The Bend Chamber, a 501(c)(6) funded by membership dollars, respects that the Bend City Council has the ability and authority to drop the City of Bend’s Bend Chamber membership.
“The City of Bend will be welcomed back with open arms if they choose to rejoin in the future,” states Bend Chamber Chairman Brian Fratzke. “The Bend Chamber believes in having representation from the City, as they are a significant employer in our community. However, we appreciate the councilors’ due diligence in examining whether or not dues paid to organizations such as the Bend Chamber, are within the rules and directives of the City of Bend.”
The Bend Chamber is a 501(c)(6). As a nonprofit mutual benefit corporation in Oregon and a business league under IRS rules, the Bend Chamber is organized for the benefit of its defined membership.
The mission of the Bend Chamber is to be “a vital strategic partner creating resources and opportunities for member success, quality of life, engagement and meaningful impact.” The vision is “to gather, equip and mobilize our business community to drive a prosperous economy and unmatched quality of life.”
Therefore, it is the Bend Chamber’s role to advocate for its broad spectrum of members and their employees.
One pillar of the Bend Chamber, is the Bend Chamber Advocacy Council. This 10-member council identifies, evaluates and recommends positions to the Bend Chamber Board of Directors on issues impacting our community. An item of responsibility under the advocacy council is the management of the City of Bend Council Scorecard. The goal through the quarterly publication of the scorecard is to educate Bend Chamber members and the community about how the councilors’ votes align with the Bend Chamber Advocacy Council positions, as well as set a precedence for accountability and a platform for an open dialogue.
“The Bend Chamber Board of Directors takes seriously the chamber’s duty to inform its 1,250 members, who represent over 24,000 employees, regarding City of Bend actions that impact Bend’s business climate,” Fratzke said. “As a politically diverse board and membership, we believe it is critical for organizations to listen to and learn from a wide variety of viewpoints. It is our intention to continue to communicate about, and work with, the City on issues of importance to our membership.”
The Bend Chamber PAC establishes its own funding through direct donations. The purpose of the PAC, which was recently reformed, is to identify and support city council candidates who are both business-friendly, and also make sound and informed decisions based on good policy that will have a long-term, positive impact on the community.
“The Bend Chamber is proud of the fact that we exclusively answer to our members and receive no government funding, which allows our organization to represent our membership,” Fratzke said.