Since it formally opened July 13 until now, the fledgling Center for the Future now received status from the IRS as an official nonprofit 501 (c) (3) corporation.
“That means persons or organizations can donate to the center and deduct contributions as philanthropic gifts on tax returns,” said Jon C. Haass, founder-president and director.
“That also means we have additional opportunities to work with governmental and other federal grant programs, such as the Economic Development Agency,” he said.
Haass, a professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, said the center is working with the Northern Arizona Council of Governments as part of a five-year strategic plan to create innovation centers in key sectors within the Quad City area.
Ultimately, Haass said an objective of the center is to be a major hub in central and northern Arizona for innovation, incubation, attraction, growth and retention in cutting-edge technology industries.
The center already has received a $60,000 matching grant through its Prescott Regional Opportunity Foundation and its fiscal sponsor the Prescott Chamber of Commerce. Others supporting the center include the Arizona Technology Council, Northern Arizona Technology Alliance and the Arizona Commerce Authority.
Increasing local technological opportunities is good because “graduates can then find good jobs in the community and not have to leave,” Haass said. “Companies want the kinds of students we educate locally — business students, engineers, security and intelligence graduates.”
Haass said USDA funding is being matched by in-kind donations and other sources during the next 10 months. During that time, workshops, presentations, consulting and mentoring will assist companies in hiring additional employees and helping relocate workers, he said.
“As a business incubator and accelerator-attractor, the center now has initial funding to provide services for partner companies considering this area to open new or locate branch offices. We already have four organizations utilizing center office space. Others are going to be moving in in just days,” he said.
Those currently occupying offices are SimpleWAN, SEG (an Axient subsidiary), CyberCore, and GSIS.US. They are located at 220 S. Marina St. in a multistory 3,500-square-foot building that formerly was the Prescott City Hall Annex.
An architect is creating plans for a proposed 35,000-square-foot building. It will become the Phase III home for the center, Haass said. Land for that structure is near the recently constructed CP Technologies manufacturing complex just north of the Prescott Regional Airport. Mike McCormack, CEO of CP Technologies, is a member of the center’s board of directors.
The center is also a participant in a program funded through the Arizona Commerce Agency and another USDA program called RISE — Rural Innovation Stronger Economy. This involves three-year funding that will allow interaction with organizations across the state to bolster Northern Arizona business, Haass said. RISE programs offer grant assistance to create and augment high-wage jobs and accelerate the formation of new businesses.
The Milken Institute praised the area as a “Top 5 Best Metro in the Country for Job Creation.” It also is recognized by www.bestplaces.net as “Best Emerging Places to Live.
More details are available at