Monday, July 10, 2017

Chamber Nonprofit and Business Partners Council brings non-profit world together

Original article posted on lehighvalleylive.com

The Chamber Nonprofit and Business Partners Council is an information and networking organization with a goal of strengthening collaboration to build capacity of non-profits, and to showcase their impact on the economy and quality of life in the Lehigh Valley. 


Through networking, training and other programming, the group brings together the non-profit sector and business partners so that relationships can be formed, information can be shared, and everyone can benefit. There are more than 450 chamber member non-profit organizations and more than 6,000 businesses with over 200,000 employees that are all members of the chamber.  The Chamber Nonprofit and Business Partners Council is the largest in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and seventh largest in the United States.

Many businesses have employees that volunteer and/or are board members of these NPO's. The council has volunteer leaders representing for-profit and for-good organizations, both big and small, with geographic representation, diverse skills and experience, as well as organizational representatives from the arts, education, environment, health and human services. 

Monthly events help to nurture relationships, and introduce new ones -- the group often partners with others to present expert advice on subjects such as ethical giving, social responsibility, impact hubs, partnerships and mergers, EITC tax credits, 990 preparation, best practices for hiring interns, marketing and board development.

The group also presents an annual Collaboration Award during a conference held in the spring.  Previous winners were the Volunteer Center and Building 21 Allentown.  Let the council know of individuals or groups who have shown exemplary collaboration so that they can be highlighted. This signature event brings together an audience of elected officials, businesses and non-profits, with presentations from a nationally recognized speaker as well as local experts. 


The council is excited to bring keynote Vu Lee to the Lehigh Valley on April 25, 2018. Vu Le ("voo lay") is a writer, speaker, vegan, Pisces and the executive director of Rainier Valley Corp., in Seattle.  His passion to make the world better, combined with a low score on the Law School Admission Test, drove him into the field of non-profit work, where he learned that we should take the work seriously, but not ourselves. 

There's tons of humor in the non-profit world and someone needs to document it. He is going to do that, with the hope that one day, a TV producer will see how cool and interesting the field is and make a sitcom about non-profit work, featuring attractive actors attending strategic planning meetings and filing 990 tax forms. Known for his no-BS approach, irreverent sense of humor, and love of unicorns, Le has been featured in dozens, if not hundreds, of his own blog posts at nonprofitwithballs.com

For more information or get connected contact Lorie Reinert, staff liaison for the Chamber lorier@lehighvalleychamber.org.

Friday, June 23, 2017

The future is bright for the Hispanic Chamber

Luis Campos, City of Easton, Hispanic Chamber of the Lehigh Valley Chair

It has been an exciting and rewarding experience serving as the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of the Lehigh Valley (HCCLV) Chairperson. I have served as Chairperson for the last six years and have been involved with the HCCLV since its inception in 2003.

Along the way, I have had the opportunity to work with many individuals who have been as enthusiastic and motivated to build a business member organization. I am proud of the many accomplishments produced by the HCCLV including: the creation of the Fe Foundation in 2008, the merger with the GLVCC in 2014, supporting a policy position with the GLVCC on immigration reform, and experiencing overall growth year after year since opening our doors. The future is bright for the Hispanic Chamber!

Our committees are aggressive and filled with members that show the same excitement that sparked the creation of the organization. This year’s expansion into downtown Easton and areas that have not been explored is particularly promising. As the Latino community continues to grow, so does the HCCLV and its efforts to create a vibrant business environment that all can benefit.

This July, my term (serving since 2012) will expire as the HCCLV Chair. Even though I will no longer be the chairperson, I will continue to serve on the board and support the mission of the organization. I am looking forward to working with the new Chairperson, Victor Salicetti, as we continue to grow and explore opportunities.

If you would like to receive more information on how you can get involved with the HCCLV please contact Samantha at samanthac@lehighvalleychamber.org.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Culture drives performance in organizations

Charles Everett, Lehigh Valley International Airport, African American Business Leaders Council Chair

What's up at Fox News, United Airlines and Wells Fargo? Is it merely inappropriate behavior and poor treatment of staff and customers or is there a broader issue?

It's the Culture... Culture or unspoken rules of behavior are critical elements of an organization.

Two predominant components of organization culture are people and values. Various examples exist of organizations which have distinctive positive culture. They include companies like Southwest Airlines, Zappos and Google.

When you think of these companies, you think of their people first. People are fundamental to any organization. As a unified team with a common purpose, people bring their unique knowledge, skills, abilities and perspectives to successful performance, problem-solving and interaction. The team embraces the culture. The culture of the organization the guides how the people (staff and customers) are treated and treat each other in the process.

A value is an intrinsically desirable principle. Values guide establishing goals, setting priorities and making decisions. Values are a factor in every action and decision by individuals, teams and organizations. Values govern how individual tasks are accomplished.

