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2020 Chamber of the Year Winners Announced

Tania Kohut on Wednesday, September 30, 2020 at 12:00:00 am 

 

The Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives announced the winners of the 2020 Chamber of the Year competition, sponsored by MemberClicks, during a virtual awards celebration at the Future of Chambers Summit. Watch the recording here.

Chamber of the Year is the most prestigious and competitive award presented by ACCE and is the only globally-recognized industry award that honors top chambers of commerce. Those honored with the Chamber of the Year designation have demonstrated organizational strength and made an impact on key community priorities.

The 2020 winners are: 

Category One:

Effingham County Chamber of Commerce 
Effingham, Illinois

Category Two:

Vail Valley Partnership
Edwards, Colorado

Category Three:

Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership
Ocala, Florida

Category Four:

Tulsa Regional Chamber
Tulsa, Oklahoma

Learn more about Chamber of the Year here.

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Weekly Roundup 9/18/2020

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

#ChamberStrong COVID Initiatives 

  • Minot Area Chamber of Commerce worked with Trinity Health to produce a toolkit that provides businesses with guidance on enhancing protections for employees and customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.  
  • San Antonio Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Richard Perez recently discussed the current economic situation in the region and highlighted worked training and retraining initiatives that can help workers gain the skills needed for jobs that are in demand right now.
  • Many chambers participated in the virtual Business Leaders United on the Hill event this week, calling on Congress to invest in digital skills training. To see some of the participants in their virtual meetings, view the hashtag #BLUontheHill.
  • The Capital Region Chamber will manage the new Capital Region Advancement Fund, a new revolving loan fund that will immediately assist businesses throughout the Capital Region who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • With the COVID pandemic grounding the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance’s business recruitment team, the organization launched a new series of virtual mixers with site consultants to help maintain relationships with those who bring projects to the region.
  • Saratoga County Chamber showcased Saratoga Hospital's COVID 19 Business Safety Consultation Program during an online meeting of its Small Business Owners Council.

 

Virtual and Hybrid Event Innovations 

Chambers are facing many challenges around events, including government restrictions on the size of gatherings, corporate policies that forbid employees from attending events, issues related to attendee confidence, Zoom fatigue and more. How is your chamber adapting? Please send me your most creative solutions to pulling off impactful events and we will share with the broader chamber community. Here are a few examples we've seen over the last few weeks: 

  • The Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber typically attracts 350 or more to its Epic Awards program. The state capped gatherings at 25 people, so the chamber had to get creative. They pre-recorded the program and had five sets of watch parties at area restaurants with outdoor seating for sponsors and honorees. The program was live-streamed on YouTube and Facebook and the chamber secured time on a local television station to rebroadcast. The event was a success financially, the chamber reached more people than in prior years and they received positive feedback from attendees sponsors and honorees alike. 
  • Greenville-Pitt County Chamber decided that another zoom event wasn’t going to be good enough for its annual Small Business Leader Awards. They partnered with a local church to host participants, speakers and honorees in person while broadcasting the event via live stream to the rest of its membership.
  • Grand Rapids Chamber wanted to up the production value of its virtual events, so it teamed up with a local studio to live stream the chamber’s recent Health Care Summit. 
  • The Huntsville/Madison County Chamber took inspiration from the NFL Draft to create an engaging virtual experience for its Annual Best Places to Work Awards. The chamber streamed the event using its office as the main site. As the moderators went through the program, they broaght the various companies into the broadcast via Zoom.
  • How do you host a socially distanced job fair? The Greater Rochester Chamber and the Longview Chamber recently promoted drive-thru job fairs to connect job seekers with opportunities in a safe outdoor environment. 

 

What We're Reading 

  • Feeding into our research on the future of chambers, this recent article from McKinsey & Company shows why we need to articulate our purpose as chambers, including solving our community’s greatest challenges. 
  • New research from Morning Consult and the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Early Childhood Initiative offers key insights into how working parents are making school-age care decisions as schools shift online.
  • In a recent article, Bruce Katz highlighted how the COVID-19 crisis has simultaneously heightened the need for the national leadership, but revealed the power and agility of the local leadership.
  • Greater Louisville Inc. released Now Louisville, a new strategic plan to help the organization propel the region to the next level by creating deeper public-private partnerships and focus their action on strategic pillars that will move the needle and create measurable change.

