Greetings from the Kenosha Area Chamber of Commerce. I hope that this email finds you safe and healthy.

The Chamber has proudly served Kenosha businesses for 104 years. Our mission is to engage and connect our nearly 700 member businesses with the greater Kenosha business community. We do this though education, networking, promotion, and many other activities that help our members grow and prosper. We provide services and activities for small, medium and large businesses. These include: Business After 5/Business Before 9 events, Ribbon Cuttings and Grand Openings, the Kenosha EXPO – Health and Home Show, the Annual Business Directory, Electronic Certificates of Origin for our members that export, Scholarships for our members and their high school graduates, Professional Development opportunities and so much more.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected businesses across all sectors, especially small businesses. The Kenosha Area Chamber Commerce is no exception. The majority of the Chamber’s revenue is from Membership Investment (dues), events like our Legislative Breakfasts and EXPO, and member targeted services like our Business Directory. The Chamber receives no City, County, State or Federal funding.

Over 70% of our members are businesses with 15 or fewer employees. These are the businesses hit hardest by this pandemic. Although these businesses value their Chamber membership, the decrease in their revenue because of the virus has caused a significant decrease in the Chamber’s revenue. Added to our concern, the Governor’s “Safer at Home” decree has forced the Chamber to postpone or cancel events.

The Chamber is a 501c(6) organization and is not eligible for most of the relief funding provided by the government and the Small Business Administration. Even the latest relief package just approved by the House on April 23 excludes 501c(6) organizations from relief funding.

We have reduced staffing expenses through furloughs, reduction of hours and reduction of pay. However, the Chamber continues to have monthly expenses – rent, utilities, insurance, etc. – that need to be paid. During times of “business as usual,” the Chamber’s budget is $20,000 per month. Even with the reduction in expenses and cost controls, our current monthly revenue does not cover our current monthly expenses.

Because of this need, the Chamber has created a “Chamber COVID-19 Relief Fund.” The goal of this relief fund is to raise 60-90 days of funding for the Chamber. We are asking members that can to send contributions to this Relief Fund. These contributions will help sustain the Chamber through the pandemic. Checks can be sent directly to the Kenosha Area Chamber of Commerce, 600 52nd Street, Suite 130, Kenosha, WI 53140. If you wish to contribute via a credit card, please call me at (262) 237-2316 and I will confidentially handle the transaction for you via the Chamber’s online payment system.

The Kenosha Area Chamber of Commerce values and appreciates all of our member businesses. We will continue to provide all of the services that we can during this pandemic. As the economy opens, the Chamber will provide guidance to businesses on how to keep their employees safe, how to keep their customers safe, how to obtain access to PPEs and marketing to let their customers know that it is safe to do business again.

Now, we are asking for your help. Thank you in advance for your consideration and contribution.

Stay safe.

Lou Molitor
Kenosha Area Chamber of Commerce

A Letter from the Chamber President