Northland News

Nonprofit Summit

Bourgault hopes priorities will emerge


Organizer Joyce Bourgault is hoping progress will be made toward making important decisions at the next Northland Nonprofit Summit.

The gathering, postponed from an earlier date, is now set for Thursday, April 18. Bourgault, chairwoman of the Northland Alliance, sent out a reminder last week to participants in the previous eight get-togethers for representatives of nonprofit organizations and agencies serving or operating in the neighborhood.

The eighth summit will be held at the Haimerl Center, 1421 Morse Road. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and the meeting should conclude around 11 a.m., she said.

The main focus of the most recent sessions, the first of which was held nearly two years ago, has been the concept of a combined welcome center for newcomers to the community as well as office space for nonprofits.

"What we're trying to do at this next meeting is just get some more priority from people on what costs might be, what direction we want to go," Bourgault said. "Do we want to build a new building, because we might have an offer of some land?"

Since she and some scheduled participants became ill and had to postpone the summit from its original Feb. 20 date, Bourgault said she's been busy discussing the "nonprofit mall" concept as much as her duties as executive director of the Helping Hands Health and Wellness Center free clinic will permit.

"I'm making a lot of contacts with a lot of different people," Bourgault said. "I think people are interested in finding out if it's going to be feasible for them.

"It's all part of the big plan. It's going to take some capital campaigns and grant seeking and figuring out who might want to partner with us."

Jerry Jones of the Service Corps of Retired Executives will be the featured speaker at next week's gathering. His topic is, "How a Business Plan Is Developed," and is aimed at helping participants move toward the goal of a welcome center/nonprofit headquarters.

In addition to further discussions about the feasibility of such a center, the April 18 meeting is scheduled to include updates on a survey that's been conducted of residents in the Beaumont neighborhood and a disaster plan for the Northland area that's being developed with the help of personnel from HandsOn Central Ohio.

The preparedness effort is in response to an apartment-building fire in August 2012 that displaced dozens of families, most of them immigrants.