|Philadelphia, PA (May 2022) – The Independence Business Alliance is excited to announce the recipient of the 12th Annual PNC Bank $5,000 LGBT Business Award, given by PNC Bank to an LGBT or allied IBA-member business that is poised to grow, innovate, and give back to the community. This year, the award goes to LGBTQ-focused Beyond the Bell Tours in Philadelphia!|
Beyond the Bell tours are a social enterprise committed to “Putting the People Back in People’s History.” They create inclusive historical walking tours of Philadelphia highlighting marginalized communities, peoples, and histories. They tell stories of people they love and admire. People who have shaped our city through movements, activism, and resistance.
Rebecca Fisher (she/her/hers), who co-founded the business with Joey Leroux (he/him/his), had this to say about what the $5,000 means to their organization: “In this moment while anti-LGBTQ+ laws are being passed across the country, we are heading towards light and love by celebrating our LGBTQ ancestors who have fought for our rights before us on our 2022 Pride Trolley Tour. We are grateful to IBA and PNC for their support in helping us tell LGBTQ stories with pride this June.”
IBA Executive Director Zach Wilcha says, “We are incredibly grateful for PNC’s commitment to our organization and the our community’s small businesses. As a founding corporate partner of the IBA, their PNC LGBT Business Award has impacted innovative and creative businesses for 11 years now, and we can’t wait to celebrate future winners.”
Congratulations to Beyond the Bell Tours, and all of the other incredible applicants!
April 25, 2022 | For Immediate Release
Greater Philadelphia — Grubhub, a leading online and mobile food-ordering and delivery marketplace with the largest and most comprehensive network of restaurant partners, and the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), the business voice of the LGBT community and certifying body for LGBTQ+-owned businesses nationwide, are embarking on a multi-state series of events celebrating LGBTQ business resiliancy, featuring a visit with Independence Business Alliance.
On May 10 at noon our annual Business Leaders Luncheon will take place at City Winery Philadelphia, featuring outstanding business owners and community leaders from our region, as well as guests from the NGLCC, Grubhub, and partner organizations. Business resources and opportunities will be shared with the community, as well as a presentation of grants to honorees. To learn more and register for this event, visit here: bit.ly/IBABLL2022
The NGLCC’s network of more than fifty Affiliate Chambers across America, of which the Independence Business Alliance is a proud partner, helped amplify this grant opportunity to support local restaurants. Local chambers will also benefit from this initiative’s newly established “Affiliate Chamber Fund.” This fund will enable any establishment that receives a Community Impact Grant that is not currently a member of an NGLCC local affiliate chamber to have one year of membership paid.
“We’re incredibly proud to be a partner of NGLCC and GrubHub for their Community Impact Grant program. So many of our hospitality partners were disproportionately adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and programs like these that help restaurants and other food providers get back on their feet are essential to our region’s economic comeback. Our hope is that other companies will model GrubHub’s actions and create opportunities for small businesses – which are the backbone of our region’s and nation’s economy,” said Zach Wilcha, the Executive Director of the Independence Business Alliance.
The NGLCC & Grubhub Community Impact Grant program provides a financial lifeline to those impacted by COVID-19 with grants expected to range from $5,000 to $100,000.
Throughout the month of June 2021, NGLCC was the official partner of Grubhub’s Donate the Change, which has raised tens of millions of dollars for organizations in need since launching in late 2019. The partnership welcomed Grubhub and Seamless diners to round up their order total and donate the difference, with the company matching eligible donations from Grubhub+ members. The proceeds raised will now be made available through NGLCC to support the LGBTQ+ community and LGBTQ+-owned restaurants.
“We often say at NGLCC that ‘If you can buy it, an LGBTQ+-owned business can supply it.’ That is especially true of the LGBTQ+-owned restaurants across America who kept our communities and first responders fed throughout the pandemic. We’re proud to partner with Grubhub in presenting these grants across America. America’s 1.4 million LGBTQ+-owned business owners have demonstrated incredible resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic, and now we can back to help them recover stronger than ever,” said NGLCC Co-Founder & President Justin Nelson.
