Making the case: “Don’t support the chamber . . . unless”
Last month, Mike Elswick, publisher at the Terrell Tribune in Texas, didn’t mince words when he made the case for joining his town’s local chamber . . . or not. His opinion piece, published with the provocative headline, “Don't support your chamber of commerce .... unless,” makes numerous arguments for why businesses in Terrell, Texas, should join their local chamber. His points can be applied to any chamber’s membership recruitment efforts, but the way he presents his case makes this op-ed a must-read.
Charlotte Chamber: All in for transportation funding
As part of their Grow America tour, Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Transportation Secretary (and former Charlotte Mayor) Anthony Foxx met with local business and civic leaders in Charlotte this week. Their tour serves to promote the President's proposal to rebuild or replace America's crumbling infrastructure.
The Charlotte Chamber of Commerce was in attendance and is in support of congressional action on infrastructure funding. (Click here to hear reactions from chamber leaders invited to attend.) According to Bob Morgan, president of the chamber, the Charlotte region currently has two million residents, and is expected to reach four million within the next 20-30 years. As the fourth fastest growing state in the nation, funding infrastructure to support that growth is a major concern. Although the Charlotte region has great plans for economic growth and infrastructure improvement, their ability to execute those plans relies heavily on federal action.
The president's proposal, which includes $478 billion in transportation infrastructure investment over six years, serves to solve the transportation funding problem. The Highway Trust Fund is expected to once again run out of money in May 2015 if congress does not act. There is still much debate over the best way to pay for increased transportation funding, but one thing is clear: something needs to be done, and soon.
Although transportation funding is a priority in Charlotte, it is also vital to all cities, regions and states across the country. A nationwide coalition of Chambers has banded together in support of congressional action on this issue. To find out more information about the coalition, their letter to congress, and how you can join the Charlotte Chamber in support of this issue, visit acce.org/transportation.
Congratulations to these ED Rockstars
Recognized by two different industry-leading groups, Paul Rumler, Chief Economic Development Officer of the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce, and Larry Burkhardt, Executive Vice President of the Fox Cities Regional Partnership, have recently been named top performers in the industry.
Rumler, who has served the Quad Cities chamber for more than 8 years, was named to the 40 Under 40 list for the economic development profession. Individuals recognized on this prestigious list represent young leaders who have raised the bar in economic development through innovation, high standards, strong character and a track record of success.
Consultant Connect, a consulting agency designed to bridge the gap between economic developers and site consultants, has included Larry Burkhardt among its list of North America's top 50 economic developers. Nominated by colleagues, Larry is recognized for helping the Fox Cities Chamber establish an economic development organization that is growing in its reputation as a credible, professional and effecting job creation catalyst.
Congratulations to both division members on these outstanding commendations!
On the Road with The Magicians of Main Street
Recently, ACCE's Senior Vice President Chris Mead has had the honor of visiting member chambers to share the stories and history of chambers of commerce presented in his book, The Magicians of Main Street. Last Thursday, he was the featured speaker at the Walton Area, Fl., Chamber's annual gala and 90th anniversary event. Today, he travels to his hometown of Chapel Hill to be the keynote speaker at the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber's annual meeting.
"Chambers of commerce in the United States have such a rich history on their own, but few know about their integral part of American history," said Mead. "I really enjoy seeing the audiences' reactions of surprise and sometimes delight. These stories can be a motivator for chamber staff and volunteers to think big."
Look for Mead's presentation in your area or the next chamber execs meeting. In February he is slated to speak at Ohio Chamber execs (CCEO), Commerce Lexington, and One Southern Indiana. He will also present this spring at Mid-America Chamber Executives' Annual Conference in South Dakota, MAKO Chamber Conference in Missouri, and the Florida Association of Chamber Professionals' Spring Conference.
From Microsoft: Windows Server 2003 Extended Support Ends July 14, 2015
Windows Server 2003 extended support ends July 14, 2015. Start planning now.
- 5 Reasons to Upgrade
- The Assessment and Planning Toolkit
- Forbes Article on Embracing the Digital Age
- Find a Local Microsoft Partner to Help
An Awards Night Surprise
The Buddy System: Chambers Supporting New Year’s Health Resolutions
It is often said that the key to sticking to your New Year’s resolution is using the buddy system: enlisting a partner to support your journey and report your progress to. In the New Year, chambers of commerce are taking on this role in their communities for members who want to support their employees’ workforce wellness resolutions. Both the Greater Des Moines Partnership and Saratoga (NY) Chamber of Commerce have announced new initiatives to boost the health of their communities in 2015:
- Along with community partners, the Greater Des Moines Partnership has unveiled a new Wellness Toolkit, in an effort to help its small business members make Iowa the healthiest state in the country by 2016. With one year to tackle this goal, the Chamber has created a business-friendly 12-month toolkit.
According to the press release, “many small business owners like the idea of helping their employees remain healthy, but don’t have enough time, knowledge, or resources to implement a program. The Get Active Wellness Toolkit seeks to remove those barriers by arming small businesses with ‘plug-and-play’ content to help them implement a wellness program within their offices.”