 

 

 

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Weekly Roundup 9/11/2020

Will Burns on Friday, September 11, 2020 at 12:00:00 am 

Expanding PPP to 501(c)(6) Organizations

Our partners at ASAE have a new sign-on letter urging Congress to expand Paycheck Protection Program eligibility to 501(c)(6) organizations. It also calls for the following PPP-related provisions:

  1. Reauthorize until at least March 31, 2021;
  2. Include 501(c)(6) nonprofits in the so-called “second draw” program;
  3. Expand the definition for eligible “receipts” within the “second draw” program to include in-person event cancellations and lost revenue from certification programs and other education; and
  4. Apply lobbying language as outlined in Section 90001 of the HEROES Act and included in the broadly bipartisan Local Chamber, Tourism, and 501(c)(6) Protection Act of 2020 (H.R. 6697).

The deadline to join this letter is Monday, September 14. Add your chamber today.

 

#ChamberStrong COVID Examples 

Congress remains deadlocked, but chambers of commerce across the country continue to create partnerships and find creative ways to support their communities through the COVID crisis.  

 

Chamber's Maintain Focus on DEI 

In the most recent edition of Chamber Executive magazine, we focused on some of the ways chambers are working to address racial equity. Here are a few more recent examples we've come across. 

  • The Greenville Chamber, working with other community stakeholders, launched the Greenville Racial Equity and Economic Mobility Commission, a group of 35 leaders working to "implement significant change in the areas of racial inequities, social justice, and other key gaps identified as focus areas of the Black community."
  • The Quad Cities Chamber highlighted diversity, equity and inclusion during its virtual annual meeting and launched a DEI toolkit to provide member businesses with a framework for action. 
  • San Angelo Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Walt Koenig recently published an op-ed to outline why the chamber’s board supports and encourages all community businesses to practice diversity, inclusion and equity in daily operations, hiring, development, and promotion decisions. 
  • The Greensboro Chamber’s State of Our Community event focused on COVID-19 recovery and how the community must address racial and economic divides as part of the recovery process. 
  • The United States recently celebrated the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance focused an episode of its podcast on renewing “The Dream” through educational equity, inclusive entrepreneurship and economic access. 

What We're Reading 

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Supporting Infants, Toddlers and Parents in Economic Recovery

Amy Shields on Thursday, September 10, 2020 at 11:00:00 am 

The lack of quality, affordable early childhood programs is one of the most pressing issues for working parents today. Chambers can be effective change agents and advocates for early childhood education in communities across the country. Focusing on infants and toddlers is good for the economy, good for our youngest children and good for our workforce, both today and tomorrow.

The statistics surrounding the availability of quality early education programs are concerning. Only 7% of eligible children are served by Early Head Start, and the cost of infant care is more expensive than in-state public college tuition in 33 states. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the availability of quality childcare programs even more drastically. According to a Bipartisan Policy Center survey in early April, 61% of parents reported their child care provider closed due to COVID-19.

Quality early education is also instrumental in developing the next generation of the workforce. Critical development happens from ages 0-3 age group, which can be foundational for growth and development later in life. Research shows that investing in programs for infants and toddlers can help bridge equity gaps, promote economic mobility for working families and provide foundational resources to set infants and toddlers up for academic success.

Chambers of commerce are uniquely capable of providing business knowledge and supporting local initiatives to help local early childhood programs and working parents. The Rogers-Lowell Chamber of Commerce recently committed to taking part in an early childhood task force in Arkansas. Steve Cox, senior vice president of economic development, shared, “Our Chamber is excited to be working with Cirricula Concepts to help increase access and overall quality of early childhood education for the Northwest Arkansas region. As we continue to grow and thrive as a region, it is vital to invest time and resources into providing affordable high-quality early childhood education for children and parents. These initiatives fall in line with our workforce and economic development mission work. We work with area organizations to train childcare providers and assist in opening new facilities to allow our existing workforce to stay active in their careers without worrying about access to quality childcare. Programs such as our Kindergarten to Job (K2J) and partnerships with area schools and childcare facilities are creating education pathways and setting up future generations for career success that can bring about generational change.”

Here are some other examples of how chambers are approaching early childhood supports:

ACCE’s roundtable call on this topic last year provided other examples of innovative programs in this area. You may also find ACCE’s brief Earliest Supports for Equitable Economic Recovery helpful. For more information on what is happening at the state policy level and research on building a state roadmap to support infants and toddlers, visit the Prenatal-to-3 Policy Impact Center. With increased support of early childhood education programs, chambers can support the workforce of today and the foundation for a better tomorrow.

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