The Region 4 Northern Collaborative began in 2016, when representatives from Lake, Mason, Newaygo, and Oceana counties took part in a “Leaders in Economic Alliance Development” (LEAD) initiative facilitated by USDA Rural Development and Michigan State University Extension. LEAD focuses on developing collaborative multi-county partnerships in rural communities in order to build capacity around shared economic development goals. Highlights of the LEAD planning process included a series of meetings, a civic forum, and organization of a leadership and communication structure to sustain collaboration into the future. Subcommittees were also organized around the top three regional “opportunities” identified at the civic forum: workforce development, improve broadband access, and expand tourism and recreation. WMSRDC has remained a partner throughout the planning and implementation of the Northern Collaborative, helping to sustain efforts and ensure alignment with the region’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS).