10.22.2014

Albany-Colonie Regional and Schenectady County Chambers Consider Integrated Corporate Structure

Albany-Colonie Regional and Schenectady County Chambers Consider Integrated Corporate Structure


The Boards of Directors of the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber and the Chamber of Schenectady County have voted to form a Joint Task Force to pursue creating an integrated corporate structure.

The two Chambers have partnered on numerous membership initiatives dating back to 2006. Currently, shared initiatives include Leadership Tech Valley, the Tech Valley Nonprofit Business Council and the Tech Valley Young Professionals Network. Starting in 2012, the Chamber of Schenectady County offered its members access to health insurance offerings through the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber's licensed insurance brokerage, and, since late 2013, the Chambers have two shared staff members.

"Our partnership to date has been substantive, but it can only go so far as separate organizations," said James Connolly, CEO of Ellis Medicine and Chair of the Chamber of Schenectady County. "Our affiliation discussions are a natural progression in our ongoing partnership. A corporate affiliation would bring us to the next level where we can fully integrate; aligning staff to enable time and resources to be re-invested in priority areas to achieve the greatest impact for our members and the Capital Region."

The members in both Chambers have regional business market interests. The Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber has already evolved into a regional entity in mission, membership and board composition. The Chamber of Schenectady County focuses primarily within the county, but its membership is beyond county lines. The organizations' memberships are complementary, with approximately 220 shared business members.

In the affiliation model being considered, the memberships and staff of the two chambers would combine within a new umbrella corporation. The Chamber of Schenectady County and the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber corporations would become subsidiaries of the new entity. Offices would remain in both counties.

"By integrating under an umbrella organization, our Chambers would leverage the 'best of both worlds' by retaining their local influence while addressing Capital Region business needs and interests," said Dr. John Bennett, CEO of CDPHP and Chair of the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber's Board of Directors. "Members would have access to expanded resources, stronger advocacy clout and a larger network of potential customers and vendors."

The Joint Task Force will be meeting over the coming months to conduct the necessary due diligence to make a recommendation to both Chamber boards regarding an integrated corporate structure. The New York Council of Nonprofits, Inc., (NYCON) has been engaged to facilitate and support their work.

If the Joint Task Force recommends an integrated corporate structure and it meets the approval of both boards, the plan will then be presented to the membership bodies of each organization for final approval.

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