The Fort Worth Metropolitan Black Chamber, the Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber and the Fort Worth Chamber have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that creates a blueprint for the organizations to partner more intentionally to grow and develop the city’s economy, the three organizations announced Sept. 3.
“The chambers and the City of Fort Worth are working closer together to better unify the business community while creating economic prosperity for all,” said Brandom Gengelbach, executive vice president of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce. “To do this, we have to be intentional about inclusion of all chambers in the entire business fabric of Fort Worth.”
The agreement is a result of an MWBE (Minority- or Woman-owned Business Enterprise) retreat with the City of Fort Worth and the chambers. Although the chambers have partnered on numerous projects throughout the past 20 years, the MOU details specific objectives and actions in three categories: engagement, inclusion and project partnerships.
Examples of actions within the three categories range from cross-promotion of events and committee meetings and targeted introductions to developing a plan to address economic development recommendations from the City’s Race & Culture Task Force.
“Now more than ever, as our city’s demographics are shifting and population is rapidly growing, this agreement provides a roadmap for us to demonstrate diversity and inclusion in meaningful and measurable ways,” Fort Worth Metropolitan Black Chamber’s long-time President & CEO Dee Jennings said. “This is a positive step to formalize our process which has been informal for so long.”
Together, the three chambers have more than 2,500 business members throughout the greater Fort Worth region.
“The Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber Board loves this idea and is very excited that we are setting formalized goals to increase collaboration between chambers,” said Anette Landeros, newly-elected president & CEO of the Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Next steps for the chambers will include staff meetings to compare calendars, timelines and resources necessary to implement the action steps in the MOU for 2020 implementation.
The MOU is below:
Memorandum of Understanding
MOU Purpose: create a partnership among three Fort Worth Chambers to grow and develop the Fort Worth economy while creating a stronger, more unified business community.
For the three Chambers in Fort Worth to partner together in greater ways there has to be a greater level of engagement. The following activities are intended to increase engagement between the organizations and its membership:
• Monthly meetings among Chamber staff
• Yearly updates by each Chamber at one board meeting of the partner Chamber
• Yearly social function among staff
• Yearly social function among board members of each Chamber
• Invite for all Chambers to attend the Metropolitan Black Chamber’s Economic Development Committee
• Invite for all Chambers to attend the FW Chamber’s Investor Council
• Work with the City of Fort Worth’s Office of Business Diversity to conduct a deep dive on the City of Fort Worth’s MWBE practice and discuss opportunities for the Chambers to get more involved to enhance the program and address current challenges
• Conduct a MWBE Best Practice community visit
• Spend a day with MWBE leadership of public and private organizations to develop ideas and solutions for the Fort Worth business community and the City of Fort Worth
To help create a stronger, more unified business climate in Fort Worth there has to be better inclusion of all Chambers in the entire business fabric of Fort Worth. The following activities are intended to help connect the Chambers to all areas of the Fort Worth business community:
• Invite members of all Chambers to meet and interact with the top developers in Fort Worth
• Make targeted introductions of Fort Worth Chamber members to minority Chamber leadership and their members
• Host an event with community organizations (i.e. Real Estate Council of Fort Worth) to introduce their membership to the minority Chambers
The ability to partner together on projects is important to better integrate leadership and membership of all three Chambers in Fort Worth. The following are partnership ideas to explore as a group:
• Pull staff of each organization together to review the various strategies and services of each organization with an eye for the possibility of incorporating the other Chambers in their strategy
• Develop a joint MWBE strategy for the Fort Worth Chamber to better assist the minority Chambers in the capacity building of minority businesses in Fort Worth.
• Explore the possibility of introducing non-incentive economic development projects to the minority Chambers for the purpose of encouraging projects to be socially conscience of MWBE when developing in Fort Worth
• Meet once a year to review signature events of the Fort Worth Chamber and investigate the feasibility of incorporating MWBE messaging in the event, where appropriate
• Review and develop unified plan to address economic development recommendations from the Race and Culture Taskforce
• Sit down with the Fort Worth Business Press to consider Chamber involvement in the Minority Leader Awards
• Consider creating a list of potential development sites in economically distressed areas
• Consider a formal initiative to address multi-model transportation from economically distressed areas of high unemployment to job rich areas
• Consider moving the Fort Worth Chamber’s Postsecondary Attainment Committee to a Committee supported and attended by all three Chambers
• Explore opportunities to partner in greater ways with Workforce Solutions of Tarrant County