The LGBT Network has launched the first-ever Long Island LGBT Chamber of Commerce.
David Kilmnick, president and CEO of LGBT Network, was joined by Matt Cohen, president and CEO of the Long Island Association, and Terri Alessi-Miceli, HIA-LI president and CEO, at Tuesday’s announcement held at the LGBT Network headquarters in Hauppauge.
The new business association is aimed at advocating for inclusivity and diversity in the local business community and to combat anti-LGBT discrimination against LGBT merchants, business owners, and patrons. The effort will also advocate for parity and equity of government assistance to LGBT businesses after more than a third of LGBT-owned businesses say they were unable to access PPP or EIDL loans during the pandemic, according to a LGBT Network statement.
The LGBT Network is collaborating with the LIA in connecting LGBT-owned and LGBT-welcoming businesses with opportunities to network and connect with support resources at the LIA through its new Small Business Support Program, according to the statement.
The new chamber will also assist LGBT-owned businesses with recruitment and hiring.
“Today the LGBT Network launched the Long Island LGBT Chamber of Commerce, the Island’s first and only local LGBT Chamber of Commerce as a new economic driver for the region,” Kilmnick said in the statement. “The mission of the Long Island LGBT Chamber of Commerce is to promote and foster growth for LGBT-affirming and welcoming businesses of all types and sizes, especially LGBT-owned businesses, through networking, education, and uniting the broader business community. The Long Island LGBT Chamber will hold networking events, coordinate a member directory, and organize informational programs to support businesses growth as it fills a gap in the business community. The Long Island LGBT Chamber of Commerce will give businesses of all types and sizes the opportunity to connect to the LGBT community on Long Island and will be a resource for LGBT consumers who want to patronize LGBT-friendly and LGBT-owned businesses.”
The annual cost of membership in the new chamber of commerce, which comes with directory listings, discounts and other benefits, ranges from $250 for a business with no employees to $1,500 for a business with more than 250 employees, according to the LGBT Network website. Members will have an opportunity to participate in a LGBT Network Certified program that recognizes companies and organizations for their LGBT inclusion, support, and community involvement.
The group is also offering chamber partnerships for $2,500 and $5,000, which include advertising, entry to chamber events, discounts, listing on social media and more.
The Long Island LGBT Chamber of Commerce follows other similar business groups throughout the country, including the Manhattan-based National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas City-based Mid-America LGBT Chamber of Commerce, and others in places like Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Illinois, Texas, New Jersey, Tennessee and more.