As the Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce marks the organization’s 20th anniversary, we’re not celebrating two decades of a place or a service or an idea, but of people. It’s the people that make the Chamber. Thousands of them have attended Chamber events, joined as business members, ascended to leadership positions or even taken the reins of the board since the group was formed in 1994.

The Chamber was founded in the summer of 1994 by an enthusiastic group of Ahwatukee business people, who volunteered their time and efforts to bolster the local business community. These early volunteers braved many challenges and sparse resources. But with determination and the willingness to succeed, they persevered and demonstrated that the capacity for growth, team effort and contribution to the betterment of the community was an attainable goal. Today, the Chamber has grown to become an influential business organization in the community.

Though the business community has changed much over the years, the Chamber strives to keep Ahwatukee’s name in front of the people, to advertise the community and the diversity of businesses. Having more than 400 members makes a strong statement about the confidence in our vibrant business environment and the resiliency of the area during tough economic times.

We are a member-led organization, that has grown to include a range of committees managing the initiatives of the organization through a Board of Directors that include events, networking, advocacy, education, services, publications, and workforce development. In addition to our service to the traditional business community, the Ahwatukee Chamber has recognized the importance of the non-profit community in business. We continue to evaluate the needs of our members and adjust to the ever-changing business environment to meet their needs.

Studies have shown that consumers believe in Chambers of Commerce. Many believe that if a business belongs to a local Chamber of Commerce, they use good business practices and are involved in their community. For example, when consumers know that a restaurant franchise is a member of the chamber of commerce, they are more likely to eat at the franchise in the next few months. Or, when consumers know that an insurance company is a member of the Chamber of Commerce, they are more likely to consider buying insurance from it. Many of our Chamber members live right here in Ahwatukee and are the pillars behind events, education and charity for the community.

We’ve done it by working together through the past two decades, realizing that working collectively we are stronger than we would be individually. We have a unique Chamber that sets us apart from other organizations and we have big plans for the future. Looking forward to the next 20 years, we are proud to serve the Ahwatukee and surrounding areas and look forward to ensuring that our community is a great place to live, work, and play.

The New Year will be a big one for the Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce. To commemorate the anniversary, the Chamber will implement a new logo for the duration of 2014, as well as host multiple events, including a celebration party in March.

Join us in 2014 as we celebrate history and the promise of tomorrow that is Ahwatukee. A limited number of sponsorship opportunities are available. Please call (480) 753-7676 for more information at or email membership@ahwatukeechamber.com.

• Anne Gill is president and chief executive officer of the Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce. Reach her at (480) 753-7676 or anne@ahwatukeechamber.com.

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