Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce

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Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce
Founded October 9, 1904
Type Advocacy group
Focus Non-profit dedicated to meeting the needs of its member companies through advocacy, education and building businesses by making member connections.
Area served United States United States
Key people Jerry Roper, President
Slogan The unified business voice of greater Chicago.
Website Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce Official Website

The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit organization promoting business in the Chicago metropolitan area of the United States. The organization is located in Suite 2200 in the Aon Center in the Chicago Loop area of Chicago, Illinois, United States.[1]

The Association of Commerce and Industry, as it was originally known, formed in 1904. In 1992, the organization took on the name Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce.[2]

The chamber is headed by Jerry Roper, its President and CEO. Since 1993, he has been an advocate for business growth, job creation, entrepreneurship, and civic activity in Chicago and throughout the country.


Some issues the chamber regularly advocates on behalf of include:

Taxation: a tax and regulatory climate that promotes and encourages private sector expansion and a competitive tax climate, and general structural reform of the tax system to reduce the reliance on property taxes to fund education and governmental entities. A Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights at all levels of government to give all taxpayers fairness mand equity when dealing with government on a contestable notice.

Transportation: coordinated efforts among the business community, local governments and the Congressional delegation to maximize federal funding for the region.

Business climate: wage levels set by market forces and a reasonable minimum wage set by the federal government, keeping the region on par with competing states.

Economic development: efforts to promote entrepreneurship and small and emerging businesses through the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center. Promotion of international business investment and relocation on behalf of the region.

Environment: strengthening energy infrastructure, reliability and affordability by supporting continued investment in generation, transmission and distribution systems, and promoting renewable energy resources and energy efficiency in order to create job opportunities, advance the competitive potential of Illinois.

Technology and entrepreneurship: investment to ensure people have access to the resources of the Information Age so that companies in all industries and business sectors can have access to a skilled information technology labor force.

Education and workforce development: adequately funding elementary and secondary schools and diminishing the over-reliance on local property taxes. Expanding the number of schools organized and operated to achieve high performance outcomes for students.

History of the Chamber[edit]

History: The chamber is a descendant of the Chicago Board of Trade which was founded in 1848. 1904 is the official founding date, when numerous groups were amalgamated to form the present Chamber of Commerce.

List of chamber achievements.

1908 - helps Northwestern University found its School of Commerce.

1912 - contributes to the creation and organization of the United States Chamber of Commerce.

1920s - organizes the "Secret Six." This group became an internationally famous crime fighting body, and was headed by Chamber President Colonel Robert Isham Randolph.

1940s - conducts a series of surveys resulting in the ordinance that took the public schools out of politics and created the position of General Superintendent of Schools.

1950: conducted a successful Chicagoland Fair, Commerce and Industry Exposition in 1957, and an even more successful Chicago International Trade Fair of 1959 followed it. The latter brought Her Majesty, Elizabeth, Queen of the British Commonwealth, to Chicago as well as a giant U.S. Naval Flotilla. The trade fair added millions of dollars to 1959 Chicago business totals.

1965: Mayor Richard J. Daley presented the chamber with a 1965 Human Relations Commission Award for, "initiating and successfully carrying out unique programs with the business community to open up more and better job opportunities for minority group people."

1975: organized a citizen's sponsoring committee, which raised $450,000 to educate the public about the essential need for the Regional Transportation Authority in 1974. The Chamber was also an active member in the successful passage of the six-county referendum that created the Regional Transportation Authority.

1987 - participates in the broad-based school reform coalition that led to the landmark School Reform Act of 1988.

2001 – advocate for expansion of O'Hare International Airport to support the region’s business needs.

2002 - awarded four-star accreditation by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for its outstanding contribution to positive change in the community. The Chamber has earned the highest rating to date for any Chamber in the United States.

2006 - partnership established with Scholarship of Chicago.[3]

2008 – the Chamber’s Chicagoland Entrepreneurship Center launches the Illinois Innovation Accelerator Fund. Awarded top honors by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce with five-star accreditation.

Programs and alliances[edit]

The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce has several affiliate entities, which it works closely with to support businesses in the region. Several include:

Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce Foundation: Every community needs the support and encouragement of individuals and organizations to enhance the welfare of society, the quality of life of its citizens and the success of its businesses.

The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce Foundation is a participant in this process by funding, developing and administering programs aimed at both assisting the development of and encouraging excellence within the Chicago region's businesses and communities.

One of the programs that the foundation has assisted in funding is the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center (the CEC), often referred to as "the beacon for small and emerging businesses." The CEC is the only entity in the Chicago region dedicated to serving the more than 350,000 small and mid-sized businesses throughout the region.

The Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center (CEC) is a nonprofit affiliate of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce that helps entrepreneurs and high-growth businesses build viable, sustainable, and profitable enterprises. The CEC serves as a strategic partner to its clients, offering advisory services to entrepreneurs that help them negotiate early-business decisions.

disabilityworks is an initiative of the Chamber designed to increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities throughout Illinois by bringing together employers, people with disabilities, and disability/ employment service providers. In 2007 the program expanded to become a state wide initiative.[4]

Innovate Now! brings together businesses, schools and local and statewide governments to create strategies for business success in Chicagoland and throughout Illinois. It aims to enable and promote the knowledge and relationships that will form the foundation for ongoing business innovation and regional economic growth.

Scholarship Chicago is an organization that provides college scholarships and preparatory programs for students in the area. The goal of this organization is to provide for a better economic situation by assisting graduating students with the transition into the workplace.


  1. ^ "Contact Us." Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved on January 31, 2009.
  2. ^ Encyclopedia of Chicago
  3. ^ Scholarship Chicago
  4. ^ disabilityworks

External links[edit]