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Chambers Win PPP Eligibility in New Relief Package

Will Burns on Monday, December 21, 2020 at 12:00:00 am 

After months of fighting for access to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), chambers of commerce and other 501(c)(6) nonprofit organizations gained long-overdue access to federal support after Congress agreed to a new COVID stimulus deal.

There are more than 6,500 chambers of commerce in the United States. Despite a long-standing reputation of supporting small business and promoting community prosperity, chambers were denied access to critical federal support when Congress first created the PPP 

“Chambers of commerce stepped up with creativity, tenacity and commitment to help their communities through unprecedented times,” said ACCE President & CEO Sheree Anne Kelly. “Thousands of chamber executives spent months advocating for PPP eligibility, and ACCE is grateful that our elected leaders finally took action to support the vital roles chambers play in the communities they serve.”

Chambers of commerce have been critical in supporting their communities during the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. They launched helplines and provided advice to small businesses struggling to survive. They led community-wide efforts to leverage local businesses and their supply chains to ensure access to personal protective equipment. They administered local loan and grant programs and created campaigns to encourage residents to support local restaurants and retailers. Through it all, they were ineligible for the federal aid they frequently helped small businesses access. 

"It has been inspiring to see chambers across the country stepping up and finding innovative ways to pivot and serve our communities under very challenging circumstances," said Jay Byers, CEO of the Greater Des Moines Partnership and Chair of the ACCE Board. "We thank our congressional leaders for working closely with the chamber industry to provide additional pandemic relief to our business members and our organizations as we continue to focus on economic recovery and growth strategies for our cities, regions, states and country."

Eligible chambers must not receive more than 15 percent of their revenue from lobbying activities. Lobbying activities may not comprise more than 15 percent of the total activities of the organization and lobbying expenses during the most recent tax year may not exceed $1 million.

SBA Releases Updated PPP Rules and Application

The Small Business Administration reopened the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan portal this morning. Chambers of commerce and other 501(c)(6) organizations are now eligible to apply. The PPP website has been updated with new details including the application form and new guidance on how to calculate loan amounts and what documentation to provide.

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What We're Reading - Looking to 2021

Will Burns on Friday, December 18, 2020 at 12:00:00 am 

As we head into the holiday season, we hope you get some well-deserved time off to reflect on all the great work you and your chambers have done during a challenging 2020.  As we look ahead to the new year, we wanted to share a short reading list that highlights a few key trends and insights as you plan for 2021.

  • LinkedIn recently asked its community of influences to share big ideas likely to change our world. The result was 24 ideas that will shape 2021.
  • A recent Upwork Future Workforce Pulse Report surveyed 1,000 hiring managers and future hiring plans and the future of remote work. Those hiring managers believe that nearly 27 percent of the workforce will remain remote.
  • The Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council met on Dec. 8 and developed recommendations for the incoming Biden Administration that focused on four key areas: the economy, America’s role in the world, trade and China policy and inequity and inclusion in the workplace and society.
  • A recent Entrepreneur magazine article highlighted a tend where underrepresented communities are building their own funding networks.
  • A new report from Strada Education Network and Lumina Foundation explored the important role of intermediaries, like chambers, to provide leadership and strengthen public-private partnerships to tackle big community challenges.
  • A recent conversation between Amy Liu, vice president and director of the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, and Jamie Merisotis, president and CEO of the Lumina Foundation explored opportunities to redesign education, training and the workplace to adapt to an increasingly automated world.
  • A new National Skills Coalition policy brief explores ways to boost digital literacy and help workers acquire industry-specific digital skills.    
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