Read the full letter that the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President & CEO, Jaime di Paulo sent to Washington, DC. addressed to Illinois Senators and US Representatives in Congress, below.
Dear community representatives,
The Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (IHCC) actively promotes the economic growth, development, and interests of more than 100,000 Hispanic-owned businesses in Illinois. These businesses contribute over 53 billion dollars to the nation’s economy each year.
The IHCC also advocates on behalf of more than 100 major regional corporations and serves as an advocate for more than 50 small local chambers and business associations throughout Illinois.
The IHCC is proud to see the effort and dedication that our small team of professionals has sustained to stay on the front lines and provide technical assistance to all who needed it during these difficult times.
In the first week of April a survey conducted by the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) among Hispanic small business owners who applied for loans, revealed that only 8% of them received the money in the first round for federal support.
In May, thanks to the work and effort of Hispanic Chambers of Commerce like ours, almost 40% of Hispanic small business owners who applied received some type of assistance, whether federal, state, or local.
The IHCC can now proudly say that we helped many small businesses that were desperate for a loan. At some point, many of them gave up, frustrated by a cumbersome process, or because they didn’t even know how to get a loan. Organizations like ours gave them access to the resources that keep them going today.
During this time, the ten IHCC employees have become the only resources that many of these small businesses had to turn to for bilingual technical assistance in filling out applications for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and other programs.
However, in reality, the IHCC is running out of resources. The economic impact of COVID-19 has also reached us, despite the spending cuts implemented in all areas.
We had to cancel almost all events for the year, which represents an important part of our budget.
Today we cannot demand membership’s renewal payments, because we know that companies are going through difficult times.
Besides, the state and federal government grants we received are barely enough to pay our payroll this situation has been overwhelming for the last 130 days.
That lack of resources could end up forcing the IHCC, as well as most of the nation’s major Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, to cut back on assistance to small business owners who are urgently in need of continued technical assistance.
We know that there are close to $ 100 billion funds unused from the PPP. Before the Senate considers continuing the discussion of the Heroes Act, all the PPP’s funds must be borrowed.
Our Chambers of Commerce do not have access to these flexible loans, as the law stands. By the time the Heroes Act passes, if it does, it could be too late for many of our organizations.
Our hope lays on your hands, who represent all of our communities. Only your initiative could allow Congress to discuss access by Chambers of Commerce to a small percentage of available funds.
With time running out and our budgets about to end, your intervention is critical to prevent those of us who have helped small businesses the must stay afloat and not becoming the unjust victims of a crisis we faced from the start.
We believe in the initiative to allow the Chambers to access PPP funds this transcends any party difference and cannot be held hostage to an electoral debate.
We trust you to find a solution that will allow us to remain on the front line of our economy.
We ask you not to stay idly while the Chambers of Commerce of our State strive to help members find an economic lifeboat, while we stay adrift.
Jaime di Paulo
President & CEO
Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
This letter was sent on Friday 12th June, 2020 to:
The Honorable Tammy Duckworth
United States Senator for Illinois
The Honorable Dick Durbin.
United States Senator for Illinois
The Honorable Bobby Rush
US Congressman for Illinois’s 1st District
The Honorable Robin Kelly
US Congressman Illinois’s 2nd District
The Honorable Dan Lipinski
US Congressman Illinois’s 3rd District
The Honorable Jesús “Chuy” García
US Congressman Illinois’s 4th District
The Honorable Michael Quigley
US Congressman Illinois’s 5th District
The Honorable Sean Casten
US Congressman Illinois’s 6th District
The Honorable Danny K. Davis
US Congressman Illinois’s 7th District
The Honorable Raja Krishnamoorthi
US Congressman Illinois’s 8th District
The Honorable Jan Schakowsky
US Congressman Illinois’s 9th District
The Honorable Brad Schneider
US Congressman Illinois’s 10th District
The Honorable Bill Foster
US Congressman Illinois’s 11th District
The Honorable Mike Bost
US Congressman Illinois’s 12th District
The Honorable Rodney L. Davis
US Congressman Illinois’s 13th District
The Honorable Lauren Underwood
US Congressman Illinois’s 14th District
The Honorable John Shimkus
US Congressman Illinois’s 15th District
The Honorable Adam Kinzinger
US Congressman Illinois’s 16th District
The Honorable Cheri Bustos
US Congressman Illinois’s 17th District
The Honorable Darin LaHood
US Congressman Illinois’s 18th District