“The Chamber is dedicated to increasing its efforts and its membership through a wide range of vigorous chamber programs for inter-governmental relations and economic development. Bronx business executives are posed with serious challenges that require awareness, decisiveness, and strength,” Michael J. Durso, 1981.
The Bronx Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1894 and has played a fundamental role in the borough’s most effectual economic issues. This non-profit, membership driven organization has helped forge the infrastructure that has transformed the Bronx business community. The chamber was instrumental in many projects that yielded tremendous commerce and employed thousands in the borough, namely the creation of Fordham Plaza. It also secured funds to create the truck stop facility at the Hunts Point Terminal Market, successfully campaigned to keep the New York Yankees in the Bronx (1986), advocated for a Free Trade Zone in the borough, worked with President Carter to produce much needed revenue for businesses via Project: Special Impact, partnered with David Rockefeller on an urban policy plan for the Bronx, created The Bronx Chamber Action Group to clean-up and beautiful Bronx commercial corridors, and worked very closely with merchant associations to help them with their day-to-day operations as well as their tribulations.
The Bronx Chamber of Commerce is also deeply committed to improving the quality of life for Bronxites. The organization has inculcated numerous efforts to deter crime, aid senior citizens, and educate Bronx children. Its long standing partnership with The New York Police Department has helped to lower neighborhood crime rates through an increase in mobile patrols, the creation of SWAP (Senior Winter Assistance Program), and the formation of a senior citizen shopping program governed by the chamber, NYPD, and various merchant associations. The Bronx Chamber of Commerce with the support of Hostos College launched The Junior Achievement Program and The Speakers’ Bureau. The Junior Achievement Program connected students with Bronx professionals, who afforded them exposure to the realities of the business world. The Speakers’ Bureau, brought prominent business leaders and academic scholars to Bronx schools, fostering student engagement and development.
Clearly, The Bronx Chamber of Commerce has historically provided leadership in creating a strong climate for economic development and job creation. Our roots represent the power of our past and the promise of our future. Under Lenny Caro and Joseph Kelleher’s leadership, the chamber continues it steadfast commitment to strengthening the borough’s economic viability.
“We are articulating newer creative approaches to the many challenges confronting us. We are employing a keen resourcefulness for getting things done. We are rekindling the extraordinary community spirit that has for many years, constitute a togetherness that prevailed in the past, unique for our Borough of the Bronx,” Elias Karmon, 1979.