The City of New Westminster is promoting connections within the local non-profit community.
Crowdsource: Promoting Collaboration in the New Westminster Non-Profit Community is a two-hour online session taking place on Zoom on Tuesday, Sept. 15 from 5 to 7 p.m. It will include an information session on the city’s grant program; a moderated panel featuring local non-profit representatives; breakout sessions with panel members on specific topics; and an opportunity for networking with other non-profits.
“Our non-profit sector in New Westminster is an important part of both our local economy and our social and cultural composition,” said acting Mayor Chinu Das in a press release. “I am looking forward to attending the session and feel it will be an important event to support the local non-profit sector in connecting and sharing with one another.”
Panelists include: Alison Silgardo, CEO of Seniors Services Society of B.C.; Dana Osiowy, executive director of New Westminster Family Place; Ruby Campbell, vice-president of the Arts Council of New Westminster; and others, who are yet to be confirmed. They will speak to the most-requested topics raised in a recent survey by the city – fundraising, volunteer recruitment and community engagement/marketing.
“The pandemic has shown us that New Westminster is a strong and resilient community and is served by numerous valuable non-profits that support the wellbeing of our residents. Those non-profits can benefit from connecting with others serving the community,” said the city’s press release. “The idea for this event came from the city’s COVID-19 business and local economy task force, as well as input from the community.”
Registration for Crowdsource is open to all New Westminster non-profit representatives at newwestnonprofits.eventbrite.ca.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of New Westminster created a number of task forces, including one focusing on business and local economy. A subgroup was formed to consider issues specifically related to nonprofits.
“The city’s survey provided insights into the status of New Westminster non-profits and their experience through the pandemic,” said a July 13 report to council. “Overall, respondents indicated they felt they were able to survive for a limited amount of time with the restrictions placed on them and the resulting reduction in funding, but were concerned with how to navigate 2021 and beyond.”
When asked to rank ways the City of New Westminster could support non-profits, the top suggestions included providing grant funding and free access to city venues, sharing information, providing advocacy to higher levels of government, offering technology or administrative support, assisting with capacity-building through web-based education, sharing resources and holding a non-profit summit . Although a non-profit virtual meeting didn’t rank at the top of this list, the report stated that staff believes this is a “natural jumping-off point” for work to begin to support the recovery efforts of the non-profit sector.
“Non-profit and arts and culture organizations are an integral component of New Westminster’s local economy, providing employment, wellness, entertainment, recreation, sustainability and other services to the community,” wrote Jen Arbo, the city’s economic development coordinator, in a report to council. “COVID-19 has had negative and lasting impacts on this sector, compounded by the fact that this sector is often under-funded and volunteer-driven. The city can continue to provide support for the long-term sustainability of non-profits in the community.”
At its July 13 meeting, city council received a report about the nonprofit pandemic recovery response, which detailed some of the ways the city could support the nonprofit sector. At that time, council directed staff to conduct further analysis for long-term strategies to support the nonprofit sector’s sustainability.