“As the world starts to return to a new normal, we know many businesses are rebuilding and reopening, especially LGBTQ+-owned restaurants that are often the pillars of their communities,” said Jessica Burns, vice president of brand and creative at Grubhub. “We’re thrilled to partner with NGLCC and give back to the LGBTQ+ community – one that has shown incredible strength and support for those in need throughout the pandemic.”
The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) is the business voice of the LGBT community and is the largest global advocacy organization specifically dedicated to expanding economic opportunities and advancements for LGBT people. NGLCC is the exclusive certification body for LGBT-owned businesses, known as Certified LGBT Business Enterprise® (Certified LGBTBE®) suppliers.
About Independence Business Alliance
The Independence Business Alliance (IBA) is the LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia and an affiliate of the NGLCC. Providing opportunities, access, and resources for LGBTQ+ businesses, employees, and our visible allies, the IBA advocates for, educates, and connects our LGBTQ+ and business communities. The IBA is a member of the Diverse Chambers Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.
Grubhub is a leading online and mobile food-ordering and delivery marketplace with the largest and most comprehensive network of restaurant partners, as well as 33 million active diners. Dedicated to connecting diners with the food they love from their favorite local restaurants, Grubhub elevates food ordering through innovative restaurant technology, easy-to-use platforms and an improved delivery experience. Grubhub features over 300,000 restaurants and is proud to partner with over 280,000 of these restaurants in over 4,000 U.S. cities. The Grubhub portfolio of brands includes Grubhub, Seamless, LevelUp, AllMenus and MenuPages.
October 6, 2021 | For Immediate Release
Philadelphia, PA — Today, the Diverse Chambers Coalition of Philadelphia, a collective of local diverse chambers of commerce, announced a formal partnership to focus on working collaboratively to facilitate entrepreneurship and growth, to advocate collectively on shared issues, and to increase each member’s organizational efficiency. The Diverse Chambers Coalition of Philadelphia (DCCPHL) includes the African American Chamber of Commerce of PA, NJ, and DE, the Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia, the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the Independence Business Alliance (Greater Philadelphia’s LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce). This announcement coincides with Philadelphia Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week 2021, which highlights Philadelphia’s minority businesses and the resources that help them grow.
The diverse business communities represented by the alliance of chambers account for an annual estimated contribution of more than $3 trillion to the U.S. economy. The DCCPHL will work collectively, as a community, to meet the unique challenges minority business enterprises face when they engage with our local economy. With the goal of economic uplift for and within the diverse minority business community, this coalition will speak with a united voice on issues where members unanimously align. This collective will aim to identify areas of collaboration among diverse businesses and will advocate for the advancement of policies that support the growth of diverse-owned companies at the tables where decisions are made. This partnership will work together to advocate for, educate, and connect our businesses for the greater good.
“Minority-owned businesses are the pillar of their communities and are the key to the revitalization of neighborhoods across our region. This coalition will be crucial in uplifting their efforts and ensuring minority-owned businesses have a stronger voice in the inclusive growth of our City,” said Regina A. Hairston, CEO & President of the African American Chamber of Commerce of PA, NJ, & DE.
““For the past year and a half going through the pandemic, one lesson learned is that small and micro diverse business issues were not understood and not well served. There is a strong need to focus on these businesses to help them provide jobs to contribute to the local and regional economy,” said Narasimha Shenoy, President of the Board of the Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia. “Asian businesses alone account for 10% of businesses in the city, with 9700 hundred of them having more than one employee. Diverse chambers are organized to meet unique needs of its businesses. The Diverse Chambers Coalition will collectively advocate to better serve our diverse small and micro businesses to grow the local and regional economy.”
Jennifer Rodriguez, President & CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce noted, “Diverse small businesses are the backbone of our communities, but they often feel powerless. Bringing the diverse chambers together through this coalition will enable us to be more effective in advocating for the policies and resources that will help small diverse businesses thrive.”
