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Texas Nonprofit Leaders Create Networking Circle

Texas Nonprofit Leaders Create Networking Circle

By Sonny Long, Victoria Advocate, Texas

January 06, 2010

Leaders of local nonprofit organizations are putting their heads together to share ideas, seek solutions and collaborate efforts.

The Nonprofit Network of the Golden Crescent, the group’s new working name awaiting approval of the majority of its membership, has been meeting since early last year.

The group originated in 2008 at the University of Houston-Victoria’s Center for Non-Profit Leadership under the guidance of Suzanne Clodfelter Jordan.

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After that program ended at the college, last year Joni Brown of Keep Victoria Beautiful, Sandra Neely of the Devereux Foundation and Jerry Pearce of De-Go-La Resource Conservation and Development, reorganized the group.

“The networking is the most important aspect,” Pearce said. “Nonprofit organizations seem to sometimes tend to operate in a vacuum.”

Pearce said the meetings offer opportunities for leaders of these organizations communicate face to face, take part in instructional programs and training.

He said programs have included changes in Internal Revenue Service regulations and ways to increase funding.

Neely agreed.

“It’s an opportunity for us to sit down make sure we’re not duplicating efforts on special events, make certain that we’ve got community events spread throughout spread throughout the year and not bunched together at one time so everyone in the community can participate in as many not for profit events as is out there,” she said.

Lisa McLean, membership coordinator for the Girl Scouts of Greater South Texas, also finds the communication among organizations a key attraction to the group.

“This group is important because of the networking with other organizations and learning how other organizations conquer their challenges,” McLean said.

During the January meeting, group members in attendance also tackled changing the group’s name, originally First Friday, and voted on meeting dates and times.

Kathy Hunt of the Nonprofit Resource Center of the Golden Crescent, helps set up and facilitate the meetings. She also sees the benefits of the group.

“It gets all the nonprofits together to talk about common problems they may have, great ideas to share or to find a way to collaborate together. A lot of times the people we serve or the projects we are involved in there’s great opportunity to work together,” Hunt said.

Neely said the group can also provide training for its members that they may not be able to get elsewhere.

“Each of our organizations, especially if it is a national organizations, has training modules that can be brought in so we can learn right here in our community,” she said.

That training could include instruction for board members, Neely added.

At the January meeting other organizations represented included the Girl Scouts of Greater South Texas, the Victoria Art League, the Victoria Adult Literacy Council, Court Appointed Special Advocates, the Food Bank of the Golden Crescent, Sure B.E.T. and the Cultural Council of Victoria

Neely emphasized that all the groups need support.

“Victoria is a generous community. There is not a single not-for-profit in this community that is duplicated or is not necessary,” Neely said.

“This group gets together to help make the not-for-profit community more viable and more credible.”

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