Together these components of culture (people and values) define a largely unspoken set of rules or parameters of behavior. Culture drives performance in organizations. When it becomes necessary for an organization to improve the culture through formal or informal change management initiatives, the first step is to determine the values and understand the degree to which the values are embraced by the organization's staff and customers.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

10th Round of Main Street Grant funding to be announced in August

Main Street Initiatives
Laurie G. Hackett, Air Products, Chamber Foundation Chair


Please plan to join us on Wednesday, August 23 at the historic Hotel Bethlehem when we announce the 10th round of Main Street grant funding.


We want to thank the folks who have contributed to the success of this program - giving back to every community in the Lehigh Valley - we could not do this without you.


"Community Development is critical to the vibrancy of our sidewalks and business corridors. We love this event because it celebrates our business members who give back," said Lorie Reinert, executive director of the Chamber Main Street Program. "As our Chamber grows, so does our need to support our partners in Carbon, Lehigh, Northampton and Warren counties. No two communities are the same. We fund projects that visually contribute to each unique sense of place, positively impacting the economy and quality of life for individuals who live and work there."

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Chamber Ambassadors CARE (Communicate, Appreciate, Retain, and Engage)

Nate Kline, Infradapt, Ambassadors Council Committee Member

We are more than just a smiling face at your Grand Opening, Ribbon Cutting, networking event, or “Mastering Your Membership” event. Ambassadors serve our members by helping you get the most out of your membership! There are many benefits to being a chamber member, and it is our goal to help you take advantage of those benefits.


Some of the primary recommendations that we give are to become more involved and regularly attend networking events. Relationship building doesn’t happen overnight. These things take time and effort...and as they say, you get out what you put in!


Ambassadors are professional networkers. We know how to "work a room" and understand that networking may not come easy to some. If this sounds like you, please engage us at any event, and we will gladly introduce you to any one of our contacts in our “rolodex!”


Ambassadors CARE! We are your trusted resource and communicate to each other and to our members, and provide Chamber members with useful information. We appreciate your membership and work hard to help you get the full value out of your membership. We will help you formulate, build, and retain lasting relationships. Ambassadors will engage you, along with helping you get engaged.

So, the next time that you see a gold badge at your event, please stop us and say hello!

Monday, June 19, 2017

PJM - Who Are They?

Michael Gibson, K&H Custom Window Treatments, Energy & Environment Committee Member

PJM Interconnection was created 90 years ago. PJM Interconnection is a regional transmission organization (RTO) that coordinates the movement of wholesale electricity in all or parts of Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.

On April 11, members of the Chamber’s Energy & Environment Committee had the pleasure to visit PJM and learn more about this hidden treasure. PJM operates as the largest RTO in North America to provide reliable, affordable and sustainable electricity to millions of customers.

Here are some of the many oversights of PJM:

  • Acting as a neutral, independent party, PJM operates a competitive wholesale electricity market and manages the high-voltage electricity grid to ensure reliability for more than 65 million people.
  • PJM’s long-term regional planning process provides a broad, interstate perspective that identifies the most effective and cost-efficient improvements to the grid to ensure reliability and economic benefits on a system-wide basis.
PJM embraces innovation and fosters collaboration with our members and other key players in the power industry to explore new and emerging technologies. One of those we observed on our visit is large scale battery storage. This technology may one day help to even the spikes in distribution.

For a full detailed review of the PJM presentation visit the Chamber’s Energy & Environment Committee’s web page www.lehighvalleychamber.org/energy--environment.html and PJM at pjm.com

Friday, June 16, 2017

Potential shortfalls in the current fiscal year

Dorota Gasienica-Kozak, Esq., King, Spry, Herman, Freund, & Faul, LLC,
Public Policy Committee Chair


As we anticipate the Pennsylvania State budget for 2017-2018, we hear Republicans insisting no tax increases and no new borrowing to support current year expenses, preferring expanded gambling and further liquor sale reforms for new state revenue and reduction in state spending. Meanwhile, Democrats and Governor Wolf are promoting a plan to raise revenue for those and other causes through proposals for about 1 billion in new taxes, including a severance tax on natural gas production in the Marcellus shale region, the elimination of certain sales tax loopholes, and some changes to state business tax structures.

As business leaders, we must reflect on the outcome of the budget for the fiscal year 2016-2017 and its potential shortfall of over $1.2 billion plus. Unfortunately, a shortfall in the current fiscal year will likely be in excess of any projections for the entire fiscal year that ends on June 30, 2017. The areas of the shortfall are projected to result from various revenue sources that did not produce revenues as anticipated. Anticipated revenue shortfall sources include corporate tax revenues, personal income tax collections, sales and use tax, realty transfer tax, inheritance tax, gambling, tobacco, and state liquor code revenues, and non-tax revenue, which includes a larger transfer from the states liquor store fund which couldn’t offset a drop-off in unclaimed property collections. Such projections create a larger burden to find more revenue than anticipated. We will all be watching to see how our legislators propose to solve this question.