“Diverse Chamber Coalition leaders have realized through our collaborative efforts that we can better advocate for our businesses, especially small ones which comprise the backbone of the city’s economy, when we speak with a unified voice,” said Zachary Wilcha, Executive Director of the Independence BUsiness Alliance. “Demonstrating commitment to diversity is not only the right thing to do, but it’s also the smartest thing to do for businesses large and small. This coalition is unified behind a common theme: Diversity is good for business; and that’s good for Philadelphia.
For additional information, please contact:
Regina A. Hairston, President & CEO, African American Chamber of Commerce of PA, NJ, & DE email@example.com
Narasimha Shenoy, Chairman Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia
Jennifer Rodriguez, President & CEO, Greater Philadelphia Hispanic American Chamber of Commerce
Zachary Wilcha, Executive Director, Independence Business Alliance
About the African American Chamber of Commerce of PA, NJ, & DE: The AACC is the leading advocate for minority owned business in the Delaware Valley and Southeastern Pennsylvania. Its purpose is to enhance the growth and effectiveness of African-American owned businesses in the Delaware Valley, and thereby, to improve the economic conditions within the regional African-American community. Its primary goal is to further the interests of businesses by responding to the needs of the business community and serving as an advocate for the purpose of increasing economic opportunities for the African-American community. https://www.aachamber.com/
About the Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia:The AACC promotes and fosters relationships between Asian American and non-Asian communities, providing technical assistance and educational services for the start-up and growth of Asian American businesses, and bringing together Asian American business owners and professions, serving as a liaison between the federal, state and local governments and other chambers of commerce organizations, and promoting education programs to increase awareness of Asian American businesses. We are dedicated to promoting regional economic growth between Asian & non-Asian businesses while advancing business-friendly public policies, servicing our members through outstanding programs, benefits, and services. https://asianchamberphila.org/
About the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic American Chamber of Commerce: Established in 1990, the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GPHCC) is a not-for-profit organization devoted to promoting the advancement and economic growth of Hispanic businesses and professionals in the greater Philadelphia region. We accomplish this through educational programs, and a broad range of services and special events. The GPHCC proactively serves a diverse membership—consisting of entrepreneurs, Latino businesses, Latino professionals, corporations and government—with the overriding goal of helping these critical constituencies capitalize on the many opportunities their diversity, enhanced by our Latino multicultural mix, offers. Our Mission is to develop, promote and advocate for Hispanic business in the Greater Philadelphia region while encouraging the advancement and economic growth of the Hispanic community. https://www.philahispanicchamber.org/
About the Independence Business Alliance: The Independence Business Alliance (IBA) is Greater Philadelphia’s LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce. The IBA provides opportunities, access and resources to LGBTQ+ businesses, LGBTQ+ professionals, and our visible allies in the Greater Philadelphia area. The mission of the Independence Business Alliance is to promote Greater Philadelphia’s LGBTQ+ business and leadership communities to enhance financial opportunities, foster diversity, develop leadership and collaboration, and advocate for positive change. www,thinkiba.com
Description of product or service:
I am a Financial Advisor who helps LGBTQ clients gain financial clarity in today’s fast paced times. I have an unequalled passion for educating people in the LGBT community on retirement planning risks and protecting themselves and their loved ones. I have almost 30 years experience in serving the community in the areas of life & disability insurance, group health plans as well as investments and wealth management. My clients include individuals, professionals, small businesses and their families.
How many years have you been with company or in business?
I have been with Lincoln Financial for 3 years and in the financial services business for almost 30 years.
What company or organization you respect most and why?
I greatly respect Inter-American University in San Juan Puerto Rico. They treated me as one of their own the entire time I attended the English-speaking trimester program. IAU is middle states accredited by the Middle States Higher Education Association in Philadelphia. The University was founded in 1902 and has an ABA accredited Law school as well. If I come into a lot of money, I will remember IAU in my estate plans.
Which business leader or innovator do you most want to emulate and why?
