Growing a regional nonprofit network
Back in November 2013, the Ontario Nonprofit Network hosted a regional meeting in Chatham-Kent. With the inspiration and encouragement of ONN, United Way of Chatham-Kent began a steering committee to explore the possibility of having a local nonprofit network. With everyone in agreement, United Way of Chatham-Kent submitted a grant application to the Ontario Trillium Foundation in the summer of 2014. Thanks to the Foundation, a five year grant was approved and Kim Broadbent was hired as Project Co-Ordinator in September 2014.
The Chatham-Kent Nonprofit Network (CKNN) is working together with the local nonprofit sector to be a voice to the over 540 nonprofit organizations who strive daily to improve the quality of life of Chatham-Kent residents. By identifying data and resource needs both within and outside of the sector, CKNN will be able to inform the community of the work of local nonprofits and strengthen their capacity to serve. It is the goal of CKNN to bring together the nonprofit sector of Chatham-Kent to find its collective voice and to demonstrate its value to the community.
CKNN has been busy establishing itself in our community. The first event held was an All Candidates’ Forum during municipal elections to discuss the importance of the local nonprofit sector. CKNN also hosted 30 staff from a local high school during a professional development day to discuss the Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) and career opportunities in the nonprofit field. This event led to a close relationship with the SHSM students with a focus in nonprofit as CKNN took part as a community partner for a ministry pilot project with the school. CKNN is now working to get the Nonprofit SHSM offered in all local secondary schools. Chatham-Kent Nonprofit Network is also part of many community initiatives including; Prosperity Roundtable, Chatham-Kent Local Immigration Partnership Council, Chatham-Kent Police Community Safety and Well-Being Plan and United Way of Chatham-Kent Agency Relations. CKNN is appreciative of ONN and its guidance and support during our journey.
Our relationship with ONN will be one of our highlights during CKNN’s First Annual Spring Conference. This daylong event held on April 24, 2015 will bring together nonprofits and charities from all parts of Chatham-Kent and Southwestern Ontario. The lineup of inspiring speakers includes representatives from Imagine Canada, Pillar Nonprofit Network, Ontario Trillium Foundation, Chatham- Kent Community Mobilization, and Cathy Taylor, Executive Director of Ontario Nonprofit Network. Our keynote speaker for the day is Vu Le, Executive Director at Rainier Valley Corps in Seattle, Washington. Vu is also the author of the blog nonprofitwithballs.com, a humourous and informative blog about the challenges facing the nonprofit sector. Vu will speak about working together as a community to build a stronger nonprofit sector.
CKNN is excited to provide platforms for the invaluable perspectives of nonprofit leaders both within and outside of the region as we strategize how we can bring together the nonprofit sector and strengthen its ability to serve communities.
About the author
Kim Broadbent is CKNN’s Project Coordinator and one of the organizers for a local nonprofit calledWalkCK. Kim attended Wilfrid Laurier University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and a minor in Religion and Culture. Kim then moved to Thunder Bay where she received her Bachelor of Education in History at Lakehead University. After she and her husband Mark completed their schooling in Thunder Bay, they made the decision to “come baCK” to Chatham-Kent where they now reside and are raising their two sons Alex and Zac.
CKNN’s First Annual Spring Conference registration includes all speaking sessions, continental breakfast and lunch and admission to the pre-conference event Timeraiser“i” which will take place in the evening on Thursday, April 23.