The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) is the business voice of the LGBT community, and is the only national advocacy organization dedicated to expanding economic opportunities for the LGBT business community.
The featured image, above, shows Thomas “TJ” Chernick, Director of NGLCC NY, with a guest at a recent monthly mixer.
The NGLCC was started in November 2002 when co-founders Justin Nelson and Chance Mitchell realized that the impact of LGBT people on the American economy had gone largely unnoticed despite economic equality being an important component of the LGBT equality movement.
The two Co-Founders sought to showcase that in addition to being LGBT, many LGBT people were also business owners, employers, taxpayers, providers of healthcare and a vibrant, essential part of the small business engine that makes the U.S. economy run.
Now the organization that was literally launched around a coffee table is now the voice for the nation’s 1.4 million LGBT business owners and the $1.7 trillion those enterprises add to the national economy each year. The NGLCC enjoys the support and participation of more than 200 corporate partners as well as prominent executive leadership in striving to promote pro-business and LGBT-inclusive policies.
“Back in 2002 we realized that too few government leaders and corporate executives had considered the economic equality of LGBT people or the impact economics could have on the future of the equality movement,” notes NGLCC Co-Founder & President Justin Nelson. “So with a few forward-thinking corporate partners and a small network of LGBT business owners willing to tell their story, NGLCC was born.”
Co-Founder & CEO Chance Mitchell describes those early days, recalling that “word began to spread about NGLCC very quickly, thanks to outlets like the Washington Blade and Out magazine recognizing the previously under reported strength and promise of the LGBT business community. That proved what we, and our NGLCC corporate partners, always believed: economic and social visibility go hand-in-hand as we march toward equality and opportunity for all.”
“We needed a way to showcase that LGBT people were a vital part of America as business owners and employers,” Nelson emphasizes. “LGBT business owners were, and are, an essential part of the engine that makes the U.S. economy run and therefore deserve an equal place at the table.”
“Business ownership thrives in the LGBT community because we have all learned to be the entrepreneurs of our own lives,” explains Mitchell. “LGBT business owners prove that being out and being successful does not have to be mutually exclusive.”
Their goal was to create an organization that could support LGBT business owners and showcase the diversity of talent in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities. NGLCC has succeeded in large part due to an amazing team and board combined with the caliber of businesses, corporate partners, and individuals that have become involved over the years. In early 2004, NGLCC created a best-in-class diversity certification program, making the organization the exclusive national third-party certifying body for LGBT-owned businesses.
There are many local affiliate NGLCC groups that you can join. The Chapters hold monthly mixers where members get to chat to people across the spectrum of the LGBT business world. We feel it is essential in these times to ensure business and political leaders see the power of the community through small businesses and what we spend as LGBT individuals.
To join your local branch of the NGLCC and to find out about LGBT Business certification – visit: www.nglcc.org