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OXFORD, MASSACHUSETTS — At this morning’s Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce virtual Breakfast Club meeting, bankHometown President and CEO Robert J. Morton announced that the bank is making a $25,000 challenge grant to the Worcester Regional Chamber to help sustain its programs and services in support of local businesses, including those negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Morton announced the grant in his opening remarks as the event’s emcee, with the bank pledging to match dollar-for-dollar all donations made to the chamber by members of the business community through Labor Day, up to $25,000.

With local businesses particularly hit hard by the sustained economic shutdown, Morton noted that the chamber had continued to support the local business community throughout the pandemic while experiencing its own loss of funding from the cancellation of events and revenue-generating programs along with fewer new members joining and attrition due to business hardships and closures.  

“The Worcester Regional Chamber’s outreach and support of local business owners has become even more critical in these times of hardship and economic downturn,” Morton said. “bankHometown is pleased to make this funding commitment to help ensure the chamber’s services can continue to support our local business community in these difficult times.”

Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Timothy P. Murray said the chamber has taken unprecedented steps to reach out to and support business in this time of crisis. He noted that the chamber has opened up its services to non-dues-paying businesses, transitioned its robust program and event offerings to webinars and virtual meetups, and helped get the word out about loan and grant programs available to small businesses as well as helping to shape state economic development policy related to the crisis.

And, Murray acknowledged that these moves have come when the chamber’s own funding source—the business community—is in jeopardy, but that the steps were necessary and consistent with the organization’s mission to promote policies that create jobs and expand economic opportunity.

“We are grateful to bankHometown for recognizing the work the chamber has done to support local businesses, especially during this pandemic,” Murray said. “We appreciate this generous donation to help us continue to provide those services to the business community.”

Organizations contributing to the chamber can double the impact of their donations through this matching grant. Contributions may be sent to the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, 311 Main St., Suite 200, Worcester, MA 01608 or WorcesterChamber.org/DONATE.


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