Probably Mark Segal from the PGN. He is an innovator, publisher and author and believes in our community. He refused to back down from politicians or the police when it was dangerous to do so and we all have benefited from the inroads that he paved for us. His courage has enabled the local LGBT community to thrive and prosper.
What is the most important business decision you’ve made to date?
The two most important business decisions I have made are joining the IBA and transitioning my financial insurance and investment practice over to Lincoln Financial from another company.
What is the most important life decision you’ve made to date?
The most important life decision that I made was to go back to graduate school in 1993 and earn an MBA in 1996 from Inter American University in San Juan, PR. It was a totally rewarding experience. I was immersed in a Spanish speaking environment both at school and in everyday life on the island. Additionally, Puerto Rico has a rich and diverse LGBT community. In fact, it was someone from the LGBT community, Ben Gillespie that started the St. Patrick’s Day parade on the island.
When and why did you join the IBA?
I joined the IBA to make friends and create new business contacts in the LGBT community. I could not think of a better way to accomplish both objectives. And the IBA staff has been supportive as well giving us platforms to meet people such as the Virtual Coffee hour and Connx.
Since joining the IBA, what has been the greatest advantage to you and your business being a member of the Chamber?
The greatest advantage to joining the IBA has been to give me access to business, professionals and entrepreneurs in the LGBT community. Joining the IBA has opened doors that otherwise would not have been opened.
What is your proudest moment, honor, or achievement?
My proudest achievement was obtaining a 3.88/4.0 MBA in Finance and Marketing from IAU
What programs, outreach, or organizations are you involved in that give back to the community?
I have been a sponsor for the Elder Care Initiative as well as have participated in their events. Supporting LGBT seniors is a passion of mine. I have also provided free workshops at the William Way Center over the years on different financial topics to all that show up. I met a lot of diverse and really nice people there.
What is a little known fact about you?
I’m really shy and had to overcome this by practicing public speaking and standing in front of a mirror memorizing a speech until it became second nature.
What is your guiltiest pleasure?
I like to explore new restaurants in the city and suburbs. Especially Fishtown and Northern Liberties.
To date, what has been your most favorite vacation spot?
My favorite vacation spot over the years has been the Island of Puerto Rico. Since my first trip there in 1986, I have been back and forth at least 40-50 times. I liked it so much that I moved there to attend graduate school. The weather is great, and the people are very friendly. I also like Fort Lauderdale and Orlando for quick get-a-ways.
What is the last book you read?
“I will teach you to be Rich” by Ramit Sethi
Independence Business Alliance’s Business Leaders Luncheon celebrates the achievements of the LGBTQ+ business community, including the awarding of the PNC Bank LGBT Business Award.
The event provides an outstanding opportunity to place your business in front of decision makers and support the work of Philadelphia’s LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce.
A number of sponsorships are available for the event, which will attract nearly 300 business owners and professionals, LGBTQ+ business leaders, corporate and community partners, and government officials.
Sponsorship Packages are going fast – email firstname.lastname@example.org today for details. Ticketing information available NEXT WEEK – we’ll see you there on May 12th!
Mark your calendar for:
Tuesday, May 12, 2020 from 11am to 1:30pm
at City Winery Philadelphia
990 Filbert St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
We are so grateful to this dynamic group of LGBTQ+ and allied supporters. Thank you all for your support of the Independence Business Alliance!
Philly AIDS Thrift | Philly AIDS Thrift @ Giovanni’s Room
The Curtis Atrium by Constellation Culinary
Industry and Commerce Imageworks
44 Business Capital
Independence Blue Cross
Good Tidings Sponsors
Gian-Grasso, Tomczak, & Hufe, P.C.
Silver Bell Sponsors
Dr. Michelle Angello
Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia
Integrity Staffing Solutions
The Health Fair is back! This one-of-a-kind event, in combination with our popular monthly ConnX mixer, will take place on Monday, October 21st from 5pm to 7:30pm at Independence LIVE space, conveniently located at 20th and Market in Center City, Philadelphia.
