Leadership Focused on Oregon’s Life and Future
The Oregon Business Council is an association of more than 40 business community leaders focused on public issues that affect Oregon’s life and future. Founded in 1985, we are patterned after the national Business Roundtable and affiliate organizations in a number of other states.
OBC is nonpartisan and independent, and our policy agenda is broader than the interests of individual businesses or industries. Since our founding, we have worked on issues as diverse as K-12 and higher education, health care, salmon and watershed health, a drug-free workplace, transportation, fiscal reform, and economic development.
The business leaders who belong to OBC—typically chief executives—serve as our board of directors. They represent Oregon’s largest employers, in fact, nearly a third of the state’s 100 largest companies.
Mission and Work
OBC’s mission is to mobilize business leaders to contribute to Oregon’s quality of life and economic prosperity. Directors apply their energies, knowledge, and leadership, as well as the resources of their companies, to accomplish this mission. As a context for this work, we embrace the vision of the Oregon Business Plan, an economic development forum that calls for growing more well paying jobs, increasing state per capita income to exceed the national average, and substantially reducing poverty.
OBC studies and then often takes positions on issues through standing committees composed of our directors. They are frequently assisted by managers from within their companies acting as OBC deputies. These issue teams are supported by OBC’s small staff, with additional support, as needed, from consultants.
OBC is classified by the IRS as a 501 (c) (6) business association. Our core operations are funded by member dues. Through the OBC Charitable Institute, our affiliated 501 (c) (3) organization, we also receive grants from business and private foundations and from individual donors for particular public policy projects.
While we are independent in our deliberations and policy positions, we often work closely with other business organizations, nonprofits, and government agencies to promote policies that improve Oregon life. Our directors and staff work frequently with Oregon’s congressional delegation, the Governor and the legislative leadership in Salem, as well as with leaders among city and county governments, school districts, and colleges and universities.
On education reform, for example, we have had a variety of recent roles. Our research and policy analysis over the past decade created the framework for a new vision of education attainment, governance, and state investment advanced by governors and the Legislature over the past six legislative sessions. In 2013, we worked directly with the Legislature to help reshape postsecondary education and to increase the state’s focus on career-technical education (CTE) and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education. Our directors and staff participate on numerous boards and task forces to support implementation of the reforms. Much of this work is carried out through an OBC initiative called Oregon Learns.