Chamber receives grant from Excellus BCBS for PPE toolkits


The Rome Area Chamber of Commerce has received $10,000 in financial support from Excellus BlueCross BlueShield to support the chamber's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The grant funding will be used to help purchase supplies such as hand sanitizer, cleaning products, masks/shields, and to cover the cost of printing CDC health and safety materials for inclusion in toolkits intended for distribution to businesses in need that are reopening or that recently reopened after the COVID-19 shutdown.

As businesses reopen and resume operations while the potential for COVID-19 transmission continues to be of great concern, chamber officials said, and the financial strain felt by many businesses from diminished consumer traffic and lost revenue is compounded by the unanticipated and unbudgeted costs of sanitization/cleaning supplies, protective gear for employees, and educational signage.

“The Rome Chamber welcomes the opportunity to work with Excellus to ensure that our businesses, professional firms, and organizations are adequately prepared to provide safe and productive environments for workers and the public,” said Bill Guglielmo, president of the Rome Area Chamber of Commerce.

“Excellus is already actively engaged in our community, lending its name and its resources to many initiatives that make Rome the very desirable city that it is in which to live, work, and raise a family. This additional investment is further confirmation of Excellus’ continuing commitment to the economic viability of Rome and its people,” Guglielmo said.

Rome area businesses can bring a copy of their business card to pick up kits on Wednesday, Sept. 16, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Rome Area Chamber of Commerce, 139 W. Dominick St. Distribution will be made at the front door and those picking up PPE toolkits must wear a mask, use social distancing while in line on the sidewalk, and have their business card in hand.

“Local businesses are the backbone of our communities. As a local health care organization, it’s vital that we support them as they reopen and get back on their feet,” said Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Regional President Eve Van de Wal.

“Keeping our community healthy is our mission. We’re pleased to support the Rome Area Chamber of Commerce and our local businesses,” Van de Wal added.

As part of its community response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Excellus BCBS is providing this financial support to chambers across upstate New York, which, in addition to the Greater Utica Chamber, includes the Rome Area Chamber of Commerce, the Herkimer County Chamber of Commerce, and several others, to help businesses offset the costs of reopening.

The Rome Area Chamber has joined together with the Greater Utica and the Herkimer County chambers to coordinate their collective efforts to use the funds provided by Excellus BCBS. This collaboration will allow for better pricing and coordinated purchasing of supplies for the PPE toolkits. As a result, all three chambers will be assembling 600 PPE toolkits for pick-up.

For information about the Rome Area Chamber of Commerce, its other programs and services, visit   

For the latest information on Excellus BCBS’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, members, providers and employers can go online to



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