An aid for nonprofits
Jan 22, 2013 | 459 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
At a time when nonprofit organizations face unparalleled challenges in securing operational funding, more and more are discovering the wisdom in working together and not apart.

This is not the first time we have broached the subject. The most recent came in December when a handful of nonprofit groups — among them The Salvation Army Cleveland Corps., The Refuge, Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland and United Way of Bradley County — pinpointed Christmastime projects as evidence of a growing cooperative spirit by organizations whose primary shared cause is people and the community in which they live.

Another example came in late 2012 when United Way unveiled a timely nonprofit tool thanks to a partnership with CapitalMark Bank & Trust. It is called the Nonprofit Resource Library and it consists of a small computer center at the United Way office. Here, organizations are invited to research nonprofit grants that could be available to local operations and their diverse programming.

The library was introduced during an open house for nonprofit organizations hosted at United Way’s downtown office. The event not only provided an invaluable opportunity for networking, it served as a quick training ground for groups wishing to become more familiar with the library’s potential.

Since the unveiling, more and more nonprofit groups are making full use of the database. Training sessions are available through United Way in cooperation with the Community Action Network.

Matt Ryerson, United Way president and CEO, said it best when he defined the Nonprofit Resource Library’s purpose and how it can bring together community activists.

“It is another way we want to partner with others to provide the best service to those in need,” Ryerson said.

Worded another way, it is United Way’s outreach to fellow nonprofit entities whose work is unique, yet sometimes straddles common ground with other operations.

It is fitting that Ryerson pointed to the significance of CapitalMark and the bank’s decision to provide financial backing for the library. The institution’s Cleveland president, Keith Barrett, who has supported United Way for years, said the nonprofit library is the business’ way of helping organizations whose programming is family-friendly and community-oriented.

Nonprofit entities whose purpose is clear, but whose funding sources are not, are acquainted with the trials of fundraising. It can be a daunting task, one that consumes time and energy at the expense of an organization’s vision and mission.

This is the importance of the Nonprofit Resource Library, a central location where any eligible group can research available grants without stumbling over one another in campaigns targeting the same collection of potential donors.

Just a few attending United Way’s initial training were the Coordinated School Health Department of Bradley County Schools, Bradley Initiative for Church and Community, Behavioral Research Institute, Chamber of Commerce, Family Resource Agency, People for Care and Learning, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland. Others will follow at the next training session Feb. 5.

The average Cleveland and Bradley County resident probably will never have a personal or direct use for the new Resource Library. But all area nonprofits stand to benefit thanks to the vision of United Way, CapitalMark and CAN.

Additional information may be obtained by contacting Emily McComb at 479-2020.

A resource this valuable is a resource best used by those who understand the fabric of a community and the needs of its people.