Chamber Mobilizes Cedar Rapids Recovery Efforts

May 31, 2008

It started with a simple email from Sara Mentzer, vice president of public affairs with the Cedar Rapids Chamber of Commerce. U.S. Chamber Vice President of Regional Affairs Doug Loon emailed Mentzer asking how the Cedar Rapids Chamber was doing in the midst of all the Iowa flooding.

"Our building is ok but has become a refuge," said Mentzer. "The water got to within 50-100 feet but there is enough of a hill, it kept it back. Downtown is awful. Last Friday, the estimate was $750 million in damages to date." Mentzer ended her email with a request. "One thing I would ask is assistance in referring us to people who have dealt with this, FEMA and federal recovery money."

Within hours, the Chamber's Business Civic Leadership Center (BCLC) had reached out to local, state, and national authorities, local business leadership and key volunteer agencies to help support and coordinate the long-term recovery efforts.

BCLC is also doing an economic/community impact assessment of the situation and prepare a report to help the business community analyze how best to support the recovery of the region, including assisting small business and key industry recovery.

Just as it has in past emergencies, BCLC is working with Aidmatrix to assist with product donations. To donate, visit

If you or your organization has relevant skills and want to coordinate with BCLC in this effort, please contact Gerald McSwiggan at .

If you have any questions about how to get involved, please call 1-888- MY-BIZ-HELP (1-888-69-249-4357).

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