Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Our FAQs are a compilation of the most common questions collected over the past 10 years by our staff. Most have been asked by prospective members, elected officials and the general public. Occasionally, a question may come from other business organizations, usually regarding the size of the territory we serve or whether someone other than business people of Hispanic descent may become members.
We strive to provide thorough but succinct answers, yet we realize we may not completely answer everyone’s questions. Should you need further information please call the Chamber at 240-686-0055.
Q: What is the Mid-Atlantic Hispanic Chamber of Commerce?
A: Organized in 2001, the Mid-Atlantic Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (MAHCC) is a membership-based, multi-state business organization headquartered in the Nation’s Capital and serving the mid-Atlantic region. We are not a government agency. The MAHCC is a 501(c)(6) tax-exempt organization under the Internal Revenue Code (IRC). IRC Section 501(c)(6) is reserved for business leagues, chambers of commerce, boards of trade, or other similar organizations. Thus, we are a private, not-for-profit organization that serves the interests, needs and concerns of our dues-paying membership and, because of its nonprofit status, serves the public interest also.
Q: What Chambers do and why?
A: Chambers of Commerce render many invaluable services for the benefit of its dues-paying members and for the benefit of all citizens since they are chartered also to serve the public interest. They are not government agencies, but they are organized as voluntary institutions to serve as central agencies in their area of service to advance economic, workforce and community development, and doing jobs that no individual can do alone.
American Chambers of Commerce are older than the United States is as a country. The first Chamber in America, the New York State Chamber, was founded in 1768 and the first local Chamber was established in Charleston, South Carolina five years later. Today, there are more than 4,000 Chamber of Commerce in the United States and during these 243 years, Chambers of Commerce have been major contributors in making the United States the largest and most stable economy in the world.
In addition to serving its members, the MAHCC is a passionate advocate for economic, workforce and community development. We build business success and enhance the economic vitality and quality of life for our region by attracting new residents and industries while retaining existing businesses. The Chamber offers educational and networking opportunities, business tools such as directories and mailing lists, and legislative advocacy to protect and advance business interest and thus, we create a favorable climate for entrepreneurship and business growth.
Q: How is the Chamber organized?
A: Unique among American chambers, the MAHCC is organized into chapters that serve specific local or countywide jurisdictions. This organizational structure provides for a better service at the grassroots level. Local Vice Presidents, who are also members of the Board of Directors, lead the chapters. Local Leadership Councils provide the necessary support for Chapter growth.
Q: How is the Chamber funded?
A: The Chamber is primarily funded by membership fees and other smaller sources of income. We are not funded by government agencies.
Q. Why should I join your Chamber?
A: Our Chamber exists to serve its members and works to add value to our member businesses. How do we do that? We help strengthen the local economy and develop the workforce of the future, improve the business knowledge of our entrepreneurs so that they may become more successful business people, provide networking opportunities, promote our members businesses and the community at large and effectively advocate on their behalf.
Q. There are many Chambers of Commerce in the region. How do I choose one?
A: Chambers are vital to the economic growth of a region, but they vary in their objectives. Some are social or networking clubs focused on business. Others serve primarily major corporations while most focus on small and medium-sized businesses. Conducting due diligence in selecting a Chamber is, therefore, of paramount importance. Questions to consider are: Does the Chamber have strong networking and educational programs? Does the membership represent a cross-section of the existing business community? Is there strong, transparent and ethical governance? Are diversity and inclusion represented at all levels of the organization? Do the programs offered by the Chamber reflect the needs and interests of the membership? Is committee participation actively encouraged? Does the Chamber actively promote its members internally and externally?
Q: Does the Chamber partner with other economic development organizations?
A: Economic development is the shared responsibility of many private and public organizations. We collaborate with local, state and national chambers of commerce and partner with other business, nonprofit organizations and economic development agencies to create a unified vision for the Mid-Atlantic region and to advance economic, workforce and community development. Also, we encourage and try to seek the cooperation of local and state governments in solving regional problems such as the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay, workforce development, basic research and technology transfer from universities and government, air quality improvement, strengthening and diversifying our transportation infrastructure, emergency preparedness, etc.
Q: Do I need to be a minority-owned business to join the Chamber?
A: Membership is open to anyone who is interested in furthering the mission of the Chamber. We are a non-partisan and non-sectarian organization; thus, since our inception we have embraced diversity and inclusion at all levels of the organization. We are proud to represent small businesses in general and women, veteran and minority businesses in particular, while at the same time encouraging the participation of Fortune 1000 businesses. We like to say that the letter ‘H’ in our logo stands for humanity, and that Hispanics just happen to be a part of it. Along those lines, we encourage our members and staff to be citizens of the world and solid business ambassadors for our chamber and our country.
Q: How do I become a member of the Chamber?
A. Joining the Mid-Atlantic Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is easy! Simply complete our online membership application, or download a membership application form and submit it via fax at 240-686-0060 or call 240-686-0055.
Q: What are the membership dues? Are they tax deductible?
A. There are several different membership plans and dues are based on the plan you select. For state and federal income tax purposes, dues payments to the MAHCC and its Chapters are generally deductible as business expenses. Consult a tax professional to determine the appropriate tax treatment of your dues.
Q: How can the Chamber help me and my business?
A. Our value proposition is very simple and straightforward. By joining our Chamber you also become a member of two other prestigious national organizations at no extra cost to you: the U.S. Chamber and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. In addition to benefiting from programs offered by our Chamber, you will have access to their programs. Furthermore, we offer excellent networking and educational events; but, in addition, we organize annual regional events such as our government procurement fairs and matchmaking events. Moreover, we are the only business organization centered on the Chesapeake Bay region and, thus, our political advocacy and influence continues to grow at all levels of government in Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC. Finally, we leverage the exonomic and technological strength of our rgion for your business' benefit.
Q: May I use the Chamber logo on my website?
A: Mid-Atlantic Chamber of Commerce members are encouraged to use on their websites the Chamber logo with "Member of" and the “year” included as part of the logo. To obtain a copy, call 240-686-0055 or log in to the Member-only section to download a copy.
Q: How can I find a list of upcoming Chamber events?
A: Click here to view the Chamber's online events calendar. When you locate an event that you would like to attend you may register online. Just follow the instructions. However, if you questions or encounter technical difficulties please call 240-686-0055.
Q: What sponsorship opportunities are available?
A: Sponsorship of Chamber programs and events is a great way to market your company and its products or services to a targeted audience of business leaders and consumers. Also, our main website, MAHCC.org, and its related but independently maintained chapter websites offer multiple opportunities to promote your business.
Q: How do I know if a company is a legitimate business?
A: We exercise due diligence when approving a membership application and generally visit the main place of business and talk to the principals. However, we do not have the authority to investigate how companies conduct business or resolve disputes with clients or customers. Your best sources for researching a business is with your local Better Business Bureau. Also, throughout the Mid-Atlantic region local and state consumer protection agencies are empowered to investigate and prosecute companies or individuals who act unlawfully or fraudulent. At the national level, the Bureau of Consumer Protection of the Federal Trade Commission has information for consumers on how to avoid scams and rip-offs, as well as tips on other consumer topics.