- 1959-1976 (Creation)
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Thirty-five business men of Highland Park met in the Hall of the Erskine Bank Building and formed an association, Monday evening Sept 19, 1910” A mission of “Home trade,” “mutual health” and attention to public needs led the fledgling organization to act within a broad mission of “betterment of the community.” Charles M. Schneider, who owned a store at 1815 St. Johns, served as the organization’s first president.
The Association sponsored events such as Highland Park Day, holiday festivities, charitable endeavors, and arts funding. Many significant financial contributions were offered to support opera and other programs at Ravinia Park.
The Association unanimously voted to change its name to the Highland Park Chamber of Commerce, August 10, 1925. This change broadened the organization’s mission, opening membership to public officials, educators and others. Notably, despite its name, the organization accepted woman business owners as members in its earliest days. The Highland Park Chamber of Commerce has traditionally been a member of the United States Chamber of Commerce, although its founding predates the national organization’s debut, April 12, 1912.
With the 21st century sobriquet, "Building Business…Building Community…Since 1911," The Highland Park Chamber of Commerce publishes and annual community guide, variously entitled, Organizations: Scope and Functions (1958); Who, What and Where and "Your Guide to Highland Park.” It also continues to sponsor an annual parade, the July 4th Kids’ Bike & Pet Parade; organizes an annual sidewalk sale and honors exceptional students annually.
The Chamber’s 2018 mission states: Our purpose is to help all member businesses prosper by providing programs and services to encourage business development through promotion, advocacy, connections and education.
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