Non-profit leaders meet for info sharing, goal-setting session

In the first of ongoing, planned quarterly meetings, leaders of Nashville’s non-profit groups met at OutCentral on Feb. 18 to share information and discuss ways of helping each other, and the community, grow.

“We can’t all be at all the events in town, but we can meet and discuss what we’re doing, support one another,” said Jim Hawk, OutCentral board member. “Meeting like this is important.”

Those present at the meeting included representatives from Nashville Pride, Covenant of the Cross Church, Tennessee Vals, Lesbian Social Club, Metro Nashville Softball Association, Impact Equality, Smoky Mountain Rodeo Association, Vanderbilt HIV Clinic, Nashville CARES, Greater Nashville Prime Timers, The Brooks Fund, Oasis Center, Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, Nashville Grizzlies, Metro Human Relations Commission and Nashville In Harmony.

A major topic of discussion was OutCentral’s planned business and community directories, which are nearing completion, according to Hawk. OutCentral sent a survey to organizations in recent months and has gathered 55 responses to date, with more to be input as they come in.

The center received $4,000 in grant funds for this purpose from The H. Franklin Brooks Philanthropic Fund in 2008, and is now finalizing plans for a referral service to GLBT businesses and organizations, as well as an online and printable directory of the same. It also is working on a for-profit companion volume, and is currently collating that information, Hawk said.

Some attendees questioned whether this effort was duplicating online directories already in existence through the Nashville GLBT Chamber of Commerce (Ed. Note: Out & About Newspaper also has an online community directory and business listing), but Hawk said that the new service would be complementary to, rather than competing with, what’s already out there.

“These will be working with our referral service, and will be more of a pass-through to your own site, if you want a link, and will also talk about your organizations in your own words,” he said. “It’s really about just helping to expand awareness and opportunities for groups in our community.”

The group also discussed its purpose going forward, touching on topics that included the need to share information, pitch in and help with major events such as Nashville Pride and be active as a unit on major community initiatives.

“We really have two missions here,” said Jim Schmidt, co-chair of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund’s Campaign Board. “We want to share information and be a sounding board for each other, but also reflect what OutCentral is, and that is a center that focuses on what is needed within and for the community.”

The group will next meet on May 20 at 7 p.m. at OutCentral, and will focus much of its efforts at that time on the upcoming Nashville Pride slate of events, and how various groups can tie into those for maximum exposure.

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