About Marin Economic Forum

Mission Statement

The Marin Economic forum enables Marin’s economic stakeholders* to collaborate on improving the County’s economic vitality, focusing on Marin’s targeted industries** while enhancing social equity and protecting the environment.

Marin Economic Forum is…

  • Connecting Businesses to partners and solutions
  • Educating on the importance of business for Marin County’s future
  • Providing data and information to help businesses and local governments
  • Supporting economic development efforts for sustainable growth of local businesses


  • Attract, retain, and grow businesses and jobs to continually strengthen Marin County’s economy
  • Establish periodic forums for the stakeholders to share their visions and goals, to exchange mutually beneficial information and leverage limited resources
  • Collect, analyze and disseminate economic data and trends
  • Educate Marin County about its economic successes, challenges, and progress
  • Improve “economic sustainability” by prescribing economic development that integrates social equity and environmental balance with economic growth
  • Encourage governmental bureaucracy reduction and judicious economic policies to support the local economy and a thriving workforce

Core Values

  • Economic development with a focus on targeted industries
  • Small business growth due to these firms being a large majority of Marin’s economy
  • Economic gardening focused on “seed” company growth while mainstay and star businesses are also supported as a community development concept
  • Marin County is part of a regional and global economy so outside influences and effects must be considered;
  • Diversity is a vital component in driving economic opportunity as regional demographics evolve.

* Marin’s Economic Stakeholders include private sector companies, chambers of commerce, county and municipal governments, educational institutions, organizations supporting workforce employment, housing, and similar economic-related activities, consumer groups, and other organizations as designated by the MEF Board of Directors.

** Marin’s targeted industries as designated in the analysis found in the CEDS report on September 14, 2015. These industries include: Agriculture, Manufacturing, Wellness, Innovation, Tourism, and Education.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the primary objectives of the Marin Economic Forum?

The Marin Economic Forum strives to provide information and opportunities for improving Marin County’s economic vitality, while seeking to increase social equity and environmental protection.

What services does the Marin Economic Forum provide?

The Marin Economic Forum conducts original, independent research and provides data and information to local governments and businesses that support economic development and opportunities for sustainable growth for local economies.

Is the Marin Economic Forum a dues-paying organization?

The Marin Economic Forum derives its income from contributions from local businesses and governments as well as from the fees derived from its conferences and original research and studies.

Who belongs to the Marin Economic Forum? Are there membership requirements? If I/we are interested in participating in the group, who do I contact?

Marin Economic Forum membership is open to private sector companies, chambers of commerce, county and municipal governments, educational institutions, organizations supporting workforce employment, housing and similar economic-related activities and consumer groups. Additional information as well as data, networking opportunities and sponsorships is available at info@marineconomicforum.org or by calling (415) 483-9332. We are located at 555 Northgate Drive, Suite 255, San Rafael, 94903.

What are/have been the major accomplishments of the Marin Economic Forum?

The Marin Economic Forum produces annual reports about the state of the economy of Marin County as well as recommendations, insights and research regarding business conditions, housing and commercial development. MEF also hosts conferences and provides commentary and testimony, as requested, to local political, business and media outlets.

How are the priorities of the Marin Economic Forum established?

The Board of Directors and various subcommittees from the membership base of the Marin Economic Forum establish long-term as well as annual priorities and programs.

How is the Board of Directors selected?

According to the by-laws of the Marin Economic Forum, the directors will be chosen based on a slate of potential candidates provided by the Corporation’s nominating committee. Director positions are open to representatives of for-profit entities, non-profit organizations, or government agencies. As a practice, the majority of board positions will be made up of for-profit entity representatives.

Is the Marin Economic Forum a for-profit or a non-profit?

MEF is a 501c3 California Non Profit Public Benefit Corporation, EIN 45-4194417

When was the Marin Economic Forum established? By whom?

Here is a brief chronology of MEF:

1992 – Marin Economic Commission is formed
1999 – As part of the County General Plan Update, MEC reviews list of ideas for Economic Element Update
* Includes idea of creating a county-wide business organization
2004 – MEC engages ECG to complete a “Targeted Industries Study” to analyze drivers of Marin’s economy
* Two-word term categorizing existing and desired business “clusters” in private/for-profit or philanthropic/non-profit sectors
* Interview and inventory current businesses
* Analyze kinds of businesses we seek to attract
* Focus on businesses for skills and education already present
* Example: Fireman’s Fund
Introducing the Marin Economic Forum:
June 2009 – MEC selects Dr. Robert Eyler as Economic Sustainability Coordinator
* Summer: Dr. Eyler convenes a Steering Committee for the “Marin Economic Forum” to guide Phase I contract deliverables
– By-laws, mission, board, work plan, funding model
– Drawing on all previous work done by MEC
* Fall: Dr. Eyler reports completion of Phase I to MEC/BOS, initial board slate approved
January 2010 – MEF Board officially formed and MEF is launched
* Including ahead-of-schedule status as non-profit entity
Spring 2010 – Board committees form, activities begin to raise funds, fill remaining board seats, perform additional PR & outreach, and more
* MEC passes the baton, scheduled to “sunset” August, 2010
August 2010 – Fiscally sponsored through the Center for Volunteer and Leadership (CVNL).
May 2012 – The Marin Economic Forum 501c3 Non Profit Public Benefit Corporation created with support from more than three dozen local companies, chambers of commerce and municipal/counties governments.

Who are the officers of the Marin Economic Forum?

Haden Ongaro (Board president), Judy Arnold (Board vice-president), Carlo Serafini (treasurer), and Garry Lion (secretary)

Does the Marin Economic Forum hold regular meetings or events?

Annual events and publications include the following:
a. Marinnovation
b. Annual Economic Bulletin
c. Partners
i. Marin Business Forum
ii. North Bay Life Science Alliance (NBLSA)
iii. Working Solutions
d. Fiscally sponsored programs
i. CORE 100Marin
ii. The California Cheese Trail — www.cheesetrail.org
Promotes artisan cheesemakers and family farmers, connecting people to Marin County cheesemakers and their tours, cheesemaking classes and cheese events throughout California.

e. Forecasting the Future
f. Access to Capital