Your Chamber at Work - July 13, 2020


Thanks to the hundreds of you who attended our listening session on the history of systemic racism. We’ve got a second session on that subject scheduled for Wednesday, July 15, from 3:00 to 4:30. It was originally going to be an hour long, but after last week’s 60-minute session, we’ve decided to extend Wednesday’s session by 30 minutes. Our decision to extend the discussion is due to a number of requests, the popularity of the sessions, and the deep subject matter: “How Structural Racism has Manifested Itself in Greater KC.”

Wednesday’s session will again be moderated by Gwen Grant, President & CEO of the Urban League of Greater Kansas City. Panelists include: Dr. Karen Curls, Professor of Criminal Justice at MCC Penn Valley and President of Curls Jude Joseph Property Group; Lesley D. Smith, Federal Public Defender and Executive Committee/Jackson County Bar Association; Ajamu Webster, President DuBois Engineers; and Al Brooks, former KCMO City Councilman, founder of the Ad Hoc Group Against Crime, and the KC Chamber’s 2019 Kansas Citian of the Year. Click here to register for Wednesday’s session.

On another subject: the KC Chamber, along with other organizations and businesses, has signed onto a letter supporting mask-wearing policies. The open letter is the effort of the C19 Task Force, a group of KC business leaders working to boost our community’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to bring our economy back online as quickly and safely as possible. Task force members are asking KC area businesses and organizations to sign on to the open letter. To read the letter and see who’s signed, click here. To add your signature, click here.


The conversation, and most importantly the listening, continues on Wednesday, July 22 from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Kiona Sinks, founder of Black Excellence KC, will moderate a roundtable discussion of high school and college youth about opportunities and equity in our region. Register here. This series has been developed with our partners at the Urban Neighborhood Initiative and are free for all to attend.


Join us as we honor men and women committed to advancing diversity and inclusion throughout Greater KC. Register now for the POWER of Diversity, Wednesday, July 29 from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. We will honor our ACE Award, Supplier Diversity ACE Award and Champion of Diversity Award recipients. We also welcome our keynote speaker Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, then hear from a panel of business, education, and healthcare leaders as we continue our listening session series and ask, Where Do We Go From Here? Register now for this virtual event. Thanks to our 2020 Presenting Sponsors for continued support of this program: CommunityAmerica, Evergy, Hallmark, and Sprint.


Metropolitan Community College’s Workforce and Economic Development Division are hosting “Partnering in Crisis: An Untapped Workforce Solution.” Learn how returning citizens can help construction and manufacturing firms fill vacancies and acquire new talent. Register here now for the webinar, Tuesday July 14 at 10 a.m, presented by Brandi Jahnke, Vice-President of Programs at Connections to Success, and Shonda Atwater, Apprenticeship Manager at MCC. This event was developed because of partnerships established through the KC Chamber’s WORC initiative: Workforce Opportunities for Returning Citizens.


Small business owners have more time to apply for federal relief money through the Paycheck Protection Program. The extension means you can apply for funding through August 8. The loans are meant to help businesses cover payroll and other operating expenses for up to 8 weeks. The SBA says so far, the average loan size is $100,000. To apply for PPP, contact your banking institution.