The Lakeland Chamber Foundation is one of the greatest assets this Chamber has in serving the diverse needs of our community. Founded in 1973 as a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit organization, the Foundation serves to support worthwhile community and education betterment initiatives.
For the past 30 years the foundation has strictly operated a grants program. In order to avoid duplication of effort and to serve as a philanthropic aid to businesses in the community, beginning in 2017 the Lakeland Chamber Foundation shifted its focus to increase educational programming for the Lakeland business community. The Foundation hosted a gala in 2018 to kick start the transition from private foundation to public charity. This transition was granted in January of 2019. This status change will allow the foundation the opportunity to fund and seek funding for new education initiatives. The new initiatives offered by the Lakeland Chamber Foundation focus on business education, new business development, talent development, leadership pipelines and workforce development.
New Business 101- Four week training seminar that assists new and potential business owners in preparation for operation and service. The idea is that if we interact with these businesses before their doors open to ensure proper businesses practices, they will stay open.
Leadership and Management Training- Courses offered to increase the leadership pipeline at member organizations and to decrease the costs for these valuable trainings. The Foundation partners with Forbes Coach Council member Emily Rogers to provide these relevant and necessary techniques for proper leadership and management in area businesses.
Early Decision Program- Partners with local universities to provide early access to our local workforce during their freshman year of college. This program teach soft skills, interview skills and enables the students to build a network within the Lakeland business community.
Business 201, 301 and 401- Educational programming to reach and group businesses together based on the stage they reside within their business life cycle.
Educational Training- Hosts relevant business education training based on feedback from Chamber membership. Featured in Fall 2019 will be a four week workshop on Recruitment and Retention.