1859: The Metro Atlanta Chamber was founded as the “Mercantile Association,” with the intent to fight railroad freight discrimination against the City of Atlanta.
1871: The organization of the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce was effected on August 7, 1871. The Chamber starts a movement for municipal reforms and construction of a public water system.
1895: The Chamber helped promote the New South on an international stage after lobbying Congress to award Atlanta the 1895 Cotton States and International Exposition.
1900: A lack of paved roads and underequipped public schools led the Chamber to secure a $3M bond from the city that funded improvements in water and sewage systems, Grady Hospital and public schools.
1920: The Chamber was heavily involved in the development of Atlanta’s air transport industry. In partnership with the City Council, the Chamber encouraged the city to purchase Candler Field in the 1920s. This move made Atlanta the third city in the country – after New York and Chicago – to offer regular daily flights.
1925: The Chamber launched its first advertising campaign, called Forward Atlanta, led by Ivan Allen Sr., president of the Chamber, which attracted more than 750 companies to Atlanta, bringing over $30M and tens of thousands of jobs to the area.
1930: The Chamber aided in the expansion of Atlanta that included a $40M project to create an interstate highway system. The “Keep Atlanta Ahead” campaign, as it was known, also led to changes in education, fire prevention, public health, urban housing and global trade. During this time, more than 90 new industries came to the city.
1941: The Chamber helped to recruit major airlines to Atlanta, including becoming the home of Delta Air Lines in 1941.
1952: The Chamber was integral to an 81-square-mile expansion of city limits. As a result, the Chamber helped expand access to higher education through efforts to fund expansion in universities such as Georgia Tech and Emory University.
1960: The Chamber issued a resolution to the Georgia General Assembly supporting legislation that would end school segregation. Under the leadership of Ivan Allen Jr. – Chamber president and later mayor of Atlanta – the Chamber called for businesses to peacefully comply with the Civil Rights legislation. The 1960s also included the Chamber’s involvement in the passage of a regional rapid transit amendment that set the stage for the creation of a five-county authority evolving into today’s Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA).
1961: The Chamber founded the magazine “City Builder” in 1916, which ran until 1960. The magazine changed hands several times over the next two decades, and today, it is known as the Atlanta Magazine.
1970: The Chamber led efforts to attract foreign business, expand international airport routes and recruit industries in technology, manufacturing and research, adding more than 25,000 jobs annually. To attract more minority business to the state, the Chamber helped launch the Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council.
1980: The Chamber helped advance efforts to make Atlanta the “sports capital of the world” by establishing the Atlanta Sports Council.
1988: When Atlanta hosted the Democratic National Convention, the Chamber partnered with the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Georgia Department of Industry and Trade to maximize the region’s visibility.
1990: Now known as the “Metro Atlanta Chamber,” the organization played an important role in a pivotal time of growth and recruitment of companies in Atlanta, including Fortune 500 headquarters such as Georgia-Pacific, General Electric, Newell Rubbermaid and UPS.
1996: The Chamber helped raise funds to construct Centennial Olympic Park, and the Atlanta Sports Council was a leader in preparing the city to host the 1996 Olympic Games.
2001: The Chamber led efforts to have the Confederate symbol removed from the Georgia state flag.
2008: Helping to rally the business community, the Chamber led the Grady Hospital Task Force that saved our region’s only certified Level 1 Trauma Center.
2014: The Atlanta Science Festival was founded in 2014 by Emory University, Georgia Tech and the Chamber. The Festival is now engineered by Science ATL, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing people together through the wonder of science.
2015: The Chamber provided leadership for $1B in additional annual funding for Georgia transportation, the first state increase since 1971. In addition, the Chamber launched ChooseATL, an initiative to attract and retain next-gen talent.
2016: The year marked the passage of legislation to fund $2.7B for More MARTA. The Chamber also led the fight to defeat religious exemption legislation.
2017: The Chamber began the year in contemporary new offices at 191 Peachtree Tower and unveiled its new brand, including a new logo and website.
2018: The Atlanta Sports Council kicked off the first in a trifecta of major sporting events to be hosted in the region over the next three years: College Football Playoff National Championship, Super Bowl LIII and NCAA Final Four.
2019: Today, the Chamber continues to be a catalyst for a more prosperous region through efforts focused on inclusive innovation and entrepreneurship, next-gen talent, business climate, transportation, workforce development, education and advocacy on behalf of the business community. For the sixth consecutive year, Georgia is the No. 1 state for doing business.