Like many businesses and nonprofits, the chamber has faced significant financial challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our primary fundraiser, Taste Edmonds, is our primary source of income to cover the overhead costs of our annual operations. This includes the resources to produce the many free community events; such as, a sort of 4th Edmonds Parade and Fireworks Show, the Edmonds Classic Car Show, the Tree Lighting Ceremony and Halloween Trick-or-Treat. With the cancellation of Taste Edmonds in 2020 due to COVID-19 (in addition to other community events), the community has significantly increased their contributions to the “An Edmonds Kind of Hero” campaign. This campaign, along with the P3 fundraising, generated enough funds to keep the House running until the summer, when we planned our main fundraiser, Taste Edmonds. Again, this featured annual event is what provides a significant amount of the funding needed to run the chamber. At the Edmonds City Council meeting on Tuesday, September 7, when the council discussed the allocation of grants to the Edmonds Rescue Plan Fund, comments were made regarding the finances of the Chamber of Commerce from Edmonds. These comments paint an incomplete picture of the chamber’s current financial situation and outlook for the future.
Sadly, Taste Edmonds did not provide the revenue the chamber depended on, reporting only about 25% of what was achieved in 2019. Since this revenue is essential to fund the chamber’s operations throughout the year. , the way forward until 2022 – and having the resources to organize future community events – is very difficult.
When we made the decision to move forward with Taste Edmonds in mid-June 2021, things were looking very positive for the event (which will be held August 20-22, 2021). Unfortunately, the chamber had to face many challenges to start the event; permit / contract delays, pandemic price hikes, supply chain issues and additional restrictions / costs on the event. This added many hurdles and costs to an event that already costs over $ 150,000 to produce.
The chamber did not apply for the Edmonds bailout grant. As a 501 (c) (6) nonprofit, we have often been ineligible for funding directed to nonprofit organizations, where only 501 (c) (3) organizations are eligible. We were so overwhelmed with planning the events of July 4th and Taste Edmonds on such a short time frame that we did not ask for further clarification as we now know we were eligible. We intend to seek future funding, should a second round of the bailout become available.
The chamber is passionate about creating community development events to enrich our city and its citizens. Our very existence and the community events that are so beloved are threatened without finding other sources of funding, including grants, such as the Edmonds bailout, and fundraising campaigns. We are grateful for the community’s help in this goal.
Executive Committee, Board of Directors of the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce
Rob Schwertley – PresidentErika Barnett – 1st Vice President Anne Penny – 2nd Vice President Ava Dubno – Treasurer Ralph Sanders – Secretary Nancy Ekrem – Past President
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