Hard on the heels of the second Northland Nonprofit Summit, the bell will sound for round three on Wednesday, Nov. 9.

Hard on the heels of the second Northland Nonprofit Summit, the bell will sound for round three on Wednesday, Nov. 9.

The third gathering for representatives of agencies and organizations that serve the disadvantaged and others in the Northland area will take place from 9 a.m. to noon, with registration beginning at 8:30 a.m. at the Haimerl Center at 1421 Morse Road. The event is again being sponsored by the Northland Alliance, Helping Hands Health and Wellness Center, North YMCA and North Side Health Advisory Committee.

The deadline for attending Northland Nonprofit Summit III is Monday, Nov. 7. Registrations may be made online at www.northlandalliance.wetpaint.com, by calling 262-5094 or via email to helpinghandsfreeclinic@hotmail.com.

In convening the first summit on May 11, Joyce Bourgault was wearing two hats, those of head of the Northland Alliance and executive director of the Helping Hands free clinic.

Its purpose, she said at the time, was to create greater awareness of what nonprofits are operating in the Northland area, identify gaps in the services they provide, enable more cooperation among them and foster collaborations so that additional residents can be served.

Around 70 people from 60 or so organizations attended the May 11 gathering.

Bourgault said afterward that she hadn't expected anywhere near that many people to show up. That success and the desire of participants to do it again led to Nonprofit Summit II on Sept. 28.

The guest speaker for that gathering, the turnout for which also pleased Bourgault, was Michael Wilkos, senior grants officer with the Columbus Foundation. He discussed the Weinland Park Collaborative, a neighborhood revitalization effort that has the financial backing of the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, the Columbus Foundation, United Way of Central Ohio, the city of Columbus, Ohio State University and Campus Partners for Urban Redevelopment.

Wilkos is himself a resident of the neighborhood, located south of the Ohio State University campus, which was afflicted with practically every urban ill that exists.

Wilkos told Sept. 28 summit attendees that Weinland Park had become the "neighborhood of last resort."

Now, through the funding of collaborative partners and with the support of the residents, such problems as crime, unemployment, poor health care and unstable housing are being addressed, he said.

While the Northland area as a whole does not have the kind of urban blight that Weinland Park does, some pockets of the neighborhood are troubled with similar woes, according to Bourgault.

Fired up by the possibility of crafting some version of the Weinland Park Collaborative to address these problem areas of Northland, she said the people on hand in late September clamored for another gathering.

"People asked us to not wait so long," Bourgault said. "They really want to get into activating what we've been talking about."

According to a flyer for the next gathering. "The summit planning team is prepared to have another meeting on Nov. 9 with the same type of format. Excitement at the possibilities after Columbus Foundation's Michael Wilkos' presentation has raised many ideas and questions that call for more discussion and action. With many new collaborations already developing in Northland as a result of these meetings, there is the potential for creating a joint effort that will grow the Northland community in ways we never expected.

"Communities must have a long-term, thoughtful approach in order to truly achieve systematic change, and we are step one."

For some, Bourgault conceded last week, that first step might be stepping away.

"I'm anticipating that some are going to start getting a little anxious about it," she said. "I think most of the people will be coming back, but some others may think, 'This is more than I think I want to give.' But that's just a guess. I didn't think we'd get 70 people the first time.

"I think this next meeting's probably going to be the most defining as to who's going to get into the whole process."

Bourgault's idea is that nonprofits willing to participate in a collaboration such as the one in Weinland Park would focus their efforts on the sections of Northland with the greatest needs.

"I think you have to take it one area at a time," she said. "It's kind of like a virus. If you work in one area, you pick one area of Northland, that virus of healthiness and growth in that one area hopefully will spread, and some of it might spread by osmosis. People will say, 'That's working there, let's try it here.'"

As was stressed by Wilkos, it will be vital to get the residents of any area picked for a concerted effort by nonprofit organizations to be involved in decision-making, according to Bourgault.

In addition, she said, nonprofits can't be expected to make a go of this on their on their own. Such an effort would also require the involvement of the private sector in Northland, she said.

"It can't be just nonprofits," Bourgault said. "We need to go way beyond that."