The Erie County Chamber of Commerce traces its roots to the incorporation of the Sandusky Chamber of Commerce on June 29, 1899. It’s stated purpose was for “effecting an organization to be composed of the merchants, business men and others interested in the welfare, progress and growth of the City of Sandusky”, and “for securing the location of manufacturing plants and business enterprises within the city or on lands adjacent thereto.”
In 1915, the corporation’s name was changed to “The Sandusky Federated Commercial Club”, and its purpose became “to promote the best interest and welfare of the City of Sandusky…and the territory contiguous thereto, and to hold and acquire all property real, personal and mixed, which may be necessary for the successful accomplishment of the corporate objects” (sic).
Four years later, the name was returned to the original “Sandusky Chamber of Commerce”, which was maintained until May of 1962. At that time, the name was expanded to “Sandusky Area Chamber of Commerce”. Then, on July 8, 1987, the name was again changed to its current “Erie County Chamber of Commerce”.
While the specific purposes of the organization have changed over the years, the basic purpose of promoting the welfare, progress and growth of the community remains. Today’s Erie County Chamber of Commerce places strong emphasis on the provision of services, promotion of its members, and advocacy on behalf of local business.
Board of Directors, Officers, & Staff
The Erie County Chamber of Commerce is a 501(c) (6) non-profit business organization, governed by an 18-member Board of Directors. Each Director may serve a maximum of two, three-year terms. The Board is headed by the Chairman, who holds the office for a one-year term. A Vice-Chairman is also appointed to a one-year term, and generally assumes the Chairmanship the following year. The Treasurer may or may not be a member of the Board. The Board employs a chief operating officer with the title of President, who in turn, employs as many staff members as necessary, within the confines of the Chamber’s operating budget. The President and staff of the Chamber are paid, and are hired to serve both members and the general public.
Divisions, Committees, Task Forces
Members of the Chamber may, depending on their interests and time availability, choose to serve on one or more of the Chamber’s committees or tasks forces. These committees and tasks forces conduct the programs and activities of the Chamber. Each committee and tasks force is headed by one of its members, who is appointed by the Chairman to serve as its chair. Chamber committees and tasks forces are typically placed into program divisions, according to their function. Also, a member of the Board of Directors will serve as a “Division Chair”, which is a liaison position between the various committees and tasks forces and the Board.
The program divisions of the Chamber are: Economic Affairs, Advocacy, and Organizational Affairs.
Political Action Committee
The Erie County Business PAC was created by the Chamber in late 2006. It is a county-registered political action committee, whose purpose is to support pro-business candidates and issues in Erie County, through direct financial support of campaigns, and by issuing endorsement. Contributions to the political action committee are voluntary, and not tax deductible.