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Matthew Brouillette Launches New Chamber of Entrepreneurs

Commonwealth Partners Will Advocate for Public Policies to Improve Economic and Educational Opportunities for Every Pennsylvanian

HARRISBURG, April 14, 2016—Matthew J. Brouillette, outgoing president and CEO of the Commonwealth Foundation, today announced he is joining with community leaders to establish the Commonwealth Partners Chamber of Entrepreneurs.

Commonwealth Partners, a 501(c)(6) membership organization, will formally launch on July 1, after Brouillette ends his tenure as president of the Commonwealth Foundation on June 30. Consisting of entrepreneurs and philanthropists working in partnership to advance better public policies in Pennsylvania, Commonwealth Partners will educate the public regarding laws and policies, advocate for legislation to improve economic and educational opportunities for every Pennsylvanian, and engage in the political process on behalf of candidates who share this commitment.

“Commonwealth Partners will put political punch behind good public policies for the people of Pennsylvania.” Brouillette commented. “Those joining Commonwealth Partners embody the entrepreneurial and philanthropic spirit that made Pennsylvania and the United States the freest, most prosperous, and most just nation the world has ever known. They are engaging in the political and policy process because they care about their employees, their communities, their neighbors, and the common good.”

Brouillette, who will serve as the group’s chairman and CEO beginning July 1, is joined in this endeavor by two Pennsylvania entrepreneurs who will serve as founding trustees of Commonwealth Partners:  David E. Barensfeld, president and CEO of Ellwood Group, Inc., in Ellwood City, and Richard E. Harper, principal of the R.E. Harper Group of Companies in Mechanicsburg.

A former high school history teacher, Brouillette added, “It was no coincidence that most of our nation’s founders were entrepreneurs—men and women willing to challenge and change the status quo at great cost to themselves. Throughout our history, entrepreneurs have led the way in solving most of the social and economic problems in American society. As we face current and future challenges, it will once again be entrepreneurs who are willing to risk their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor, as the Declaration of Independence put it, to create a better commonwealth in which all people can flourish.”

Barensfeld, a Beaver County entrepreneur, said:

Entrepreneurs across our commonwealth must become more civically engaged. Most I know have been intently focused on the business of serving people and their communities—providing them with goods and services that improve their lives—as we should. But it is also our responsibility to look out for the people’s business in the public square.

I’m proud of the significant investments and reinvestments that my companies, my family, and my employees make into our communities. So many other entrepreneurs are doing the same all across our state, and Commonwealth Partners will bring these successful business and community leaders together to work for the greater good of all Pennsylvanians.

Brouillette has served as president and CEO of the Commonwealth Foundation since 2002. He will step down after growing the organization from three people with $350,000 in revenue in 2001 to 18 people and a budget of more than $4 million today.

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Commonwealth Partners is an independent, non-partisan, 501(c)(6) membership organization launching on July 1, 2016. 

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