The first Chamber of Commerce was formed in Marseille, France in 1599. The first Chamber in the United States was the New York State Chamber of Commerce organized in 1768. The first city Chamber was organized in Charleston, South Carolina in 1773.
Our Chamber was first organized in 1912 as the Booster’s Club. A year later the name was changed to Board of Trade and in 1925 it was changed again to Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber has undergone many changes - in name, goals, activities and general concerns. It now operates under the name of the Greater Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce, Inc. to more accurately reflect the total area concept of modern Chambers and to reflect the concept that it serves the total Delray Beach area including the unincorporated areas west of Military Trail.
Today there are more than 5,000 Chambers of Commerce in the United States. Most of these are local Chambers. There are also statewide Chambers, the Chamber of Commerce of the United States as well as Chambers abroad. One of the strengths of the Chamber of Commerce movement is that all local Chambers are autonomous. They are organized and controlled on a strict local basis.
The Greater Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce is a voluntary organization of business and professional men and women dedicated to the economic betterment of Delray Beach and its trade area. The Chamber is an economic organization representing the business sector of the community.
Even though the Chamber is dedicated primarily to constant improvement of the business climate, it is also dedicated to improvement of the entire community. A well-balanced community is automatically a better business community.
Basic & Long-Range Goals
The objectives of the Chamber are spelled out in the Chamber’s Mission Statement and Bylaws, but the basic objective is the maintenance and the advancement of the economic structure of Delray Beach.
This basic objective is accomplished through adherence to long-range objectives:
Policies & Operations
Realization of the Chamber’s objectives is determined through a basic policy of encouragement of individual initiative through voluntary organized action to solve local problems.
This basic policy is accomplished through adherence to the following framework of operation:
The organizational structure of the Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce is relatively simple. The Board of Directors is comprised of twenty-one elected Directors, two appointed students from Atlantic High School, one appointed city representative and the Chairman of the Delray Affair. The Board selects from among its members, officers as follows: Chairman of the Board, Chairman Elect and as many Vice Chairmen as are required to carryout the Business Plan. These Officers, plus the Immediate Past Chairman, and the President comprise the Executive Committee. The Board employs the President, who, in turn, hires the balance of the staff.
Each of the Vice Chairmen is in charge of a division of the Chamber. The name and title of these Divisions may change as circumstance dictates. Each Vice Chairman, in concert with the Chairman of the Board, appoints Committee Chairmen to head the Committees in their respective Divisions of activity. The Committee Chairmen then select Committee personnel with the aid of the Divisional Vice Chairman and the President.
Election of Directors
In June of each year a Nominating Committee is appointed comprised of both board and non-board members. The committee is instructed to select members of the Chamber, who, in their opinion, are best qualified to fill the leadership responsibility inherent with membership on the Board of Directors. Each nominee should be considered as a potential candidate for office in the Chamber. Nominating Committee presents a slate of six nominees to the Board and then to the membership. Each Director is elected to a term of three years.
Policy control of the Chamber is vested in the Board of Directors and only the Board may initiate policies. All proposed policies or policy changes must have the approval of the Board.
Administration and operation is assigned to the President who shall be responsible for carrying out policies and duties assigned by the Board of Directors.
The President shall manage the property, business and affairs of the Chamber, and shall perform all duties incident to the office or as prescribed by the Board.
The President shall employ and supervise the staff necessary to carry on the work of the Chamber. Other duties of the President are: to supervise the maintenance of all records, preparation of reports, and expenditures against the budget and to prepare monthly statements on income and expense.
The Bylaws provide that the Board shall meet once each month at a time and day to be determined by the Board. Board meetings are also subject to the call of the Chairman. The Board normally meets on the fourth Wednesday of the month at 12 noon at Chamber of Commerce headquarters.
At all Board meetings, 50% of the Directors shall constitute a quorum.
Budget & Finances
Before the beginning of each fiscal year the President shall prepare budget estimates on income and expenses for review by the Executive Committee. The Committee will make any changes it deems advisable and then forward the proposed budget to the Board of Directors for presentation and review. The final approval of the budget occurs at the next regularly scheduled Board meeting. The budget shall contain all items of expense anticipated in carrying out the Business Plan adopted by the Board.
After approval of the budget by the Board of Directors, it shall be the responsibility of the President to supervise receipts and make disbursements within limits set by the budget. Variations from the fixed budget must be approved by the Board of Directors.
An audit or review by a public accountant shall be made of the organization each year.
The Greater Delray Beach Chamber is an "accredited" Chamber. We received that designation by the United States Chamber of Commerce first in 1985, again in 1990, 1995, 2000 and most recently 2007. This seal of excellence has been awarded to only about 300 of the nearly 7,000 chambers throughout the country.
The Accreditation Program was instituted by the U.S. Chamber to recognize effective organization performance. It is an in-depth self-evaluation process designed to assist a local chamber to determine its effectiveness within a community. The 8 major areas of criteria for Chamber evaluation are: 1) Governance 2) Financial 3) Human Resources 4) Government Affairs 5) Program Development 6) Communication 7) Technology and 8) Facilities.
The Chamber must conduct a "reaccreditation" process every five years in order to maintain the "Accredited Chamber" designation. Accreditation basically means that our Chamber of Commerce maintains the highest standards of performance in every phase of its work.
Committee Status & Responsibility
Committees and/or task forces carry out their instructions from the Board and have no authority or power to commit the Chamber to anything unless the project has been approved by the Board. All activities of committees must have prior Board approval, either by inclusion in the official Business Plan, or by special action of the Board.
Statements which commit the Chamber to any policy stand on issues must have prior approval of the Board. A committee, in an emergency, may issue a policy statement in the name of the Committee itself, so long as the statement indicates that the statement is not official Chamber of Commerce policy or that the statement is made pending formal action of the Board of Directors.
A subcommittee has only such powers as may be given to it by the parent committee.
A subcommittee reports only to its parent committee; the parent committee reports to the Board.
The Chairman, Chairman Elect and all Vice Chairmen, Immediate Past Chairman, and the President constitutes the Executive Committee. This body acts for the Board as necessary between Board meetings with its actions to be reviewed and acted upon by the Board at its next session.
The Executive Committee is charged with the responsibility of advising, counseling with, and making recommendations to the Chairman, the Board of Directors, and the President.
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