Each month in the toolkit represents a different health theme, from fitness to dental health. Each kit contains a poster that lays out wellness tips, facts, and resources. Employers can also download packets that contain more health facts, suggestions for activities to implement in the workplace, and daily health tips that they can email to employees.
Also found on its wellness homepage, the Partnership has created various fact sheets regarding health and fitness, compiled a directory of resources for wellness in the workplace, and even supports a mobile app that connects members of the Des Moines community who have committed to an active lifestyle.
- The Saratoga (NY) Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Blue Shield of Northeastern NY, is hosting Saratoga’s first-ever Health and Wellness Week from January 5-11. Enlisting the participation of member businesses, the event will showcase many of the health and wellness opportunities available in Saratoga, with the goal of inspiring the community to live healthier in 2015.
Throughout the week, member businesses will help create buzz and excitement around health and wellness by offering a wide range of workshops, classes, discounts and seminars. These mini-events are designed to help community members explore new health and wellness products and services. Examples include mineral water tours, free fitness classes, mini facials, and cooking classes.
The Saratoga Health and Wellness Week was the brainchild of the chamber’s new Health and Wellness Committee, which is charged with expanding the chamber’s already expansive initiatives to make Saratoga one of the healthiest communities to live in.
For more information on how chambers are helping create healthier communities:
- Visit the Workplace Wellness and Community Health Chamberpedia Page to learn how chambers support childhood obesity prevention, corporate wellness, and access to healthcare
- Download the Workplace Wellness Communication Briefs to disseminate to members and broader community to explain how businesses can support healthy communities and healthy economies.
Withstanding Forces of Change
Today some chamber executives worry about whether their institutions can withstand the forces of change. A look at the past may give you some clues as to just how much chambers can handle. See this blog of an article by ACCE’s Chris Mead on the site of ACCE official corporate partner Accrinet.
International Trade Resources Now Available
The HERO team has added a new page on International Trade to Chamberpedia’s Economic and Community Development section. We’ve compiled related chamber services, programs, reports and publications, as well as federal trade resources, including research and statistics. We'll be adding to this page in the coming weeks, so please take a look and let us know at HERO@acce.org if your chamber has a program in this area that you’d like us to feature!
The Facts Are In: Evidence-Based Policymaking Works
Policymakers today face tough budget and policy choices that affect the outcomes they can deliver for citizens. By using "rigorous evidence" to inform these decisions, policymakers can achieve better results by funding public programs that are proven to work. "Rigorous evidence" is data from programs that has been evaluated multiple times and found to be reliable by using rigorous testing methods such as randomized controlled trials and statistically controlled evaluations.
New Mexico has become a national leader with its sophisticated evidence-based approach that measures the costs and benefits of public service programs to improve policy and budget decisions. Since state policymakers began partnering with the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative in 2011, they have a clearer picture of the value of taxpayer investments and they can direct resources to the most effective programs. By using the Results First model, New Mexico has:
- Helped inform legislative funding decisions to direct $49.6 million to evidence-based programs that will deliver high returns for New Mexico residents.
- Shifted funds from ineffective programs to alternative programs that analysis shows will improve outcomes for citizens.
- Compared the long-term costs and benefits of critical programs in adult and juvenile justice, child welfare, mental health and substance abuse, and early childhood.
In a Sept. 17 letter to the director of the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative, the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce said "The goals of Results First are aligned with many of the Chamber's policy priorities, including transparency and accountability in government, fiscal responsibility, reducing crime and recidivism, and improving education and child welfare outcomes. Because of this alignment, the Chamber's Board has voted to approve an official position supporting Results First."
New Mexico legislators continue working closely with the state's Sentencing Commission and Corrections Department to support ongoing criminal justice reforms and to explore effective means for reducing crime at lower costs. The same approach will be used in other policy areas such as juvenile justice, behavior health, and public education. Details of the New Mexico experience are available in a new 12-page report, "New Mexico's Evidence-based approach to Better Governance," by the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative. It highlights next steps for using the Results First approach and how other state policymakers can benefit from it. The report also offers insights from New Mexico's experience and key considerations for using the approach.
With Results First, governments can reduce wasteful spending, expand innovative programs, and strengthen accountability. For details about building a system of evidence-based governing, see Evidence-based Policymaking: A Guide for Effective Government from the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative. This 25-page report explains five key components of evidence-based policymaking:
- Program assessment. Systematically reviewing available evidence on the effectiveness of public programs.
- Budget development. Incorporating evidence of program effectiveness into budget and policy decisions, giving funding priority to programs that deliver a high return on investment of public funds.
- Implementation oversight. Ensuring that programs are effectively delivered and are faithful to their intended design.
- Outcome monitoring. Routinely measuring and reporting outcome data to determine whether interventions are achieving desired results.
- Target evaluation. Conducting rigorous evaluations of new and untested programs to ensure that they warrant continued funding.