What Chambers Are Doing Around the West

This month we are featuring our 2021 Outstanding Chamber Program Award winners. Copies of their award submissions can be found in the Resource Library under the section titled Outstanding Chamber Program Award Winners.

FeedCulver – Culver City (CA) Chamber

At the beginning of the pandemic, the chamber recognized that members of their community were going hungry while restaurants were struggling to remain open and keep their employees.

The chamber worked with the Mayor, Downtown Business Association and local restauranteurs. This effort allowed donations to be made for meals to be purchased from local restaurants, helping them to keep their doors open, and then those meals were provided to people in the community experiencing food insecurity.

The program was 100% volunteer-led and all money raised went directly toward the purchasing of meals. The program’s original goal was to run for 2–3 months and serve a few hundred meals. They surpassed that goal. To date, the program has raised more than $650,000 and provided nearly 70,000 meals, allowing 17 restaurants to survive and keep over 100 employees employed, thus solidifying the chamber’s role as a champion for their community.

To learn more or to donate, visit https://www.feedculver.org/.

Northern Colorado ReIgnite Our Economy Plan – Fort Collins Area (CO) Chamber

As Northern Colorado began to recover from the pandemic, economic developers, chambers and business-serving organizations worked collaboratively to support local businesses and best position their community for economic recovery.

The mission of this collaborative effort is to strategically lead and align resources around the development and implementation of an economic plan to mitigate the economic impacts of COVID-19. The effort focuses on recovery and resiliency across industries, building a robust and diverse regional workforce, strengthening the role of Northern Colorado as a hub for innovation and enhancing regional cooperation.

This partnership allowed the chamber to help business not only survive, but in some cases thrive. The chamber provided the funding to hire a consultant to drive the conversation and write the plan with the community partners.

To communicate the multiphase plan, a roadmap was released. The plan is currently in “Phase 3 – Strategy Development.”

Learn more by visiting https://fortcollinschamber.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/2021-09-14-Northern-Colorado-Recovery-Strategy.pdf.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI)Toolkit for Businesses – Greater Phoenix (AZ) Chamber

In the wake of the social unrest over the past several years, businesses expressed a desire to do more in the space of DEI, but were unsure of where to start. The chamber stepped up and convened a group of professionals, who donated their time, to launch a toolkit and learning sessions providing resources to local businesses to help them implement best practices into their company regardless of size.

Alongside the toolkit, the chamber also convenes a quarterly forum where business leaders can share knowledge and information and learn from experts and each other about how to begin making changes and utilize best practices for a more diverse and inclusive workforce. The primary expense for the program was staff time.

The objective over the next couple of years is to secure additional financial resources to hire a dedicated staff person to oversee the program. So far, the program has conducted four employer forums averaging 65 attendees per event, as well as one informational webinar with 95 attendees.

The toolkit and video library are available online at https://phoenixchamber.com/membership/diversity-inclusion/.

Cracking the Government Code – San Luis Obispo (CA) Chamber

In May 2021, the chamber launched Cracking the Government Code to increase understanding of civic processes and elevate dialogue around important issues with the goal of strengthening the pipeline of people who align with their economic vision, Imagine SLO, and people ready to serve on advisory bodies, committees or run for office.

Their region was seeing a decline in interest to serve from qualified individuals, which was greatly impeding their community’s ability to thrive.

The program had 60 participants in its first session and provided a platform to convene elected leaders and other influencers to share their knowledge and experience. The program generated $23,500 through sponsorship and tickets. Costs were minimal as the event was purely virtual and the largest cost was staff time.

Since completion of the program, one attendee has been appointed to the city council, one speaker was appointed to a mayoral vacancy, three attendees have applied to sit on advisory bodies in the county, and the chamber has seen an uptick in applications for its own committees.

You can view the details from one of the sessions at https://slochamber.org/event/cracking-the-government-code-session-1-government-101/.