (c )6 – we can give grants to a (c ) 6, if the (c )6 is doing charitable work, and then there has to be a lot of oversight to make sure that the money is spent charitably. But, since you've got a (c )3, which is already imbued with the responsibility for charitable money, we can more easily support those activities,” Garber said. 

This joint organization structure will now allow the Manchester Main Street foundation to receive grant money from a wide variety of sources, such as the community foundation, to support the 501 (c ) 6, which will continue the mission of the new both MMS and the Chamber.

The mission will remain to focus on economic vitality and enhancing the quality of life in North Manchester, Mattern said.
The new board of directors for Manchester Main Street Foundation, Inc., include the following 11 elected members: To a three-year term: Lindzy Shepherd, Tod Minnich, Virginia Aughinbaugh and Kelly McKee; to a two-year term: Mary Chrastil, Maggie Wimberly, Matt Nettleton and Sebrena Cline; and to a one-year term: Susan Manwaring, Tim McLaughlin and Tim Brauch.

The primary goals and beliefs of the new Manchester Alive are to have one voice, one vision; we are stronger working together; we will be more focused, more efficient and more effective; strong clarity of mission and purpose; positioned to have a greater impact; and it is the right time, the right reason and the right move for our community; one single point of contact; and positioned to be a better partner with aligned organizations in Wabash County and Northeast Indiana. 

Manchester Alive information can be found at, and the two organizations have already been sharing an office at 109 N. Market St., in downtown North Manchester since MMS's conception. 
“People would say they already thought we were one together because of our signs out front and we share the same building,” Mattern said. “Now we are.”

Posted on 2018 Nov 27