TNP Event

A group of supporters gather at last year's Board Connection. From left, they are Michelle Byerly, Charlyn Bender, Helene Ansel, Sheryl Bender and Griselda Suarez.

One of the needs nonprofit groups, particularly smaller groups, have trouble filling is active, committed board members, according to Michelle Byerly, executive director of The Nonprofit Partnership.

One of the needs Leadership Long Beach graduates have shown is a way to connect to the community and make a difference.

The result is the Long Beach Board Connection, a guided networking event designed to bring the two groups together. The first event last year brought 140 people out, Byerly said.

"We had had a conversation with Leadership Long Beach (then-executive director Jeff Williams)," Byerly said. "We had nonprofits (Partnership members) looking for board members and they had graduates looking for places to funnel their energy."

There is more planning to it than just bringing a bunch of people together, TNP program director Christina Kreachbaum said. There will be some information about the nonprofits in the program, and the room — the Expo Art Center in Bixby Knolls this year — will have areas focused on specific interests.

"Long Beach is so vast that a lot of our smaller nonprofits don't have the reach they need," Kreachbaum said. "This allows them to expand, to increase awareness in addition to the board member search."

Last year, there was about one nonprofit represented for each potential board member. Byerly said that with two weeks to go, 80 people have already signed up.

There is no obligation on either side — board member candidates are not required to accept an invitation to be on a board, and nonprofit representatives are not required to offer someone a position. It is the connection that counts, Byerly said.

The mixer will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 24, at the Expo Arts Center, 4321 Atlantic Ave. Appetizers and drinks will be served.

Cost is $10 a person for board prospects, $20 for nonprofit representatives. To register, go to or cal 562-888-6530.

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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