Fort Wayne Black Chamber of Commerce - About Us

Leadership
The leadership of the Fort Wayne Black Chamber of Commerce includes:

Mr. John Dortch, Chief Executive Officer
Mr. Cozey Baker, Chief Finance Officer
Mr. Clifford Clarke, Board of Directors President

How We Got Started
From August to December 2011, several local men met to discuss the organization and formation of a Black Chamber for the city of Fort Wayne. John Dortch and other organizers met with Mike Landram, president of the Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce to win his support, pledging that the two groups working together would enhance both organizations. They also met with Mayor Tom Henry to secure his backing. Although the FWBCC officially started in January 2012, a news conference to announce the founding venture was held on March 5, 2012 at the Fort Wayne Urban League. The charter members are:

 Cozey Baker Jr.
 Clarence Benton
 Greg Copeland
 John Dortch
 George Eldridge Sr.
 Leroy Jackson Jr.
 Maurice Smith
 Brad Stiles

Mission Statement
The Fort Wayne Black Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit business organization providing members a strong voice, vision, and focused leadership to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life in our community.

Strategic Plan Vision
Over the next five years, the Fort Wayne Black Chamber of Commerce will:
* Continually provide excellent and responsive service and communication with its members, board and the public.
* Strive to increase membership involvement in the programs and activities of the Chamber.
* Support positive economic development and business growth.
* Utilize membership investment funds and other revenue responsibly to achieve the mission, vision, and objectives of the Chamber.
* Align the operations of the Chamber with standard business practices of general business to conduct activities with honesty, integrity, financial responsibility, and in accordance with the law.

Membership Objectives
*Annually survey the membership’s satisfaction with existing programs, activities, and services and provide an opportunity for the development of additional programs, activities, and services based on membership needs and expectations.
*Initiate recruitment and retention programs to continually increase the total number of member businesses by a percentage each year.
*Maintain communication with members.
*Ensure the responsible use of financial resources to maintain an appropriate level of service to members now and in the future.
Community Objectives
*Annually survey the membership’s satisfaction with existing Chamber involvement in community activities and provide an opportunity for assessment of Chamber leadership and/or support for additional involvement.
*Maintain active and visible participation in the community and a continued positive perception of the Fort Wayne Black Chamber of Commerce.
*Establish and maintain direct relationships with government officials to advocate for issues important to the black community.
*Continue to support development of a community-wide enhancement plan to include at minimum, prioritized projects, project leads and partners, and a supporting funding strategy, in cooperation with the City of Fort Wayne.
*Support efforts to maintain and improve the quality of life in the community through existing civic, community, educational, and charitable organizations.

Business Objectives
*Annually survey the membership’s satisfaction with Chamber involvement in economic development activities and provide an opportunity for assessment of Chamber leadership and /or support for additional involvement.
*Support business retention, expansion, and new business as well as recruitment through positive partnerships with organizations such as:
  The Greater Chamber of Fort Wayne
  Other outlying Chambers
  City of Fort Wayne
*Develop a “Workforce Development Plan” in cooperation with schools, colleges, other Chambers, economic development organizations, in order to assist businesses to find staff with the necessary skill and training to become employed or entrepreneurs.
*Provide opportunities for education on issues, workforce training, services, and programs to support local businesses. These activities or programs will include, but not limited to:
  A quarterly Economic Forum with specific topics for each quarter
  Annual small business recognition awards
  Annual new start up business with awards
  Annual success breakfast in coordination with Greater Fort Wayne Chamber with a speaker and some educational workshops to support the needs and expectations of the business community.
  Periodic membership meetings on topics of interest to businesses and/or business related seminars and educational programs.
*Develop relationships with City Council, County Council, and or agencies, or organizations that would be beneficial to helping the Chamber meet the economic needs of the black community.
*Participate and bring to the attention of the area transportation board the need for appropriate transportation for Chamber members.

This strategic plan is intended to be a “living document” providing general direction for the Chamber. It will be reviewed annually.