Challenging economic times are requiring new answers and new approaches in all segments of our world Up North and our region’s nonprofits are finding out they are not immune. For many, 2008 held its own and a few nonprofits even had bang-up years. But across the board in the world of nonprofits, people are wondering just what 2009 will bring as the country and our state work to right our economic ship.

The best way to combat worry and fear is with information, ideas and action. So, to that end, the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation, in partnership with the MyNorth Giving Guide is inviting nonprofit staff and board members from across the region to attend a free conference: “The Future of Nonprofits in Our Region,” at the Waterfront Conference Center, on Wednesday, February 25th from 1:30-3:30.

“The Future of Nonprofits in Our Region” will feature a panel discussion with topics ranging from the economy and the short term effects on public funding, private fundraising and increased needs; the role of endowments and grants in a down market; staffing issues for nonprofits, including qualified applicants, career ladders, and pay scale; and the growth in the number of nonprofit organizations.

Deborah Wyatt Fellows, founder and editor-in-chief of Traverse Northern Michigan’s Magazine and will moderate the discussion, encouraging audience participation in generating ideas and resolving challenges. Please share your questions and suggestions in advance of the conference.

Panelists include:

Keith Hopkins–Hopkins Fundraising ConsultingHopkins is an independent consultant to nonprofits. He has consulted with several nonprofits and worked on nearly a dozen capital campaigns in our region in recent years. He was the president of the Michigan Chapter of the Association for Fund Raising Professionals in 2008.

Shale Lapping–IPEX _ Investment Performance Evaluation XpertsLapping serves as President of IPEX, an investment consulting firm that specializes in nonprofit organizations and foundations. He advises the Regional Community Foundation on investment policy, manager oversight, and bid development. He has several clients in the Region.

Jeanne Snow–Grand Traverse Regional Community FoundationSnow is a CFRE and has served as the Community Foundation’s Executive Director for 11 years. The Community Foundation provides more than 600 grants every year and awarded more than $3.6 million in grants in 2008. The Foundation also supported more than a dozen campaigns in 2008 and houses an online nonprofit resources center.

Additionally, the Regional Community Foundation will provide information on available grant opportunities in 2009, including funds available to help nonprofits with staffing.

This event is free and open to the public. Reservations are requested. RSVP online or call the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation at 935-4066 or email