Volume 28 | March 24, 2020
Responding to the Coronavirus – COVID-19
Dear Members and Supporters,

We had a completely different newsletter planned for March and then everything changed drastically over the past week. We will do our best to keep you updated on the latest information related to the Coronavirus as it relates to businesses. The Chamber is here to support our members through this difficult time.

This month has been one of the most challenging times as a country, around the world and for every one of our member businesses and corporate partners. With all of the uncertainty, one thing is for certain that We Are All In This TOGETHER. I’ve seen remarkable stories of support and helping one another among our Chamber members and the broader community. This crisis brings a whole new meaning to community, Chamber Family and that We Are All In This TOGETHER.

The Chamber will continue to work to get COVID-19 information and resources out as quickly as possible to our members to help you in the coming days and months. While there are no answers right now with so much changing on a daily basis, we are working with local, state and federal leaders to glean as much information to support you. 

As a trusted partner in the success of your business, the Chamber has been closely monitoring the response to the COVID-19 virus and the impact on the business community. As a result, please see relevant updates below:

  • We have coordinated with our strategic partner, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to make sure members (including non-profits) have the information about the Economic Injury Loan Program (EIDL). More SBA webinars are scheduled this week.
  • We will not be producing in-person programming through the end of April (Brewing Up Business, LGBTBE Roundtable & Workshop and Biz Connect Mixer). Reducing in-person meetings is an important step in risk reduction and flattening the curve of infection rates.
  • We have set-up a Facebook Member Group to further communicate and share resources.
  • We created and COVID-19 Resource Page to provide information on city, state and federal resources for affected businesses.
  • We signed on to two letters from the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) and all U.S. Affiliate LGBT Chambers to advocate regarding emergency financial relief for businesses impacted by COVID-19.
  • We created a SUPPORT LOCAL page to support our members including bars, restaurants and nonprofits who have been severely impacted due to COVID-19.
  • We will be conducting virtual site visits for businesses looking to obtain or renew their LGBTBE® certification.

We know that during this time our members need us now more than ever so we will continue programming by telephone and through video-conference to provide opportunities for new business, resources and skills.

In fact, as part of our collaboration the Texas LGBT Chambers of Commerce, we are working with our sister LGBT Chambers across the state to share resources, webinars and other information as well as connecting the statewide LGBTQ & Allied Business Community.

Please take some time to read through this March Newsletter where you’ll find a link to our COVID-19 Survey, information about how to support SUPPORT LOCAL and, yes, a celebration of our February events. We will celebrate again together because We Are All In This TOGETHER.

I am sharing much gratitude to our Board and Executive Administrators during this time for their commitment and dedication to the Chamber. Thank you for all you do. To our members and corporate partners, thank you for your support. We are here for you.
Tammi Wallace
Co-Founder & Board Chair
As part of our collaboration with the  Texas LGBT Chambers of Commerce , we are surveying our members to learn more about the impact of COVID-19 on your business. These responses will assist us as individual chambers, and collectively, as we look at ways we can support our members during this time.

Please complete the  survey  by Friday, March 27. The survey will take approximately 5 minutes to complete. Click here to access the survey --->  https://bit.ly/CVD19a-TXLGBT

We know this is a challenging time and the Chamber is here to support you. Thank you for taking the time to complete the survey.
Do what you can to help your local businesses and organizations.  This can range from buying gift cards from local restaurants so that we can keep revenue coming in for businesses. This could mean ordering takeout and tipping well. This could mean extra philanthropy to the non-profits who are on the front lines. Do what you can safely while in this odd holding pattern. Check out our SUPPORT LOCAL page to support our members including bars, restaurants and nonprofits.

Be ready to support your local businesses in the weeks and months to come.  In 2013, following the Boston Marathon bombing and the closure of Boylston Street (a major commercial hub in Boston), locals and visitors came out in force to support the businesses who were impacted by the tragedy:  Boylston Street Businesses Get Patrons, Loan Offer In Boston   via NPR. We need to be prepared to do the same.