This third annual LGBTQ health & wellness event will provide unique opportunities for IBA members to purchase vending space, and all are welcome to attend, network, and learn more about LGBTQ-friendly wellness services in our community.
The Health Fair will also feature cooking and exercise demonstrations, all set in a state-of-the-art space that is dedicated to wellness. In addition to drawing our regular ConnX crowd, this event will be highly publicized and open to the public.
We welcome any health or wellness related businesses to join us by tabling! (Nutrition, fitness, stress management, family health, financial health, legal, dental, hospitals, technology, massage, etc.)
We look forward to celebrating the wellbeing of the community with you!
November 29, 2018 – The Independence Business Alliance (IBA), Greater Philadelphia’s LGBT Chamber of Commerce is thrilled to begin the second year of Intersections: an award-winning event series focused on diverse business communities, in collaboration with Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau and PHL Diversity.
Over the last year, the IBA hosted an immensely successful set of three introductory networking receptions to kick off the three-year Intersections series, which was awarded the 2018 NGLCC Excellence in Programming award at the NGLCC’s International Business and Leadership Conference hosted in Philadelphia in August 2018.
Year two of Intersections kicked off last night with a Hispanic and Latinx-focused panel discussion, and will be followed by events for the African-American and Asian-American communities in February and May, respectively.
This first panel focused on a frank exploration of privilege, prejudice, and collaborative success amongst the LGBTQ, Hispanic, and Latinx communities. The conversation was moderated by NBC10/T62 reporter and journalist, Miguel Martinez-Valle, and featured business and community leaders such as Tito Valdes of the City of Philadelphia Law Department, Alba Guzman of Comcast, and Joy Soto of WHYY.
“Diverse businesses are better businesses,” IBA Executive Director, Zach Wilcha said. “It’s better for everybody when you see representation, whether it’s sexual orientation, gender expression, racial or ethnic background. Diverse businesses have more ideas. They have better problem-solving skills and are proven to be more successful in the long run.”
The IBA is committed to Diversity and Inclusion and extends an invitation to anyone interested in learning more about intersectional issues in the business community to attend this highly anticipated event series. IBA is proud to partner with PHLCVB and PHL Diversity on this groundbreaking initiative.
September 19, 2018 – On September 18, IBA was thrilled to host our third annual Garden Party, in partnership with our friends and supporters at West Laurel Hill Cemetery and Funeral Home. Each year, this event draws a crowd of new and familiar faces alike, to gather in one of our city’s most unique and scenic spaces for a special night of networking! This year’s event also featured a nonprofit IBA member, the Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus, who were on hand to promote their upcoming fundraiser, Cirque Masquerade.
Check out the photos here, and read on for a special message from WLH:
On behalf of West Laurel Hill Cemetery & Funeral Home, I’d like to thank all of you for coming out to support the IBA’s Annual Garden Party last night. We love nothing more than opening our gates to share with you our beautiful and historic grounds and now you know we are more than just a cemetery and funeral home – we are a certified arboretum, an outdoor sculpture garden, and a historical and cultural text that tells the stories of 19th, 20th and 21st century Philadelphia and the people who lived there. West Laurel Hill is also proud to be a resource for our community and offer programs year-round to bring the cemetery to life. We hold all kinds of tours to showcase our historic value and partner with many nonprofits in our community to host fundraising events in order to help support their mission. If you’re interested in attending any of our upcoming programs or to schedule a private tour, visit www.westlaurelhill.com/
events or email us at email@example.com. We do hope you join us and get more familiar with us!
PS… Did you know our sister cemetery’s 14th Annual Gravediggers’ Ball fundraising gala benefiting The Friends of Laurel Hill Cemetery will be held at the magnificent Masonic Temple on October 26th!?
August 21, 2018 – Last Tuesday, August 14th, the Independence Business Alliance hosted it’s largest ever event, welcoming over 900 LGBTQA professionals to Philadelphia for the 2018 NGLCC International Business and Leadership Conference.
