CORNELIUS – The Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce put the focus on area nonprofits during its Focus Friday on Jan. 20.
Representatives from nearly 20 different organizations gathered in the chamber that morning to discuss what they do, what they are in need of and to learn about other local entities.
Many who attended commented that the event was a good way for members of different nonprofits to come together and find ways they can help each other.
“What we want to do is try to have ongoing meetings,” Bill Russell, president of the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce, said.
Plans are for the chamber to host quarterly events focused on area nonprofits, and the next event will likely take place sometime in March, Russell said.
Organizations present during the Jan. 20 Focus Friday included the Ada Jenkins Center, LKN Wildlife Conservation, Lake Norman Community Health Clinic, Camp Dogwood, Lydia’s Loft, Olde Huntersville Historic Society, Davidson Farmer’s Market, Helping Others Help Themselves (HOHT), Hope House, ANSWER Scholarship Inc., the Lotta Foundation, North Mecklenburg Crime Stoppers and Beds for Kids, among others.
Though each organization had a different mission, several of their needs overlapped with other organizations. Clinic volunteers and monetary donations were a couple things Lake Norman Community Health Clinic Executive Director April Cook mentioned the clinic needs.
“Every dollar that is donated yields a return on investment of $5,” Cook said during her presentation.
Other nonprofits had similar requests. Appeals were also made for referrals of people who are in need.
Bruce McDonald, a volunteer and partnerships coordinator with Beds for Kids, mentioned that the organization needed furniture donations of items that have been gently used and are still in good condition.
“We provide beds and essential furniture for kids in need,” McDonald said.
After everyone had a chance to speak, many began to notice how helpful the different organizations could be to each other. One possible collaboration was Beds for Kids possibly helping provide furniture for Hope House and other organizations serving families. Another possibility was some of the education focused nonprofits helping members of other organizations with things like tutoring and other services.
“We don’t necessarily understand all the organizations around us,” McDonald said.
A lot of times people tend to focus on the organizations they’re involved in, but events like Focus Friday allow them to branch out and possibly find other entities they can work with to help accomplish their missions, McDonald said.
“It’s just great especially for Lake Norman Young Professionals,” Shayna Inman, the immediate past president of the Lake Norman Young Professionals, who attended the event, said.
The Lake Norman Young Professionals is part of the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce and is made up of people ages 21-39.
Inman said she liked the Focus Friday and felt it was a good way for members of the young professionals group to learn about local organizations and find ways to help and get involved with them.
“On behalf of the chamber of commerce, thank you for all you do,” Russell to members of all the participating nonprofits at the end of the event.
For a list of some of the area nonprofits that participated in the event, go to www.lakenormanchamber.org.