Cynthia Lockrey, Caroll Taiji, Amy Melmock, Cathy Robertson and Alec Wheeler are the driving forces behind For the Love of Nonprofits, a one-day symposium taking place in April. (Warren Goulding/Citizen)

Cynthia Lockrey, Caroll Taiji, Amy Melmock, Cathy Robertson and Alec Wheeler are the driving forces behind For the Love of Nonprofits, a one-day symposium taking place in April. (Warren Goulding/Citizen)

New symposium in Cowichan will focus on non-profit sector

For the Love of Nonprofits is the only event of its kind on Vancouver Island

In the normal course of business, the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce is a strong advocate for enterprises seeking to generate revenue and profits.

Now, looking at the bigger picture, the Chamber is launching an annual professional development and networking symposium for the non-profit sector.

“In the face of an ever-changing funding and economic climate, organizations in the non-profit sector need to continue to adapt and diversify,” says Chamber President and MNP LLP Partner Chris Duncan.

For the Love of Nonprofits, the only event of its kind on Vancouver Island, will provide a platform for nonprofits, registered charities, social enterprises and community service organizations to connect, collaborate, share resources and develop operational practices.

For the Love of Nonprofits will be held at the Best Western CVI on Wednesday, April 10 and registration for this one-day event has opened.

“This symposium will provide organizations — not only from Cowichan, but throughout Vancouver Island — with an opportunity to come together, share information and hear from some of the experts and professionals who are at the forefront of change.”

The Chamber says the idea for the symposium first came about during a conversation amongst a handful of Cowichan professionals who were looking for a more effective way to respond to increasing in-kind support requests from local non-profits.

“As we discussed the various non-profits we were all involved with, and our shared feelings of guilt about not being able say yes to all of them, we started brainstorming ways we could create greater impact,” explained Cynthia Lockrey, owner of Lockrey Communications and one of several key players behind the initiative.

This past October, after attending the Chamber’s Small Business BIG DAY symposium, Lockrey became a Chamber member. It was during a meeting with Chamber Events and Membership Manager Alec Wheeler, that the concept of the non-profit symposium really took flight.

“When Cynthia first mentioned the idea of a symposium, specifically for the non-profit sector, I knew it was an initiative the Chamber needed to champion,” said Wheeler.

“The Chamber has a great number of member organizations that fall within the general non-profit category. While we deliver a robust program of over 50 professional development and networking events annually, the majority cater to small business.

“This non-profit symposium will tackle some of the unique challenges and needs of the organizations that do so much to support, nurture and advocate for our communities. This initiative really is For the Love of Nonprofits,” Wheeler says.

The event has been given a nod of approval by Community Futures Cowichan and Economic Development Cowichan, both of which are contributing time and resources to the day’s programming. The Chamber is actively seeking sponsorship support from the wider business community to help launch the symposium in its inaugural year.

Funding received will help offset event costs to ensure the program remains financially accessible for the nonprofit sector.

Advance booking is required. For more information visit or call 250-748-1111.

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