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Apopka Business

Apopka Area Chamber of Commerce launches charitable foundation

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What is the role of a chamber of commerce in a community?

Most people would agree that it's a vehicle to promote local business, attempt to bring economic success into its area, and enhance the community it serves. Some chambers might dip their foot into the political pool (or maybe dive in), but in general, it's about economic and business development.

But what if a chamber looked beyond that typical model? How much good could it do if it expanded to a larger, more diverse scope? What if they took on social issues with the same vigor it typically reserves for the business class? What if the problems that ordinary citizens face were the same ones the chamber looked to eradicate?

I wrote those words about a year ago, and it looks like the Apopka Area Chamber of Commerce has taken a step in that direction this month.

On April 25th, the Chamber Board of Directors unanimously approved the mission statement for its launch of a foundation.

The Chamber mission statement reads:

"The Apopka Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation, created as a 501-c3 by the business member community, to promote efficient and effective ways to provide business advocacy and collaboration, community humanitarian assistance, long-term community improvement, to support improved literacy rates of children, mental and cultural wellness, increase educational attainment and overcoming workforce barriers to underestimated people, promote equality, and overall prosperity for all in our region."
 
Pam Dionne, Board Chair of the Apopka Chamber, believes the foundation could serve as a platform of service for the business community.
 
"As a business owner and member of the Apopka Area Chamber of Commerce for over 20 years, I am thrilled the board approved the filing of the foundation and its mission," Dionne said. "The mission aligns with the Chamber’s vision for continued support and service throughout the business community and beyond, as it has since 1913."

According to Cate Manley, Apopka Chamber President/CEO, the board of directors’ first steps after approving and accepting the mission statement is to file the 501c3 with the state next week. Once filed and established it will review and bring forth a motion to vote on recommended personal and chamber contribution options. 

And although it does not have an initial project in mind, Manley expects the process to move swiftly.

"Getting the foundation established and developing the Board of Directors and Bylaws are our initial focus at this time," said Manley. "We are looking forward to this process."

Once it is established, The Chamber's foundation will start the fundraising process by connecting with local partners to plan the first Chamber Foundation Golf Day among other opportunities in the fall. 

"The Apopka community has robust and diversely talented business leaders," said Manley "Many of whom are members of the chamber. I look forward to developing the foundation and connecting. Drawing upon our assets, we will partner and deliver solutions that improve the community." 

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