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Chambers for Chambers
Greater Westerly-Pawcatuck (RI) Chamber
Here is another chamber seeking post-Sandy support . . . .
ACCE member Greater Mystic, Conn., Chamber of Commerce alerted ACCE to a neighboring non-member chamber whose community was significantly affected by Hurricane Sandy. The Greater Westerly-Pawcatuck Chamber of Commerce in Westerly, R.I., about eight miles from Mystic, is the largest southern Rhode Island chamber of commerce, serving 800 members. Several of its members are along Misquamicut Beach in Westerly. Following the storm, Atlantic Avenue, the main road along the beach, was covered in sand that appeared to be six feet deep in some areas, leaving many businesses and homes damaged or destroyed.
The Chamber is accepting donations for the relief of Misquamicut. You may make a tax-deductable donation to the Westerly Chamber Foundation or purchase a “Bring Back the Beach” t-shirt for $15, plus shipping ($12 goes into the grant fund). To donate online or purchase a t-shirt, visit the Bring Back the Beach - Misquamicut Beach Recovery web page. For more information, contact the chamber at (401) 596-7761.
The Greater Westerly Chamber Foundation, Inc. (GWCF) - a non-profit 501c (3) arm of the Greater Westerly-Pawcatuck Area Chamber of Commerce was granted its nonprofit status on March 20, 1998. The non-profit number is 05-0494495. Westerly Town Manager Steve Hartford was among the original Board Members at the time the GWCF was established. Westerly accountant Michael Benevides, and Greater Westerly-Pawcatuck Area Chamber of Commerce Exec. Director Lisa Konicki were also among the original Board Members, and they continue to serve today.
The GWCF is using its Jump Small Business Recovery Grant Program to help businesses get back up and running for next season. The program helped 32 businesses with $73,000 in grants in 2010, after the historic flood. Grants will be awarded to small businesses to help with the staggering amount of expenses that are NOT covered by insurance. An Administrative Oversight Team for the fund has developed eligibility criteria, an application and a process for evaluating each application. GWCF Board members will be joined by a representative of Senior Corps Retired Executives (SCORE), and the Misquamicut Business Association to serve on the Administrative Oversight Team, along with Westerly Town Councilor Brian McCuin. There is complete transparency and public accountability with this process, and all grant awards will be made public.
100% of the donations will go directly to Misquamicut businesses that need financial support to resume operations. Membership in The Chamber of Commerce or the MBA is not a requirement to receive funds. Grants will range in size based upon donations received, the number of grant applications received, and the extent of verifiable non-covered business losses experienced by the business, amongst other criteria. Documentation of damages will be required. Donations to this fund ARE 100% tax deductible. Donations may be sent to 1 Chamber Way, Westerly, RI 02891.
Queens Chamber (NY)
So many chambers have seen their communities damaged by Hurricane Sandy that it is hard to know where or how to help. Both the requests for help from chambers and the offers of support will be filtering in here slowly over the coming days. The first specific request is from our friend Jack Friedman at the Queens Chamber (NY), which most of you know was severely hammered with water, wind and fire.
Jack's members need portable generators and pumps. If you have a business connection in your region that could help Jack help his members with such equipment, please connect with him directly using his email address (phones are iffy).
I am sure the members of other chambers will have the same needs, so if you find a willing, generous source, please communicate it to Tania Kohut of the ACCE staff.
(718) 898-8500, x122
75-20 Astoria Blvd, Suite 140
Jackson Heights, NY 11370