CHICAGO — Today, the LGBT Chamber of Commerce – Illinois announced the opening of an additional office in Springfield, Illinois. The LGBT Chamber of Commerce – Illinois Headquarters will remain in Chicago, Illinois.
“We are committed to LGBT business advocacy and our members in downstate Illinois through action, not just words,” said LGBT Chamber of Commerce Illinois, Chairperson Roxanne Meyer. “LGBT businesses are growing throughout Illinois and Northwest Indiana, and we are being proactive in advocating and expanding services for those businesses,” said Meyer.
New Executive Director Bill Wald said, “The LGBT and LGBT friendly business community in Illinois is strong and has a voice, with this new office we are expanding advocacy, services, professional development, and products throughout the state and northwest Indiana for our Chamber members and the LGBT community with the support of a strong Board of Directors.” Further, Wald said, “DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) are not just letters or words, they are implementable action.”
History of the LGBT Chamber of Commerce – Illinois
In 1995, Tracy Baim of Lambda Publications and Kevin Boyer of Communications Management, Inc. saw a need for a local chamber of commerce dedicated to gay and lesbian- owned businesses. Joined by three other business owners, they launched the Chicago Area Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. Their goal was to have 30 Members by the first organizational meeting in March 1996. By the time that meeting was called to order, the Chamber had grown to include more than 80 businesses. Today, the 501c6 not-for-profit LGBT Chamber of Commerce – Illinois has grown statewide with over 350 LGBT-owned and LGBT friendly businesses and is a leader in National LGBT Supplier Diversity Certification. The economic power of LGBT businesses, tourism, and community contributions an economic power estimated at over $400 million dollars a year to Illinois, the City of Chicago, and local governments. Nationally certified LGBT businesses contribute over $1.5 trillion on a national level and are growing.