The IBA transformed the iconic Reading Terminal Market into a vibrant haven for networking and celebrating the start of the world’s largest LGBT business conference. The event came to fruition after a year-long strategic effort by IBA Board, Staff, Members and Sponsors. The event was presented by IBA Corporate Partner, TD Bank.
Check out the top 10 moments from this historic event, below! All photos by the talented Flat World Media Productions – view the rest on Facebook here!
Guests arrived with a warm welcome from the Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus, and personal greetings from IBA Board Members.
Attendees delighted in the culinary offerings of some of the Market’s most popular vendors, and got a true taste of Philly to whet their appetite for the week ahead.
Sponsors shared giveaways and information about their services, and presenting sponsor TD welcomed guests to the extra special TD Lounge.
There was lots of team building to find the perfect group photo pose, all captured by Flat World Media Productions!
NGLCC President and Co-Founder, Justin Nelson, energized the crowd with a warm welcome to this year’s conference.
The band kept the tunes flowing, as guests paused to listen to the sounds of Philadelphia.
Attendees toured the historic Reading Terminal Market, finding a surprise around every corner!
Old friends and colleagues were reunited…
…and new friendships and connections formed.
Most of all, it was a night of incomparable networking, to forge new business relationships and strengthen the LGBTQ economy across the country and around the globe!
Special thanks to our incredible sponsors who made this event possible!
At TD Bank, we are committed to embracing diversity. Our mission is to cultivate a service-oriented, barrier-free culture that attracts, invests in, and promotes all talent, reflecting the diverse communities we serve.
We see people for who they are, and help them become whoever they want to be without judgment or preconceived ideas. For our customers, it’s listening to their needs and then providing trusted advice to help them achieve their financial goals, not based on what we assume they need. For our colleagues, it’s helping them accomplish their professional aspirations solely rooted in their talent and ambition, and never about how or where they were born, who they love, who they worship (or not), or how they identify.
It’s a lofty goal, but we’re well on our way.
We work to foster an inclusive environment where our customers feel welcome, and our colleagues feel safe bringing their whole selves to work. We embrace anyone with a drive to use their skills and abilities to bring our purpose – enriching the lives of our customers, colleagues and communities – to life. We know that the only way we can achieve our mission is by surrounding ourselves with colleagues who truly respect and reflect the diversity of our customers and the communities we serve.
How do we make our commitment to diversity and inclusion real? We place the same value on delivering against our success in this area as we do with our strategic and business objectives. Every leader in our organization is held accountable for our success by:
- Recruiting, developing, retaining and promoting the very best talent from all backgrounds
- Ensuring every one of our colleagues has access to challenging career opportunities and focused individualized development
- Providing tools to identify unconscious bias to all colleagues
- Supporting business resource groups dedicated to advocating for minorities, women, individuals with disabilities, members of the LGBTQ2+ community and veterans
- Providing an inclusive, barrier-free environment where every colleague and customer feels valued, heard, respected and supported in a nurturing environment of trust and belonging
- Serving the diverse needs of the communities where we work and live
- Conducting business with diverse suppliers
Additionally, in support of our mission, TD recently launched The Ready Commitment, targeting $1 billion by 2030, to maximize our impact by increasing financial security, elevating the quality of our environment, creating opportunities for everyone to participate in their communities; and supporting more equitable health outcomes for all, ensuring that our communities are ready for the future.
As the Host Affiliate Chamber for the 2018 NGLCC Conference, the IBA will be hosting the Opening Night Reception – presented by TD Bank – for up to 1,000 Conference attendees at the Reading Terminal Market on Tuesday August 14th from 7-9 PM. This event will showcase our great City and business community on the national and international LGBT stage in style with exceptional food, drink and local entertainment (and maybe some surprises!)
So, how can you be a part of this special event? All event sponsors will receive complimentary tickets to the reception, at the rates detailed in our sponsorship packet. And of course, admittance to the opening night reception is included with your NGLCC Conference Registration!
Contact us to reserve your sponsorship now!