Non-Profit Network

FIRED UP: The Non-Profit Network was instrumental in lobbying the Chico Chamber of Commerce to spotlight nonprofit agencies and their economic importance at tomorrow’s Industrial Barbecue.

FIRED UP: The Non-Profit Network was instrumental in lobbying the Chico Chamber of Commerce to spotlight nonprofit agencies and their economic importance at tomorrow’s Industrial Barbecue.

Non-Profit Network, Chico Chamber of Commerce, 300 Salem St., Chico, CA 95928, (530) 891-5556

Most industries generating a gross income of $220 million and employing more than 3300 people would be regarded as “a force to be reckoned with.” But rather than being lauded for their accomplishments, the directors of local nonprofit organizations say they often have to fight the perception that all they do is take money from the community.

The reality is often different than that perception. Many local nonprofit organizations bring dollars into the economy from outside Butte County through the grants they win and contracts they secure.

Those Chico-area nonprofit agencies that bring in a significant amount of their funding—30 percent or more—from outside Butte County will be honored at tomorrow’s (June 15) Industrial Barbecue, presented by the Chico Chamber of Commerce.

Such recognition had been sought for the last few years by the Non-Profit Network, a chamber committee comprised of representatives of different nonprofit agencies.

The network itself was formed about 15 years ago, related JoAna Brooks, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Butte County and co-chair of the Non-Profit Network.

“It started with a group of nonprofits wanting to have a forum to get together and network,” she said. “There are a lot of different meetings in the community that nonprofits are a part of, but they’re very specific to an issue. So this was a general committee that could get together and share what’s going on.”

The network meets the first Wednesday of each month at the Chico chamber office. The meetings allow time for introductions and announcements from the members, and often include outside speakers who make special presentations.

Members of the Non-Profit Network were excited when the chamber selected nonprofit organizations as the industry to honor at its annual barbecue.

“One of our goals in the past was to approach the chamber about spotlighting nonprofits. We felt—and they did, too—that the Industrial Barbecue was a great forum,” Brooks explained.

Tomorrow’s annual barbecue is the chamber’s 39th. It will be held at Pacific Flight Services, 109 Convair Ave., at the Chico airport. The event begins at 5:30 p.m. with a social and exhibits by the honorees. Dinner, at 7 p.m., is prepared by the Butte County Farm Bureau, with bread donated by Great Harvest. A raffle drawing will be held at 8:30 p.m., following by dancing and music by the Frankie Moreno Band at 9 p.m.

Tickets for the event are $30. Barbecue participants will also have the opportunity to take scenic flights over Chico for $10 per person. Gold Country Casino will provide casino-type gaming entertainment.

Twenty nonprofit agencies will have exhibits at the event explaining the role they play in the community. The Non-Profit Network itself will also have an informational booth to showcase all its members, including those that didn’t meet the funding criteria for special recognition.

The event’s honorees are: American Heart Association; American Lung Association; The ARC of Butte County, Inc.; Big Brothers Big Sisters; Catalyst; Chico Community Children’s Center; Chico Community Shelter Partnership; Community Action Agency; Community Living Centers; Enloe Medical Center; Girl Scouts of Sierra-Cascade; North Valley Community Foundation; Northern Valley Catholic Social Service; Parent Education Network; Peg Taylor Center for Adult Day Health Care; The Right Now Foundation; United Way of Butte and Glenn Counties; Valley Oak Children’s Services; Work Training Center; and Youth for Change.

Brooks added that, while it’s nice to recognize the economic impact of nonprofit organizations in the community, members of the Non-Profit Network aren’t in it for the money.

“I think that those of us who work in nonprofits really enjoy what we do. We really feel like we make an impact in the community and a difference in people’s lives."