Behind The Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber's 5-Star Accreditation

Barbara Kieker

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

Based on a comprehensive evaluation of its performance, the Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber received a 5-star accreditation from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Accreditation Program.  Only 79 of the 7,077 chambers of commerce nationwide – or about 1 percent – have received five-star accreditation, the highest ranking awarded.

“As a member of a 5 Star Chamber, I know that my membership produces an incredible return on my investment," said Jay Prince, 2013 Chairman of the Board for the Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber.

"I know that our Chamber isn’t afraid to take on the challenges that our community faces because it consistently keeps the focus on what is best for its membership.  Being 5 Star validates the hard work by the Chamber staff and verifies that the programs and services being offered are what our members need to be successful. I am proud to be a member of one of the best chambers in the Country."

Earning Accreditation

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce began ranking local chambers with "Stars" in 2004.  A chamber can be evaluated as Accredited, which means it meets the minimum requirements for nine measures of organizational excellence.  Those that go beyond the minimum requirements are Accredited with 3, 4 or 5 Stars.   The nine measures of organizational excellence include:

  • Governance
  • Finances
  • Facilities
  • Human Resources
  • Government Affairs
  • Program Development
  • Communications
  • Technology
  • Benchmarking

"Of the more than 800 local chambers that have participated in the program since 1964, only 216 currently remain accredited," said Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber President Myrna Ballard. 

"The U.S. Chamber does not intend it to be an easy task to accomplish, and they seem to raise the expectation bar every five years or so."

Living in a 5-Star Community

According to Ballard, accreditation with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the only program of its kind that defines excellence in chamber planning and recognizes chambers for outstanding contributions toward positive change in their communities.  It provides an objective measure of just how effective a chamber is compared with others across the country.

The Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber was first accredited in 1987.  When Stars were added to the program in 2004, Valdosta-Lowndes earned 4-Stars.  In 2008, when the standards for accreditation were raised, Valdosta-Lowndes was among the first chambers nationwide to earn 5-Stars.  

"Working through this arduous Accreditation process helps us ensure that we are building the kind of Chamber that this great community deserves," Ballard said.

"We live in a 5-star community that deserves a 5-Star Chamber, with a 5-star Board of Directors and staff."

More information on the Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber is available at

About Barbara Kieker

Barbara Kieker is a freelance writer who writes on business-related topics for a number of web-based properties. She also provides communications services to Fortune 500 corporations, small businesses and nonprofit organizations.