Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce Awarded 5-Star Accreditation

Ann Hutchison, 2020. Photo courtesy of Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce.

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The United States Chamber of Commerce awarded the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce with 5-Star Accreditation at its board meeting last week for the Chamber’s sound policies, effective organizational procedures, and positive impact on the community.

This marks the third time the Fort Collins Chamber has achieved 5-Star Accreditation and is now recognized as one of 190 Accredited chambers nationwide. The Chamber is also one of two Accredited chambers within Colorado.

“Now more than ever, chambers of commerce have stepped up to serve as a resource to the business community and advocates of free enterprise,” said Raymond P. Towle, IOM, CAE, U.S. Chamber vice president of Federation Relations and Institute for Organization Management. “Through the pandemic, these chambers continue to lead while maintaining transparent governance practices, sound financial controls, safe work environments, value in programming, and effective communications,” Raymond said.

Accreditation is the only national program that recognized chambers for their effective organizational procedures and community involvement. A chamber is required to meet minimum standards in their operations and programs, such as areas of governance, government affairs, and technology.

This extensive self-review can take anywhere from six to nine months to complete.

“In a way, accreditation is validation,” said Fort Collins Area Chamber President and CEO Ann Hutchison. “It is external validation that compared to our peers and a set of exacting national standards, the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce is performing at a very high level for our members and the community,” Ann said.

The accreditation application required the Chamber to submit materials in recreance to all of its departments and procedures within the areas of governance, finance, human resources, government affairs, program development, communication, technology, and facilities.

The Chamber received perfect scores in the Human Resources, communication, facilities, and benchmarking sections of the application. The Accreditation examining committee noted several areas of excellence for the Fort Collins Area Chamber, including the Chamber’s work with Northern Colorado Prospers, Reignite Our Economy, talent portal, and Business Retention and Expansion efforts.

The Chamber was also recognized for its leadership roles in regional initiatives such as The Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance and the Fix North I-25 Business Alliance. Local chambers are rated Accredited, 3-Stars, 4-Stars, or 5-Stars.

State chambers are recognized as either Accredited State Chamber or Accredited State Chamber with Distraction. The Final decision is made by the Accrediting Board, which consists of a committee of U.S. Chamber board members.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of over 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions in addition to state and local chambers and industry associations.

“It has been the expectation of our board of directors that we participate in this program, which is voluntary and involves a significant amount of work,” said Ann. “But it’s worth it because it forces us to methodically examine what we’re doing and focus on making improvements. To remain at the highest level of accreditation for the third time is very gratifying,” Ann said.

For more information regarding the Fort Collins Area Chamber, visit: or call 970-482-3746