Our Leadership NEXT event on Tuesday hosted Stephanie Ink Edwards from Community Cooperative. I have lived here for more than 20 years and am familiar with their work, but the conversation with Stephanie showcased the impact they have on our community. Their mission is to end hunger and homelessness and their programming includes a Community Cafe/Community Market, Mobile Food Pantries, Meals on Wheels, Food Literacy in Schools and an Able Garden. Take a look at this video that shows what they do.
With the pandemic, the need for their services has doubled and tripled. They are working with many partners including United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades, and Okeechobee Counties and Lee County's LeeCares programming. There are many ways to get involved if you have some time or a few extra dollars to share. You can literally sign up to volunteer for a few hours one day if you would like – here is the link to volunteer.

It can be very difficult for some who may be unexpectedly unemployed and having to ask for assistance for the first time, so please share these resources with your friends and neighbors – you never know how far it will spread and who you could be helping.  
Yesterday you should have received an email detailing all 21 of the sessions we are offering next week for our Business Summit. We are grateful to our presenters who are all Chamber members!

There is still time to register! And remember, if the schedule does not work for you, by registering you will receive the recordings of all the sessions to watch at your leisure. To learn more about the sessions and register, click here.
We held our annual golf tournament last Friday and it was a great day with even better weather! I want to say a big thank you to Joe Mitchell from Pool Pros Inc. and Keith Ruebeling from Larue Pest Management, Inc. for their continued support of our Annual Golf Classic. The day was a huge success in a large part to our wonderful sponsors, vendors and volunteers. 

Congratulations to the teams from Spiro & Associates and Gulfpoint Construction who tied for first place!
The FGCU Alumni Association is our annual sponsor for the Chamber’s Leadership NEXT program. We want to show support for their inaugural FGCU Alumni Strides for Scholarships Virtual 5K. The proceeds from the event will benefit their Alumni Association Scholarship Fund.  Strides for Scholarships begins on Monday, November 16 and you have until November 22 to submit your race results! At the completion of the race period, they will have a chance drawing for five winners who will receive swag bags full of FGCU goodies. Learn more and register here.
As you know, the Chamber did not support the Amendment that would increase the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour. Our strongest opposition was that as an amendment, it would be part of our State Constitution rather than under the influence of elected officials. The passing of the Amendment will affect many industries, but in particular the hospitality industry in our area. 

A local restaurant shared these numbers with me, related to their business: in the first year, the additional expense will be $85,000 and will then escalate to $354,000 by year five. Here is a link to a Tipped Wage Calculator for those that work with tipped employees.

We will share details as they are confirmed on how this will roll out. In the interim, here is a chart that we created to show the progression of wage increases.  
Have a great weekend, stay safe, and please wear a mask!