Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce Launches a New Charitable Association

By MARIA SCANDALE | May 22, 2019

Ship Bottom — A new charitable association is underway. The Southern Ocean Chamber Association will raise funds for local business programming and nonprofit sustainability.

Part of the Vision 2020 strategic plan of the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce, the association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, created to stimulate economic development through the chamber.

“In 2017, the chamber launched its three-year strategic plan to have programs and processes in place to help local business and nonprofits overcome the challenges of operating a successful organization in the 21st century,” said Lori Pepenella, chamber chief executive officer. “As the chamber dedicated its 105th anniversary to helping members thrive, it can announce that this new association will grow to assist with raising funds and awareness.”

The Southern Ocean Chamber Association’s vision is to provide education to advance small business and nonprofits in Southern Ocean County. Its purpose is to raise funds as well as “demonstrate positive donor recognition” for the following two objectives, said Pepenella:

“The first is presentation programming, raising funds and sponsors that will create opportunities for high-impact speakers, seminars or workshops to appear within the region for the benefit of sustaining small businesses, entrepreneurs and nonprofit sustainability,” she said.

“The other is furthering the Thrive in 105 mission for nonprofit support, by utilizing the dynamic business network within Southern Ocean County to secure donations that can be directed towards nonprofit organizations whose missions serve the causes of youth, culture, community, wellness and first responders of the region,” she said.

The first donation to the association was given by the Van Dyk Group.

“The generosity of this family-owned and -operated business will be used to seed the community chest as well as distribute funds to support three nonprofit groups in the wellness category,” Pepenella reported.

The Van Dyk Group has already designated the charities, and announcements will be made throughout the summer as the checks are presented.

SOCA will use the 501(c)(3) status for grant applications. The status may help to obtain grants for chamber Downtown Driven projects, for example.

For more information on the new association and the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce, go to

— Maria Scandale 




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