Chamber Support in the Community
THIS ARTICLE APPEARS IN THE RED ROCK NEWS
June 24, 2022
I’m proud to say that Chamber mixers are always a success. Members and guests love connecting or reconnecting, catching up, meeting new people, and enjoying themselves while building a far-reaching network of business and social acquaintances. Of course, snacks, live music and a cash bar help enliven things. In that sense, last night’s event at the Mary D. Fisher Theatre was special – an enthusiastic crowd set on savoring a beautiful early summer evening in Sedona.
It was unique as we were celebrating the completion of the Theatre’s second screen – a 46-seat venue that complements the 96-seat theatre, which has served Sedona for more than ten years. The expansion, fueled by a $1 million anonymous donation, opens new cinematic vistas in Red Rock Country. The Theatre can now hold over successful films while debuting a second film simultaneously, for example. Sedonans will be able to catch more movies each year, and the Theatre can offer more one-night events and theatrical productions. Sedona International Film Festival (SIFF) organizers are looking forward to how the second screen will create new opportunities and add excitement to the annual film-lovers gathering, scheduled for February 2023.
It was a treat to see the newly configured space and reflect on how our tourism-based economy generates the financial support and the demand for sophisticated cultural venues. Once again, it makes me realize how fortunate we are, even as we wrestle with balancing our lifestyle with an economy that presents opportunities for amenities like the Mary D Fisher Theatre, something most towns our size can’t offer.
SIFF is one of our 130 Chamber partners who are nonprofits, who make up about 18 percent of our total membership. It sometimes surprises people so many nonprofits are members, but it shouldn’t.
When you think of the causes you care about – the arts, the environment, veterans’ outreach, women’s health, diversity and inclusion, food for needy families, recycling/reuse – Sedona area nonprofits address them all, often as part of the Strategic Tourism Plan. Nonprofits such as Keep Sedona Beautiful, the Sedona Red Rock Trail Fund (SRRTF), the Sustainably Alliance and others demonstrate the reality of our sustainability commitment. For example, their volunteer opportunities make voluntourism possible – where sustainability-minded visitors connect with Sedona by choosing to volunteer as part of their vacation.
The Chamber is unmatched in our capacity to help regional nonprofits build valuable relationships, tap into volunteer resources and raise funds. To ramp up this dynamic, we recently formed the Nonprofit Leadership Roundtable with generous underwriting from the Arizona Community Foundation of Sedona. During these quarterly get-togethers, nonprofits share resources, multiply their impact, and get training that makes them more effective.
This week’s meeting was emblematic of how nonprofits benefit from Chamber membership. Housing Solutions of Northern Arizona briefed us on their pre-purchase assistance, credit counseling and foreclosure prevention. These programs have synergies with other nonprofits, from food banks to job training centers. In addition, chamber Social Media Manager/Content Creator Eric Nguyen offered tips on promoting the unique nature of nonprofit work to reach potential clients and volunteers, and improve fundraising.
Supporting our members through programs like mixers and the Nonprofit Leadership Roundtable are just a few ways we at the Chamber are at work in the community, for the community. As we enter a new fiscal year next week, I look forward to sharing our goals and hope you will join us as a member, volunteer or as an individual doing your part for a balanced, sustainable Sedona.
–Michelle Conway, President/CEO
Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau