Nonprofit Roundtable helps members address community needs together

By: Jackson Chamber on May 27, 2016


Christmas in the City, organized by members of the Nonprofit Roundtable, drew thousands of people, including the young child, above.

Ten years ago, two Jackson Chamber executives started a new type of business roundtable for members to network, share ideas and challenges and help one another succeed.

On June 1, the chamber’s Nonprofit Roundtable is celebrating its 10-year anniversary. 

“When we started, there were only a few that showed up to our monthly meetings,” said Joel Newman, director of the West Tennessee Business Resource Center and who started the Nonprofit Roundtable with retired chamber executive Judy Renshaw.

“I believe there was a ‘protect my little acre’ attitude at the beginning. That has changed drastically.”

Since then, the group has learned to collaborate and combine resources. Members organized and hosted Christmas in the City, a community event that also allowed them to fundraise. The family event, which will become a December tradition, featured Santa, reindeer and other holiday-themed booths.

At each roundtable meeting, the nonprofits discover new ways to work together to fill community needs. Featured speakers address various business subjects and issues of common interest. The group has also been educated on leadership, volunteers, board development and fundraising. The roundtable represents organizations with vastly different sizes, budgets and priorities.

“It’s an information pipeline that helps educate executive directors and build relationships with their boards,” said Richard Barber, Aspell Recovery. “It’s also a great place to help each other bridge gaps and address needs together.” 

“It is hard to comprehend we have been meeting monthly for ten years,” said Frank McMeen, president of West Tennessee Healthcare. “The roundtable has been an amazing resource for us. We are all better organizations because of our united efforts to learn how to serve more effectively.”

      The members of the Nonprofit Roundtable agree that they all have one thing in common: the desire to make Jackson a better place in which to live.

“What has impressed me most is the openness in our discussions and the collaboration among agencies,” said Newman. “If there’s a problem, there is always a helping hand. I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished and look forward to continuing the effort.”

  
From left, are Mike Roby of Eden Youth Town, Donna Agnew of Hands Up! Preschool and Kimberli Moore of the West Tennessee Hearing and Speech Center.

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