Inside the Yonkers Chamber of Commerce
By Jeanne Martinelli, Director of Marketing
About the Chamber
The Yonkers Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business in Yonkers, aggressively promoting measures and issues that are in the interests of doing business in the city and working against anything impairing or threatening the vitality of Yonkers businesses.
At every turn, the Yonkers Chamber advocates and initiates programs designed to enhance the image of Yonkers and stimulate the marketing of Yonkers-based products and services.
The Yonkers Chamber has grown dramatically over the last few years. In fact, the overall budget has grown from $200,000.00 in 1997 to a total of over 1.7 million today and is growing every year. In 1996 there were four employees compared with our current full and part-time staff of 25.
Monthly Networking Breakfasts
Our goal at the Chamber is to provide networking opportunities for our members and our primary social gatherings are Monthly Networking Breakfasts. Each month these informative breakfasts are held at different venues throughout our city and are sponsored by our Chamber members. The breakfast begins at 7:30AM with early bird coffee and networking, followed by the formal program, with adjournment at 9:00AM. Our guest speakers over the years have included many elected officials including County Executive Rob Astorino, Mayor Mike Spano, and District Attorney Janet DiFiore. Other celebrities that have graced our breakfasts are renowned journalist Phil Reisman, sports legend Melvyn Davis, our Police Commissioner Charles Gardner, and Yonkers Public Schools Superintendant, Dr. Michael Yazurlo, to name a few. Our Chamber Breakfasts are very well attended, informative, and high energy, and a perfect opportunity to network your business.
We are pleased to announce that our membership continues to grow and is a wonderful cross section of businesses both large and small. For more than 100 years, the Yonkers Chamber of Commerce has been committed to advancing the interests and needs of Business and Industry in our City. We invite you to join our Chamber and become one of the hundreds of active members who enjoy and benefit from the networking opportunities we provide. Free consultation is available to all members regarding health care programs and benefits to help you chose the best plan for you and your employees.
Women In Business Committee
A very active committee in the Chamber is the Women in Business Committee, which originated in 1991 when a small but highly talented and energetic group of professional women found themselves discussing the unique challenges facing the growing number of women in the workplace. As the leading agency promoting business within the City of Yonkers, the Chamber of Commerce seemed an appropriate venue from which to originate such a committee to address these challenges.
The major event of the Women in Business Committee is the annual "Women of Excellence Luncheon" which recognizes the heroines in our own community. Every March we honor four outstanding individuals who exemplify excellence and service to our community. In addition, the Women in Business Committee created The Virginia Eyler Scholarship Fund in honor of one of its founding members, for qualified young women from the Yonkers Public Schools. These exceptional students receive a $1000 scholarship at the luncheon.
The Women in Business Committee continues to become a greater presence in the community, with projects that benefit the Westchester Food Bank, the Pajama Program, Habitat for Humanity and the Furniture Sharehouse. In addition, toys are collected each year for the needy children at Leake and Watts and the Elizabeth Seton Pediatric
Annual Golf Outing
Another member-supported event is the Annual Golf Outing, which has grown to capacity. Many members find the networking opportunities at this social event another way of becoming part of the business community. Many non-golfers attend for the cocktail hour and dinner and for the socializing available to all attendees. This is a fun and casual outing for our golfers and non-golfers alike. The evening concludes with numerous raffle prizes and our annual 50/50 Drawing.
The Yonkers Chamber of Commerce produces a newspaper 3 times a year called The Progress. We developed the Progress in order to help our members promote as well as develop new customers through maximum exposure at a minimum cost. The Yonkers Progress is the only newspaper of its kind. It is distributed by the Penny Saver to 45,000 homes in Yonkers. Our special editions include Women in Business, Best of Yonkers/Back to School and our Business Hall of Fame/Holiday issue. We also highlight news and information about our chamber members, with loads of pictures and activities. New members are featured in each edition of the Progress and are invited to submit a brief article and photo about their business.
Board of Directors
The Board of Directors is the policy making body of the Yonkers Chamber. Members reflect a cross section of the business and professional community. The Board consists of up to 50 members. Each year half are elected for a two-year term. No director may serve more than three consecutive terms of office. The Chairman of the Board presides over all meetings of the Board which meets monthly except for July and August.
We are proud of the work we do here at the Chamber. When you join and become an active member of the Yonkers Chamber of Commerce, you become a part of making our City and our business community tops in the State of New York.