  • March 25: SBA Information Webinar - Preparing and Applying for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan
  • March 25: Indo-American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston (IACCGH) Webinar - COVID-19 for Employers/Businesses: Frequently Asked Questions
  • March 26: SBA Information Webinar - Preparing and Applying for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan
  • March 26: Webinar: Emerging Issues Around Contracts, Insurance Policies and Employees Related to COVID-19
  • March 26: Webinar: Economic Relief for LGBT-Owned Businesses During COVID-19 with SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza
  • March 26: National Webinar: COVID-19 Resources and Updates for Small Business
  • March 26: Biz Connect Mixer at Buddy’s – POSTPONED
  • March 27: SBA Information Webinar - Preparing and Applying for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan
  • April 2: Houston Rockets Pride Night – The NBA has suspended the season. Click here for more details
  • April 8: Brewing Up Business at Comcast Xfinity Experience Store - POSTPONED
  • April 22: LGBTBE Roundtable & Certification 101 Workshop at Amegy Bank - POSTPONED
  • April 30: Biz Connect Mixer at Sesh Coworking - POSTPONED
What a celebration! Thank you to everyone who helped us celebrate the Chamber’s 4 th Anniversary! Thank you to our event sponsors! Much appreciation to Senator John Whitmire for delivering remarks at the celebration. Check out the event photos.

Thank You to Our Event Sponsors
Check out our recent Chamber Chat Blog Post with Lane Lewis, Owner of Lane Lewis Agency.
If you’re not a member of the Chamber, now is a great time as we move towards our milestone 5 th Year Anniversary in 2021!
Thank you to Corporate Partner, SignatureCare for hosting the February Brewing Up Business. It was a packed crowd with tons of networking and great connections! Check out the event photos .
We appreciate The Houston Club for hosting our President’s Circle Lunch in early February. It was great food, company and conversation! Thank you to our President’s Circle Members who make a significant investment in the success of the Chamber! Check out the lunch photos (and the view) here.  Learn how your business can become a President’s Circle Member and get more visibility for your biz!
We held our Educational Series Workshop “Be A Great Place to Work!” with presenter Thomas Lopez of Economiworks . Thank you our Silver Level Corporate Partner, Amegy Bank , for hosting the workshop. We appreciate your sponsorship of the Chamber’s Inaugural Educational Series.
Missed the photos from a past Chamber event? Check out the event albums on Facebook .
Congratulations to our Corporate Partners below who recently received a 100 score on HRC’s Corporate Equality Index

  • Comcast
  • United
  • Chevron
  • Dow
  • Hilton
  • Hyatt
  • Regions Bank
  • Shell

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2020 Corporate Equality Index is the national benchmarking tool on corporate policies and practices pertinent to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer employees.
In the 2020 CEI report, 686 major businesses — spanning nearly every industry and geography — earned a top score of 100 and the distinction of “Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality.” Click here to read more about the Corporate Equality Index and see the full list.
The Chamber hosted our colleagues from the  Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce North Texas LGBT Chamber of Commerce  and  San Antonio LGBT Chamber of Commerce for a planning session. All four chambers are founding members of the Texas LGBT Chambers of Commerce.

Thank you to our amazing corporate partner,  United , for hosting the group for the past two days. We appreciate your support!
We are looking forward to our work ahead including connecting our members statewide and our Advocacy Day  in 2021. Keep an eye out for more great things ahead with our sister chambers across the state. Thank you to our colleagues for all you do and for your collaboration and commitment to the LGBTQ & Allied Business Community. Great things ahead!
Our corporate partner, Bank of America, once again steps up to support small and diverse businesses with the announcement of the 2020 cycle of The Supplier Diversity Small & Diverse Business Scholarship Program. The Program is designed to provide targeted training and development support to certified small and diverse business owners. The scholarship is sponsored by Bank of America, funded by contributions from its vendors, and is managed and administered by Scholarship America®.

Scholarships of up to $10,000 will be awarded and are intended to help recipients enhance the business operations functions within their companies, better positioning them to compete for increased business.

  • Applicant’s business must be currently certified as a small or diverse business by a recognized certifying agency
  • Business owner must have a minimum of three (3) years’ experience running their company
  • Business must employ at least three (3) full or part-time employees
  • Business must have an annual sales volume between $300,000 and $50,000,000(USD)

Application Key Dates for 2020
  • Applications: March 2 – May 29*
  • Recipients notified: July 13

*Note: No applications for the 2020 cycle will be accepted after 3 p.m. (Central) on this date

For more information on eligibility, awards and applying for The Supplier Diversity Small & Diverse Business Scholarship Program, contact bofabusiness@scholarshipamerica.org, or visit the scholarship website: https://www.scholarsapply.org/bofabusiness/.
The May 26 Primary Runoff Elections have been moved to July 14.

Visit  www.hctax.net/Voter/Registration  for information on registering to vote and  harrisvotes.com  for election information.
Click here for more voter resources including a link to check your voter registration.
Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce | 832-510-3002 | info@houstonlgbtchamber.com | houstonlgbtchamber.com