The Morgan Hill Chamber of Commerce has been advocating for business and building community since 1958.
By Brittney Sherman
Chamber of Commerce . . . what’s that?
Historically, the first chamber of commerce was founded in 1599 in Marseille, France. The oldest English-speaking chamber of commerce and oldest one in North America is the Halifax Chamber located in Nova Scotia, which was founded in 1750.
Today, even Disneyland has its own chamber of commerce. It seems like every city has one, but why? What is a chamber of commerce? What is their purpose? What do they do? Why is a chamber of commerce a staple within every city?
For more than two centuries, chambers of commerce have existed, at times even before a city had incorporated. For all intents and purposes, a chamber of commerce is a local association that both protects and promotes business interests within its community, while also advocating for sustained prosperity of its region through thriving businesses.
Chambers are membership-based organizations operating mainly as 501c(6)s to maintain the ability to engage in lobbying and public policy when necessary. Chambers provide advocacy, communication and support for businesses, while also developing entertainment and recreation for the overall community. They can be multi-faceted, performing their chamber duties but also acting as an area’s Visitor Center, Tourism Bureau or Economic Development Corporation. According to ACCE, today there are more than 4,000 chambers of commerce in the United States and more than 13,000 chambers registered throughout the world.
The Morgan Hill Chamber of Commerce has been advocating for business and building community since 1958. Our organization represents more than 550 businesses, communicates with more than 2,000 business representatives, has 19,000-plus social media followers and is managed by an 18-person board of directors and three staff members.
We operate as a 501c(6) nonprofit organization and are completely self-funded by membership, sponsorship, business and events revenue. Like most other chambers, a central mission for us is to build community.
The Morgan Hill Chamber secures funding for and produces four high-profile community events: the Celebrate Awards, Friday Night Music Series, Taste of Morgan Hill and Women’s Week Celebration. They draw from 250 to 50,000 attendees.
Advocating for and promoting business members is another core part of our mission. The Morgan Hill Directory and Community Guide is an annual 86-page color publication produced by our organization, printed 19,000 copies and mailed to every address in Morgan Hill for the purpose of supporting local business and providing information on city composition and services.
The chamber functions as a convener of conversations, hosting a number of monthly meetings around economic development, government relations and education, while also providing a number of business networking opportunities through the Good Morning Morgan Hill Breakfast, Chamber After Hours Mixer, Let’s Do Lunch and Business Expo Programs.
We go to meetings so you don’t have to. Being an advocate of the business and workforce communities, our organization lobbies for business-friendly action at all levels of government from the city to the county to the state level.
The Morgan Hill Chamber is a champion for business and a platform for community entertainment and inclusivity. Join us today and let’s get started connecting, promoting and advocating for your business.
Brittney Sherman is the president and CEO of the Morgan Hill Chamber of Commerce. Reach her at [email protected]
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