Greater Vancouver Chamber receives national award

Winner of the prestigious 2023 Citizens Awards
Janet Kanefsky receives award. Courtesy of Greater Vancouver Chamber

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation has announced the Greater Vancouver Chamber (GVC) as a winner of the prestigious 2023 Citizens Awards, a long-standing program that honors purpose-driven businesses for their leadership in solving the world’s biggest challenges. GVC was recognized in the Best Civic Engagement Program category for its groundbreaking initiative, Future Makers: Civics & Leadership, which has significantly elevated civics as a top priority in southwest Washington.

This national recognition underscores GVC’s exceptional dedication to fostering civic education and empowering youth community involvement. Through Future Makers: Civics & Leadership, GVC has provided enriching experiences to the 2023 southwest Washington Civics Bee finalists. Collaborating with key commissions, agencies, and city councils in the region, the Chamber offered middle school students opportunities to deepen their understanding of civics and politics. Remarkable outcomes include students attending their first local City Council Meeting and inspiring others to join civic organizations such as the Clark County Youth Commission.

“We take immense pride in being recognized with a Citizens Award by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, alongside other leading businesses that serve as a force for good, expanding opportunity and driving progress in every aspect of society. This honor highlights the transformative power of the Chamber’s longstanding partnerships and shared mission to nurture youth who will actively shape the future,” said Janet Kenefsky, Vice President of Membership and Operations at GVC.

For over two decades, the Citizens Awards program has celebrated corporate citizenship initiatives that leverage a company’s talent, resources, and expertise to enhance communities. GVC’s innovative approach to civic education and its strategic public-private partnerships have set a remarkable standard for organizations nationwide. Hilary Crow, Vice President of Civics at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, praised GVC’s efforts, stating, “The Greater Vancouver Chamber’s work to empower youth through civic education will have a significant impact on the next generations of leaders and is critical in strengthening our democracy. Their strategic private-public partnerships serve as a model for other organizations across the country.”

The 2023 Citizens Awards recipients were recognized in the U.S. Chamber’s Foundation’s Business Solves Conference on November 1-2, 2023, in Washington, D.C. For more details on our youth civic engagement initiatives and how to get involved, please visit

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