We have faced unprecedented challenges this year, and as we prepare for unknowns in the years ahead, it is more important than ever that our industry can speak with a collective voice.
Over the past year, BOMA/Chicago partnered with local and state leaders to respond to the pandemic, protests, and looting - in addition to our constant work on property taxes, energy rates, and regulation. We could not have done this without the support of Affiliate Members like you who continue to share essential resources and expertise.
When the pandemic hit, our community was the platform for industry leaders to discuss everything from building operations to re-entry guidelines, collaborating to protect our city, our tenants, and our industry. We collectively navigated uncharted territory, solving problems and developing numerous resources and best practices for our members. We also joined the Mayor's Office Working Group to craft local and state reopening guidelines that reflected industry feedback and concerns.
As our buildings prepared for peaceful protests seeking an end to systemic racism, we coordinated preparedness efforts with the City's emergency operations center. When our downtown was later attacked by looters, we lead a coalition of business groups to ensure crime and destruction were contained and addressed, with many Affiliate Members on the front lines. We have strengthened our partnership with the Mayor's Office and Chicago Police Department, bringing you directly to security briefings with the Mayor's top public safety officials and creating a new communication channel to receive and share security updates across the entire downtown community.
Along the way, we also found ways to connect members, despite restrictions on in-person meetings. We held virtual committee meetings, hosted nearly 20 webinars featuring Affiliate Members, and shared essential resources like new regulations and member-focused blogs. We also continued to provide quality educational programming, including RPA/FMA designation courses, and a sold-out Construction Drawing Series. We celebrated our two educational scholarship recipients, recognized six industry leaders as Gold Circle Award winners, and saw a record-breaking four of our eight regional TOBY winners attain the prestigious BOMA International TOBY Award. And our BOMA/Chicago Foundation members paid it forward by volunteering at various local high school and college events and teaching our future leaders about careers in commercial real estate.
We have also continued to pursue numerous initiatives for our industry, including:
- opposing increased business taxes;
- pursuing our lawsuit to protect members' ability to bargain with our unions;
- negotiating a new engineering contract with IUOE Local 399;
- advancing our partnership with the Department of Buildings and its new commissioner, to fine-tune the new Building Code we passed last year; and
- exploring new technologies and initiatives to help tenants return downtown.
Despite all we have to be proud of this year, our challenges are only beginning. Across multiple fronts, we are critically engaged on issues that will affect the industry for decades. Our local governments are strained for revenue and looking to balance budgets, property tax assessments are becoming even more irrational, and the energy regulation landscape is entering completely new territory. And of course, we still have the pandemic and its disruption to office norms that will extend beyond development of vaccines.
As we plan for 2021, we are looking at innovative new ways to connect our members. We hope you can join us and Board representatives at our new Affiliate Member Town Halls. We continue to plan for some of our favorite events in 2021, including the TOBY and Gold Circle Awards Gala, and we are creating these Town Halls to hear your ideas and to explore additional opportunities to enhance member value during the pandemic.
Now more than ever, we must continue to work together and raise our voice collectively.
As you budget for 2021, I ask that you plan on renewing your membership and support of BOMA/Chicago. Dues invoices will be distributed later this year.
In addition to membership dues, your invoice will also include suggested voluntary contributions. As we continue our advocacy efforts in preparation for the coming year, we especially hope you will consider making a suggested donation to the Industry Defense Fund (25% of dues) and our Political Action Committee (25% of dues). Your voluntary contribution to the BOMA/Chicago Foundation (flat amount of $100) will help support critical efforts to promote diversity and offer educational scholarships.
On behalf of our entire organization, I want to thank you for your continued support of BOMA/Chicago. If there is anything we can do to better serve you, or if you have questions regarding your membership dues, please don't hesitate to let us know.
Building Owners and Managers Association of Chicago