Jenny Lin, who became involved community and immigrant health issues in the Northland area while working on her master's degree, is seeking to "breathe new life into the old nonprofit summits."

Jenny Lin, who became involved community and immigrant health issues in the Northland area while working on her master's degree, is seeking to "breathe new life into the old nonprofit summits."

Joyce Bourgault, the retiring executive director of the Helping Hands Health and Wellness Center, started the gatherings for nonprofit organization serving the Northland area and is delighted with the idea.

"I think it's great," she said.

Bourgault launched the series of meetings in May 2011 after becoming chairwoman of the Northland Alliance. Her goal was to bring together representatives of agencies that serve Northland residents with an eye toward increasing cooperation and spotting gaps in what's needed in the neighborhood.

Lin, a onetime volunteer with Helping Hands, is calling the revived effort Northland Partners for Opportunity.

The first new summit session, also being held under the auspices of the Northland Alliance, will be a brown-bag lunch discussion and workshop from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. May 4 at the Haimerl Center, 1421 Morse Road. The purpose, according to Lin's announcement, is to develop "new ideas to build on our community strengths and address needs."

"Any organization, business, community or government representative with an interest in the Northland area is encouraged to attend," she wrote.

"I really would like to get more business partners involved," Lin said.

Northland Partners for Opportunity is just a working name, although Lin thinks it does have a certain ring to it.

"I didn't want it to sound too grandiose," she said. "I want something a little more positive-sounding. I like that kind of focus."

"She's familiar with what we've done in the past," Bourgault said. "I've given her a lot of background on this.

"I think the summits were a good way to connect all the nonprofits in the community. It took away some of the barriers between them. There should be more collaboration going on between more agencies."

The original round of summit sessions eventually came to focus on the concept of creating a "nonprofit mall," a place in the Northland area where agencies and organizations could offer direct help to clients. That was abandoned and the summit meetings discontinued after Bourgault concluded that obtaining necessary city and state funding was highly unlikely.

"Sometimes there's an idea before it's time, and the nonprofit mall was probably one of them," Bourgault said.

That time might be once again, Lin said.

"The nonprofit mall's a wonderful idea that people can really use. I'm looking for how we can do that and reach some larger goals."

"Jenny's very talented," Bourgault said. "She knows the community. She has a different perspective on it."

For more information, contact the Northland Partners for Opportunity organization via email to jennylinmph@gmail.com.