“At the Chamber, we are surrounded by good people,” said Jim Bauer, Board President of the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce, at the Annual Appreciation Luncheon on May 8, 2017. “People who work to make the community better.”

Bauer’s words could not be more true because the Salem Chamber is powered by incredible members that serve as volunteers and sponsors that strive to make Salem a one-of-a-kind place to do business.  While the forum was his last as the Chamber Board President, Bauer’s leadership and service will continue to benefit the Chamber and Inspire Foundation for years to come.

Kathy Moore, Dan Clem, Jim Bauer, Chamber Board President, and Scott Sadler, Inspire Foundation Board President, led the event.

The Annual Appreciation Luncheon is the culmination of the Forum Speaker Series hosted by the Chamber. The series invites speakers to present on various topics designed to build awareness, foster understanding, and spark conversation. Some of the speakers this year were Nancy Stueber, President of OMSI, Congressman Kurt Schrader, and Kim Malek, owner of the widely popular Salt & Straw Ice Cream. The nine-month series will begin again September 2017.

Scott Sadler, the Board President of the Inspire Foundation, also led the luncheon. The Inspire Foundation is the nonprofit arm of the Chamber with a mission to develop the leadership potential of Salem area students and business professionals through educational programs and events. The two-year long Leadership Youth program is one educational experience through the Inspire Foundation that gives students the opportunity to learn about the Salem-Keizer community and serve on the Chamber Board of Directors.

Two graduates from the Leadership Youth program attended the luncheon and shared the value of the program and the personal impact of having served on the Salem Chamber Board. Diana Rebolledo, a senior at North Salem High School, highlighted her new understanding of budget sheets that she gained as a Board Member and the importance of the knowledge as she plans to start a business. Ian Kennedy, a senior at McNary High School, treasured learning how to network as a Board Member and recognized the skillset as something he will continue to use in his professional development. Thanks to the investment of our sponsors, community students have many more opportunities to learn about business in Salem.

The Salem Chamber prides itself in its incredible volunteers and member businesses that strive to ensure the community is the best place to be in business. The volunteers go above and beyond for the community by chairing committees, programs and more. Without their valuable contribution of time and effort, the Chamber and the Foundation would not be able to accomplish some of the key initiatives that are imperative to the success of the mission such as, working to build a strong workforce, putting Salem on the map with the CTE and Industry Summit and providing platforms to engage our future leaders like with the Leadership Salem program.

The next part of the program was the recognition of sponsors that are integral to the success of the Chamber and Inspire Foundation. Jim Bauer offered thanks to upper tier members who invest in the Salem community. The members were honored and thanked in succession of one another; first were Premium Members, who contributed $1,200, then Executive Members who sponsor $2,500, and last are the President Diamond Members with sponsorship amounts of $5,000.

Afterwards, Salem Chamber Chief Operations Officer, Nick Williams called attention to the sponsors that contribute over their yearly membership dues. The first group invested between $2,500 and $5,000, which applied to member activities. The second group of sponsors invested between $5,000 and $10,000 and made a tremendous difference with the Chamber and Inspire Foundation leadership and workforce development efforts. The final group of sponsors combined gave over $110,000 to the Chamber and Inspire Foundation, and these investments have helped make efforts to advocate for quality policy and practices at the Salem Capitol possible. In total, the sponsors recognized at the Annual Appreciation Luncheon contributed over $220,000 to the Chamber and the Inspire Foundation.

Thank you to our wonderful Chamber and Inspire Foundation volunteers and sponsors for your investment in the Chamber and Salem community. Your valuable contributions of time and investment helps ensure that Salem continues to grow and expand into an incredible place to live and do business.

Interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities the Chamber? Be sure to reach out to Maria Gonzalez and she will direct you to the appropriate staff member.

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