For 95 years, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce has been serving the businesses in Hollywood. However, a lot of what we do also benefits the community as a whole. Whether it was fighting for adequate storm drains and streetlights or building the first seats at the Hollywood Bowl in early day Hollywood, or fighting more recently to bring the subway here and to revitalize the community, the Chamber has been there working for a better Hollywood.
We take positions on hot political issues. Our PAC has endorsed candidates. We present seminars and conferences, and we administer the Hollywood Walk of Fame. However, besides these activities, there is another side of the Chamber that I love – and that is how the Chamber gives back.
In 1996, the Chamber formed a Community Foundation whose main purpose has been to raise funds for and to give grants to local nonprofits catering to the Hollywood area. They may be serving homeless youth or providing arts education, but they must serve the Hollywood area. Since the inception of the foundation, we have given out more than $800,000 in grants. This month, the foundation will be presenting another $28,500 in grants to 12 worthy organizations.
The foundation is chaired by immediate past Chamber Chair Beth Marlis. The amount of money that the foundation is able to give out is dependent on the revenues that are raised from two annual events – our Heroes of Hollywood Luncheon in the spring and our All Hallows Eve party at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. When you attend these events, you are supporting local organizations, because 100 percent of our net proceeds are given back to the community.
The All Hallows Eve party this year will be on Thursday, October 27th. Our Foundation board is already hard at work putting this together. We would welcome your sponsorship and attendance. If you are interested in more information, please contact Kristine Chong at email@example.com.
For the past 23 years, the Chamber has been organizing another community event – our annual Police/Fire BBQ. Each year we feed between 300 and 500 public safety officers who are putting their lives on the line to protect us here in Hollywood. Dozens of Chamber members donate food, supplies, or show up to serve the officers. The Chamber team serves from about 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. We always have Hollywood celebrities who also turn out to show their support. Our 2016 barbecue was held on September 9th.
I love these activities because they show how much the Chamber and its members really care about this community. Very few chambers have foundations whose main intent is to raise money to fund local needs. Very few do a barbecue for our public safety officers to show our appreciation. This Chamber does, and it is one more great reason to be an active member of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.