Collaborating to Benefit Both

In today’s interconnected global environment, celebrating business success stories that reflect the collaboration of multiple industries and organizations is nothing new. Businesses are exceedingly looking to a model of collaboration to address some of the most complex issues facing the world around them. This approach is also true at the local level where businesses are finding ways to work together to address key social and economic issues right in their backyard. The Melbourne Regional Chamber, the central organizing body for the business community here in Brevard, is using its reach, influence and connections to help businesses and nonprofits work together to foster a more sustainable and vibrant community.

MRC’s ENGAGE Young Professionals, in its third year of existence, was born out of these principles: To create avenues for young professionals in the community to come together, network and learn about some of the most pressing issues facing Brevard and how, by working together, they can make a difference and shape the community where they live. In 2017, ENGAGE used their end of the year celebration to bring awareness and resources to the Street to Home Movement, the coordinated effort addressing chronic homelessness through the housing-first model in South Brevard. Street to Home, in partnership with the South Brevard Sharing Center, is responsible for finding over 150 individuals and families a positive destination out of homelessness, using targeted street outreach, case management and permanent supportive housing options.

“These partnerships are the key to making an impact and fostering a positive and vibrant business climate on the
Space Coast.”

Longtime supporter of Street to Home and MRC member Hell n Blazes, a local family-owned and -operated brewery in Downtown Melbourne, was a natural fit to host the event. In planning for the event, it was important to all vested parties that the celebration be a win-win for everyone. It helped bring exposure and raise funds for Street to Home, while hosting an exciting event that brought new patrons to the brewery. It was also an opportunity to give back to a chamber member known for their consistent support of many community initiatives. “I’m proud to be part of a community that works together to address issues of importance to quality of life in our downtown, and sees homelessness as one of those,” said Keith Donald, Founder of the Street to Home Movement. “While most communities in Florida are only talking about what to do, our businesses, City, police department, and non-profits are working together through the Street to Home movement to solve the problem.”

With a few connections and some good luck, ENGAGE was able to book the band Hot Pink for this event, a locally loved cover band that is known for drawing a great crowd. Through creative planning with the Blazes team, attendees were able to “buy” Street to Home a beer, each purchase adding $10 onto their tab with all donations going straight to the cause. The event drew over 200 people to Hell n Blazes on a Wednesday night, resulting in triple the sales of a typical Wednesday night and generating over $1,200 for Street to Home.

The cornerstone of the MRC is to help business and community leaders build their networks and create connections that will allow their businesses to thrive and grow. This event and the collaborative process that took place to bring business, community and nonprofits together for a common cause is a perfect example of those principles being put into action. “The Chamber is committed to creating and supporting opportunities for businesses, individuals and community partners to collaborate,” said Brent Peoples, Raymond James Financial, Chair of the Board. “These partnerships are the key to making an impact and fostering a positive and vibrant business climate on the Space Coast.”