L.A. Serves as Launch Pad for “Community Speaks” Tour

January 14, 2011

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Business Civic Leadership Center (BCLC) has embarked on a year-long U.S. event series to improve the impact of corporate social involvement in local communities. The nine-city tour, called “Community Speaks,” kicked off this week in Los Angeles.

Hosted at the Northrop Grumman headquarters, the L.A. event gave area business, community, and government leaders a platform to discuss priority issues, outline a cross-sector agenda, and form partnerships that pave the way for greater long-term competitiveness and success. Organizations as diverse as Toyota and the United Way attended. Leading areas of focus for speakers and participants included health and wellness, workforce training and economic development, the arts, and the role of journalism in a vibrant democracy. PBS’ President and CEO, Paula Kerger, gave keynote remarks at the L.A. forum.

“Communities across America have their own unique needs, priorities and ‘special sauce’ that need to be heard,” said U.S. Chamber BCLC founder and Executive Director Stephen Jordan. “We’re pleased to team up with PBS to create opportunities for companies and their community partners to leverage national resources for the local issues they care about the most.”

One goal for the Community Speaks tour is to understand and address the key developmental issues communities across the U.S. are facing. The outcome of the tour is to provide a platform for companies with specific geographic or social-investment interests to form stronger partnerships, enhance local collaboration, and create more headway through their corporate citizenship commitments.

Future cities on the Community Speaks tour will be announced in coming weeks. This is the second time in BCLC’s 10-year history to conduct a national tour. In 2008, through a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration, BCLC held community forums in eight regions. The forums, coupled with a research project with the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, resulted in the release of the “Report on the State of Corporate Community Investment.”

As a 501(c)3 educational organization, BCLC serves as a voice and resource for the business community's social and philanthropic interests. BCLC is affiliated with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and works to strengthen collaboration among companies, chambers, NGOs, and governmental agenices. The U.S. Chamber is the world's largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.

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