In 1993, the citizens and businesses of Duncan created the Duncan Area Economic Development Foundation (DAEDF) to promote the development of existing businesses, attract new businesses, and diversify Duncan's economic base. DAEDF has been good stewards of their responsiblity for over 20 years. With a staff less than half the size of most comparable economic development foundations and operating on a smaller budget, DAEDF has become a model that others are trying to emulate.
By simultaneously building up the local infrastructure (supporting expansions in construction, schools, hospitals, museums, and civic facilities), establishing relationships throughout the community and state, and ensuring that there is a well-trained and vital workforce, DAEDF created an attractive business climate. DAEDF has been able to attract businesses that provide competitive wages and make capital investments in the community, which means they are more likely to remain in the area as long-term employers.
DAEDF is a non-profit organization that accepts donations from private sector membership, public sector funding through the sales tax, and income from foundation investments such as leases. The citizens of Duncan approved a five-year 0.5-cent sales tax in 1994, 1998, 2003, and 2008 to fund DAEDF activities. During the 2014 sales tax renewal, DAEDF partnered with the city to have 0.25-cents of the tax go to the city for improving infrastructure and 0.25-cents of the tax remain as a job creation and economic development fund with DAEDF.
When DAEDF began its work in 1993, Duncan was still recovering from the damaged petroleum industry. With a 10.6% unemployment rate, a single industrial park with limited land use, and highways and streets in need of improvements, Duncan did not look like a city poised for economic growth. However, with the right people and the right plan, DAEDF became the instrument that would turn things around for the community.
Today, unemployment is at 5.7%, our business base continues to diversify, and Duncan now boasts of two bustling industrial parks that continue to develop and expand.