Nonprofits to gather and share ideas, resources

Published 8:08 pm Friday, September 22, 2017

Nonprofits have the chance to connect with others to better serve the community this year.

The Washington-Beaufort Chamber of Commerce, Bright Futures Beaufort County, and Beaufort-Hyde Community Foundation have started a project for nonprofits to meet quarterly throughout the year in an effort to serve the community together.

“It’s a strength-building, sharing network,” said Liz Liles, director of the Blind Center of North Carolina.

The idea behind the meetings is that nonprofits will have the chance to get to know each other, share resources and learn how to impact Beaufort County as a cohesive group.

Robin McKeithan, business manager at the Chamber of Commerce, said the idea sparked at a Bright Futures Beaufort County board meeting when members realized a need for collaboration within the county.

“We would brainstorm, ‘Oh, well this church has this … the Salvation Army has that.

If there’s a house fire you know you can get resources from the Red Cross.’” McKeithan said. “We just saw value in trying to get all the nonprofits together.”

McKeithan said the meetings are not intended to pit nonprofits against each other; rather, the opposite. It’s a place for nonprofits to find partnership.

She said there is a great example in Eagle’s Wings and Arts of the Pamlico, when the two teamed up for a summer feeding program earlier this year. The collaboration showed each organization offering resources and their area of expertise to help impact Beaufort County.

“We’re not in competition. We’re all here in Beaufort County to make our community a better place to live. The more we can work together, the more we can do that,” McKeithan said.

Liles said one of her favorite parts about the new endeavor is getting to know the other organizations around the county. She said there are so many different resources in Beaufort County, it’s easy to accidentally overlook ideas and services that are available in the community.

“Sometimes when you are a nonprofit, it’s easy to be consumed in your organization. You’re not aware of the other opportunities and services available. … You only see what’s right in front of you,” Liles said.

Liles emphasized the idea that nonprofits in the community should not be in competition with each other, but work together as a unified force.

“At the end of the day, it’s not about each individual organization, it’s how can we best serve the county together,” Liles said.