What Chambers Are Doing Around the West

Billings Chamber Drives Community DEI with DEI Network

The Billings (MT) Chamber created their DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) Network to address the need for talent attraction and recruitment in their community that was not as diverse as competitors.

The project included a series of business surveys, small group discussions and board planning, leading to the formation of a 15-person advisory board, four-point strategic plan and an eight-month DEI immersion program.

The program relies on sponsors, workshop tuition and grants, and all income generated is reinvested into the program.

In their first year, they hoped to secure 15 organizations to begin the work in the immersion program but far exceeded that goal with 54 top-level C-suite leaders participating, which represented 17 businesses that employ 13,105 people. They have recently launched a resource website for businesses.

You can find details of the program and a full DEI Toolkit for businesses, as well as learn more at https://www.billingsdei.com/.

Rancho Cordova Chamber Debuts Shop Local App

The Rancho Cordova (CA) Chamber joined with the City of Rancho Cordova and partnered with a third party to develop the RCity App to incentivize their community to shop local.

App users earn loyalty points in the form of stars, which then can be redeemed at participating local businesses. The local businesses then can be reimbursed for all stars used at their business.

The app is free for both users and businesses, and the chamber has a dedicated staff member who handles the program. Participating businesses also are provided with program collateral to display in their business. At the time of a soft launch late last year there were 117 participating businesses and 572 app downloads.

To learn more and download the app, visit https://colu.com/RCity/.

Vancouver Chamber Helps Restaurants and Charities with Meal Program

The Greater Vancouver (WA) Chamber stepped up to help restaurants during the start of the pandemic, but as time went on, with no relief, they recognized a need to refresh communications and messaging.

The chamber joined with Visit Vancouver to create “Savor the Couve” to leverage community partnerships for the benefit of all businesses.

Each week during the program, five restaurants collaborate on 150 five-course meals for two, which can be purchased for $125. From each purchase, $25 is donated to a local nonprofit. Each week’s donations go to a different nonprofit, helping 16 organizations.

In their first run, they were able to generate $136,072 for 32 participating restaurants and raised $46,600 for 16 local nonprofits by serving 3,728 dinners.

Find out details about their 2022 program at https://shopgvchamber.com/.

Corona Chamber Holds Industry Roundtable Series

The Corona (CA) Chamber held an Industry Specific Roundtable Series for their members that invest in a higher level of membership to provide them with direct access to elected officials and leaders of the community.

One example was their Manufacturers Roundtable Luncheon featuring Congressman Ken Calvert while another was their Cannabis Industry Roundtable Breakfast with Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin. More than 60 members attended the cannabis roundtable.

You can view the chamber’s newsletter article on the roundtable at http://mypub.iebjpub.com/publication/?m=39846&i=732267&p=1&article_id=4182219&ver=html5.

Long Beach Chamber Offers Women’s Business Grant

The Long Beach Area (CA) Chamber’s Women’s Business Council created a Small Business Grant to help small, woman-owned businesses get a financial boost to help them reach their goals.

Woman-owned businesses are eligible if they are a chamber member with fewer than 20 full-time employees that has been in business for a minimum of two years. Grant money is raised through fundraisers, auctions, raffles and sponsorships.

Involvement by a large company in the community has allowed the chamber to double the grant amount to $5,000. Grants are presented at their annual Women of Excellence event.

Grant recipients have used the funds to add or upgrade equipment, improve marketing materials and in one case pay the balance on a tractor for a small local farm.

Want to know more? Contact Judy Nelson, vice president of business councils, at jnelson@LBChamber.com.

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Information featured each month in Around the West is taken from chamber newsletters and websites that W.A.C.E. receives from its members. We try to share best practices, innovative ideas and programs from chambers working hard to be Catalysts, Conveners and Champions and make a difference in their community. Make sure to subscribe W.A.C.E. to your mailing list, if you haven’t done so already, and you may be featured in a future Insider!

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