Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce benefits local businesses in times of need

Chamber of commerce supports Flint, Michigan, enhancing its image and boosting economic growth after water crisis

Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce with a FlintNOW check.

Like most chambers of commerce, the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce supports local businesses through a multitude of programs. What makes the organization unique, however, is that it simultaneously serves as the region’s lead economic development agency and tourism bureau, provides youth education and training, and operates a shared services action group focused on bringing together municipalities, nonprofits and community leaders.

“Although we’re a business-focused organization, we understand that it’s equally important to address the needs of our entire community,” says CEO Tim Herman.

What the chamber does

For more than a century, the Flint & Genesee Chamber has been committed to growing the local economy. Though the recent Flint water crisis presented challenges, it didn’t curb the chamber’s efforts; instead, it created more opportunities to offer support.

“The water crisis hit small businesses hard,” Herman says. “Public perception caused a decline in sales, and then expenses increased as businesses installed new filtration systems.”

To provide relief, the chamber launched the Moving Flint Forward initiative, which includes a grant fund administered by the Genesee Chamber Foundation through the Community Foundation of Greater Flint. In partnership with FlintNOW, Huntington Bank donated the first $1 million to the fund.

Nearly $900,000 in grant funds have been approved for 92 companies since the program’s inception.

How its people help

Organized into action groups and departments, nearly 150 chamber employees make a difference in the community through collaboration.

“Every person plays a part in helping us create a strong business climate,” Herman says.

Now, even more people are getting involved. In 2015, the chamber launched a Certified Tourism Ambassador Program to “increase tourism by training hospitality workers, as well as private and public sector employees, to deliver a consistent experience for visitors,” Herman says. “More than 235 ambassadors were trained last year, making important strides to boost Flint’s image.”

Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce with a FlintNOW check.

About the organization

Name: Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce

Website: www.flintandgenesee.org

City: Flint

Phone: (810) 600-1404

Mission: To maximize economic and community growth through collaborative partnerships and promotion of the region

How you can help

Visit the community and support local businesses. The chamber launched a social media challenge last spring to drive tourism to Flint, inviting people to visit a local business or attraction, share a photo on social media with #ChooseFlint and then call on three friends to do the same. Check out the chamber’s website at www.flintandgenesse.org for more ways to get involved.