Northland News

Flu takes a toll on plans for nonprofit meeting


A gathering for representatives of nonprofit organizations and agencies that was to have taken place last week had to be postponed due to illness on the part of many involved.

Chief among them was principal organizer Joyce Bourgault, chairwoman of the Northland Alliance. A bout with the flu kept her from putting together the eighth Northland Nonprofit Summit Feb. 20 and also from her job as executive director of the Helping Hands Health and Wellness Center free clinic.

"It's just been a rough winter for everybody," Bourgault said last week, her voice still scratchy. "I thought I had escaped it all. I shouldn't have bragged because I got it."

The flu bug also struck down some officials at the Economic and Community Development Institute. Based on Old Leonard Avenue, the nonprofit organization provides loans, training and grants to assist new business owners get started.

"I am sorry to let you know that due to illnesses of several of the presenters, we will need to postpone the summit planned for this Wednesday to a later date," Bourgault wrote in an email cancelling the gathering. "I have been out from work, as have many from ECDI, and we need time to recuperate as well as time to prepare to make the summit the great experience it needs to be.

"There are too many good things happening around this process that we want to be sure we do it right. I hope to be able to reschedule this within the month as we have deadlines coming up for grants this spring."

Topics that were to have been discussed at the eighth gathering of nonprofits based in or serving the Northland area included an update on a disaster plan being developed by personnel at HandsOn Central Ohio, information on a survey that was conducted in the Beaumont neighborhood and a report on progress for creating a nonprofit center.

That's where ECDI officials were to have come in, offering pointers on developing a business plan for such an operation.

Now, Bourgault said, she will have to start over in devising a schedule to, she hopes, pull the meeting back together again during March.

"It just takes time," she said.