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Nonprofit forum latest to go virtual

The Carbon County Community Foundation is taking the route traveled by many event hosts in light of the global pandemic by moving its annual nonprofit forum online.

The gathering, originally scheduled for spring but moved to September because of the novel coronavirus, typically brings together dozens of nonprofit leaders in the area, who spend one day discussing county issues and ways to solve them.

But in light of the ongoing epidemic, the community foundation is looking to a virtual forum - one it’s asking community organizations to help plan.

Instead of a one-day event, this year’s forum will take shape as a series of virtual sessions. And the Carbon County Community Foundation is asking nonprofits to fill out a survey on its website to determine how those sessions should be shaped, when they should happen and what topics they should cover.

“Everyone’s kind of dealing with a different situation than they might have been last year,” said Sharon Alexander, who took over as executive director of the Community Foundation in April. “It’s new territory for everyone.”

Preliminary survey results, Alexander pointed out, show prospective forum participants are interested in fundraising discussions specifically, which isn’t surprising given how many have had to cancel events because of COVID-19.

The Palmerton Community Festival, a showcase for many nonprofits, is one example.

“With this new normal, it’s not possible, really, to have as many events as people relied on before,” Alexander said. “That’s something that we’re looking forward to diving into.”

Alexander said what’s key to the forum “is the collaboration, and really being in this all together and learning from each other and just coming together as a community to strengthen ourselves.”

Some goals set out at the 2019 forum included Carbon becoming a model for opioid recovery by 2025. Organizations also wanted to promote family-sustaining employment in the area, as well as public transportation.

This year, which will be Alexander’s first time taking part in the forum, she hopes to strike a conversation around fundraising to learn from Carbon organizations about what works best for them.

To take the Carbon County Community Foundation’s survey, go to its website and click “Nonprofit Forum” under the “Nonprofit Resources” tab.