Helping us all Reach our Dreams — A Community Making a Difference.

The number of community nonprofit organizations in this region is overwhelming, and there is no doubt we live in a region filled with compassionate people — people who are dedicated to making a difference in the lives of others.  But in tough economic times, needs tend to increase, while sources of funding become harder to find.   The team attended the Center for Nonprofit Excellence (CPNE) 11th Annual Nonprofit / Civic Sector Leadership Conference this week, where more than 500 hundred caring members of the nonprofit community gathered to not only celebrate their work, but to also discuss how this remarkable nonprofit community can continue to thrive, and rise to the challenge of helping others thrive during a time when financial resources are scarce.
CPNE was established in 1999, when it became evident that the many area nonprofits needed a central point to coordinate and access the information, best practices, professional development opportunities, and hands-on consultation services that would help this critical sector become strong enough to meet growing regional needs.

This year’s conference opened with remarks from Dr. Paul Light, PhD, New York University’s Wagner’s Paulette Goddard Professor of Public Service.  Light praised our region as one that stands out by setting “audacious goals” when others are pulling back.  He said that there was only one way to achieve success – Collaboration.  “If you are not working together you’re not going to make it,” said Light.  He challenged every attendee to clearly define what inspires each of them — Why they get up in the morning, why they go to work, why they do what they do and how they’re going to do it even better.    He also indicated a need to dispel the myth that people who make social change operate in only one specific sector.  Real social change knows no boundaries, has no silos, and requires that everyone; business, government, nonprofit, education, and more, become thinkers and doers for the betterment of the whole.

Light’s remarks helped kick start a day where attendees worked to break down those boundaries by sharing ideas around educational attainment as well as health and well-being, two areas where nearly all non-profits seem to intersect.  This is when we wish we could clone the KIX team and actively attend every breakout session.  The exchange of ideas was fast, frenetic and fantastic. What drives social change?  How do we achieve 55,000 more college degrees in our region?  How do we advance the idea of health and happiness for all?  And how do we make individual well-being a reality for everyone in the entire region?

Making connections and sharing ideas like these is why events like the CPNE annual conference is so crucial to our region. in partnership with the Regional Leadership Coalition is ready to help CPNE and our great nonprofit community answer these critical questions and achieve these “audacious goals”.  For starters we want to shine a spotlight on the incredible organizations and caring people who are out there making a difference.  We can help by creating awareness and building regional connections. 

So please, let us know about a great non-profit organization in your community and the social change its making.  Tell us the story of a selfless individual who is working hard to help others. Put a spotlight on an important need that you see as needing addressed.

Check back next week for the first in a series on “Building Well-Being.”