Massachusetts Nonprofit Network Launched, Gets $100,000 Grant
Jan. 8, 2007 A three-year effort to establish an association of Massachusetts nonprofits reaches fruition this week with the launch of the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network, a statewide association that brings together nonprofits of all sizes, operating in every area of the state and in every subsector.
MassNonprofitNet aims strengthen the sector statewide through advocacy, public awareness, and capacity-building.
At the same time, MassNonprofitNet announced receipt of a $100,000 grant from The Boston Foundation, which will be used to hire an executive director and support research projects that will result in online databases of services, resources, training and education, and advocacy efforts throughout the state.
Focusing on issues and services of interest to Network members from all subsectors, MassNonprofitNets leaders seek to create a strong, unified voice to influence public policy and to raise the sectors visibility.
Members are invited to work with the board of directors to identify and develop needed services that arent currently available, especially in the areas of organizational effectiveness.
Massachusetts Is Now Forty-third State with a Nonprofit Organization
With the launch of MassNonprofitNet, Massachusetts becomes the forty-third state in the country to establish such a statewide association of nonprofits.
While there have been previous attempts to create such an organization in Massachusetts, the recent effort succeeded, because of its determination to be inclusive, according to Susan Nicholl, project manager of the Nonprofit Strategy Working Group, the interim organization that worked to establish MassNonprofitNet.
Two years were spent reaching out to and engaging organizations locally and at the state level to create a sense of ownership, and to define trends, issues, and opportunities that are consistent across Massachusetts, said Nicholl.
During 2004-05, hundreds of nonprofit representatives attended nine regional meetings throughout the state. Broad invitation lists were compiled with the assistance of community foundations and regional associations. In addition, a two-day Nonprofit Summit was held in December 2005, where 200 attendees discussed their visions for the states nonprofit sector and identified the tools and services needed to attain that vision. The three priorities identified during those meetings advocacy, public awareness, and capacity-building ultimately were embraced as the three priorities of MassNonprofitNet.
As a result of these outreach efforts, the leadership and founding membership of MassNonprofitNet includes the heads of such statewide subsector associations as Massachusetts Council of Human Service Providers, Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Coalition, and Massachusetts Advocates for the Arts, Sciences, and Humanities, as well as representatives from such regional networks as Nonprofit Alliance of Greater Lowell, Metrowest Nonprofit Network, and Human Service Forum, based in Springfield.
Third Sector New England has operated as NPSWGs fiscal sponsor and will continue to be the fiscal sponsor for MassNonprofitNet.
The effort was sustained by funding from the Boston Foundation and Greater Worcester Community Foundation, by in-kind donations from Massachusetts Service Alliance and other nonprofits, and by individual donations. A fundraising program is currently underway.
Later this month, governance transitions from the Coordinating Committee to the founding board of directors of MassNonprofitNet. Board members were identified by a call for nominations sent to more than 100 NPSWG participants. They represent the eight major subsectors (arts and culture, human services, health, housing/community development, human rights, environment, education, and philanthropy); an additional six board members represent the six regions of Massachusetts. Eight at-large seats are filled by representatives from regional associations, the funding community, the nonprofit consultant community, and other areas of specialty. Board leadership will be determined at a late-winter meeting.
Nonprofits Invited to Join
All 501(c)(3) and (c)(4) organizations, as well as organizations operating under the fiscal sponsorship of a 501(c)93) or (c)(4), are eligible to join as voting members. Other organizations and individuals may join as affiliate, non-voting members.
To ensure that association membership is affordable for all nonprofits, MassNonprofitNet has set its founding membership fees at $50 and $100 for 2007.
The Network will begin accepting members on January 10 and aims to attract 200 organizations initially.
Complete membership information is available at www.MassNonprofitNet.org
, or by calling the Network at 617-896-9311.