Association of Science and Technologies Centers

143 Chambers of Commerce Urge the U.S. Congress to Support Cultural Institutions

On May 6, a coalition of 143 chambers of commerce sent a letter to U.S. Congressional leadership requesting Federal relief and funding for the cultural and performing arts sectors during the COVID-19 pandemic, including museums, aquariums, and zoos. Led by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce (GBCC) and the Capital Region Chamber of Commerce (New York), the signatories include chambers from 40 states, representing a diversity of regions across the country. View GBCC’s press release and download the letter.

Chambers of commerce, which represent local business of all sizes and sectors, add a powerful voice to the museum community’s continued advocacy efforts. In the letter, these chambers recognize and appreciate the role of the cultural sector, stressing the need to

“…ensure that Americans still have these venerable and treasured places of learning, inspiration, and connection in our communities when better days return, and we are all able to leave our homes, travel to favorite destinations, and spend time with our family and friends.”

We encourage you to use this powerful show of support for our sector in your continuing outreach to elected officials, including with Members of Congress. We hope that it will resonate well with those policymakers who are concerned about the business sector.

This impressive list of signatories could not have been possible without the hard work and rapid response of many in the ASTC community. ASTC joined with sister organizations, including the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the Association of Children’s Museums, to activate our members to lift these concerns to local chambers, and our communities quickly secured more than 100 additional signatures in just two days!

What the Letter Requests

The chambers’ letter requests that Congress address gaps in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and closely aligns with what several museum associations, including ASTC, have previously raised as concerns from our field, as well a letter signed by 88 members of the House of Representatives. The chambers specifically ask Congress to

  1. “Increase the allocation to at least $6 billion for the Institute of Museums and Library Services to provide direct economic relief for non-profit museums, aquariums, zoos, and performing arts centers. This funding should be used to provide grants for operational support, distance learning, and pandemic recovery planning and implementation.
  2. Increase and extend the Paycheck Protection Program and loan forgiveness provisions in the CARES Act through December 2020 and make non-profits—including zoos, aquariums, performing arts centers, and museums, with greater than 500 employees—eligible for loan forgiveness.
  3. Expand the universal charitable deduction provision by removing the $300 cap and by eliminating the 60% limit on Adjusted Gross Income that may be deducted through charitable gifts of cash.
  4. Support the proposals of the Americans for the Arts that will stabilize both the assets of cultural organizations while they wait to reopen and help them when restarting is possible.”

List of Signatories

Alabama

  • Mobile Area Chamber

Arizona

  • Greater Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater Phoenix Chamber
  • Mesa Chamber of Commerce
  • Tempe Chamber of Commerce
  • Visit Tucson

Arkansas

  • Greater Bentonville Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Little Rock Regional Chamber

California

  • Carmel Chamber of Commerce
  • Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce
  • Goleta Valley Historical Society
  • La Habra Chamber of Commerce
  • Los Angeles Area Chamber
  • Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce
  • San Francisco Chamber of Commerce
  • Santa Ana Chamber of Commerce
  • The Chamber of the Santa Barbara Region
  • Yuba Sutter Chamber of Commerce

Connecticut

  • Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce
  • Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut
  • Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater Norwalk Chamber of Commerce
  • Metro Hartford Alliance

Delaware

  • Delaware State Chamber of Commerce

Florida

  • Amplify Clearwater
  • ChamberSOUTH
  • Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce
  • Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce
  • Orlando Economic Partnership
  • Seminole County Chamber
  • Tampa Bay Chamber

Georgia

  • Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce

Hawaii

  • Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii
  • Hawai’i Island Chamber of Commerce
  • Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Hawaii

Idaho

  • Boise Metro Chamber

Illinois

  • Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce
  • Oak Lawn Chamber of Commerce
  • Orland Park Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce

Indiana

  • Indy Chamber
  • Southwest Indiana Chamber of Commerce
  • Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce

Iowa

  • Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater Des Moines Partnership
  • Iowa City Area Business Partnership

Kentucky

  • Greater Louisville Inc.
  • Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
  • Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce

Louisiana

  • Baton Rouge Area Chamber

Maryland

  • Greater Baltimore Committee
  • Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce

Massachusetts

  • Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater Boston Chamber
  • Middlesex West Chamber of Commerce
  • Nashoba Valley Chamber of Commerce
  • Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • Stoneham Chamber of Commerce
  • Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce

Michigan

  • Detroit Regional Chamber
  • Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce

Minnesota

  • MPLS Regional Chamber
  • Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce

Missouri

  • St. Louis Regional Chamber of Commerce

Montana

  • Billings Chamber of Commerce
  • West Yellowstone Chamber of Commerce

Nebraska

  • Greater Omaha Chamber
  • Lincoln Chamber of Commerce

Nevada

  • The Reno+Sparks Chamber of Commerce
  • Urban Chamber of Commerce
  • Vegas Chamber

New Mexico

  • Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce

New York

  • Buffalo Niagara Partnership
  • Capital Region Chamber
  • Cayuga County Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater Utica Chamber
  • Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce
  • Visit Rochester

North Carolina

  • Boone Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Charlotte Regional Business Alliance
  • Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce
  • Greensboro Chamber of Commerce
  • Lumberton Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Raleigh Chamber
  • Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce

Ohio

  • Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber
  • Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Findlay Hancock County Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater Akron Chamber
  • Greater Cleveland Partnership
  • Licking County Chamber of Commerce

Oklahoma

  • Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
  • Tulsa Regional Chamber

Oregon

  • Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce

Pennsylvania

  • Allentown Chamber of Commerce
  • Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce
  • Carbon Chamber & Economic Development Corporation
  • Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia
  • East Penn Chamber of Commerce
  • Easton Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Emmaus Main Street Partners
  • Erie Regional Chamber & Growth Partnership
  • Greater Bath Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater Northern Lehigh Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce
  • Harrisburg Regional Chamber & CREDC
  • Hellertown-Lower Saucon Chamber of Commerce
  • Nazareth Business Council
  • Northampton Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Phillipsburg Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Pocono Chamber of Commerce
  • Southern Lehigh Chamber of Commerce
  • Western Lehigh Chamber of Commerce

Rhode Island

  • Central Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce
  • Southern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce

South Carolina

  • Columbia Chamber
  • Greater Cayce – West Columbia Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater Lexington Chamber and Visitor Center
  • Greenville Chamber

Tennessee

  • Chattanooga Area Chamber
  • Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce

Texas

  • Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater Houston Partnership
  • Laredo Chamber of Commerce
  • Lubbock Chamber of Commerce
  • San Antonio Chamber of Commerce
  • Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce

Utah

  • Salt Lake Chamber

Vermont

  • Rutland Region Chamber of Commerce

Virginia

  • ChamberRVA
  • Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce

Washington

  • Burlington Chamber of Commerce
  • Mount Vernon Chamber of Commerce
  • Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce
  • Thurston County Chamber

West Virginia

  • Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • West Virginia Chamber of Commerce

Wisconsin

  • Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce
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