Residents peek at photos and take information about local nonprofits during the first Not-For-Profit Expo held at the Magnolia Community Center.
Residents peek at photos and take information about local nonprofits during the first Not-For-Profit Expo held at the Magnolia Community Center.

The Magnolia Chamber of Commerce wants to be known for more than just helping businesses make profits and attract customers. It wants to be a holistic part of its community.

That’s why chamber members worked the past three months to put together the first Not-For-Profit Expo at the Magnolia Community Center on Tuesday, April 16.

Twenty-four nonprofits were presented at booths during the expo in an effort to spread information, hand out resources and sign up volunteers from the Magnolia community. During the expo residents voted for their favorite nonprofits, and the nonprofit with the most votes was awarded a free printer from Staples.

All the nonprofits that were a part of the event had corporate sponsors to cover event fees and were made chamber members. The major sponsor of the event was People’s Bank, which covered dinner for event attendees.

“We have been talking about for a while that we want to be known for more than corporate well being,” said Magnolia Chamber of Commerce Director Jason Thibeaux. “Nonprofits has been a member level with us for about two to three years now, and we wanted to know how do we do more to support them and help them fulfill their mission? For us a successful community is when you have businesses, nonprofits and members of the community working together for the greater good.”

The nonprofits at the event included some national organizations, such as Girl Scouts of America and the Red Cross, and hyperlocal nonprofits, including the Magnolia Rotary Club and the Magnolia Food Bank.

Everett residents Bonnie and Robert Bickley represented the Washington State Animal Response Team, which is a technical rescue group of volunteers that help cities, state and national organizations, such as the ASPCA, provide animal care and rescue during emergencies. The couple spent the evening signing up volunteers and educating residents about what to do for their pets during an emergency. They also handed out lists for animal first aid kits and resources.

“We are always looking for new members and donations,” Bonnie Bickley said. “We want more awareness in the community. So this is such a good idea, because we learned about nonprofits we weren’t aware of, so we can coordinate with them.”
“This is just a matter of networking,” Robert Bickley said. “We do a lot of events throughout the summer, so we can now communicate that there is a group out there that can help you and your pet in a time of need.”

Other emergency groups included the Magnolia-Interbay-Queen Anne Disaster Response Plan (MIQA). MIQA is a disaster preparedness group that works to train residents on what to do when a natural disaster, such as an earthquake, happens. Volunteers handed out emergency information pamphlets and showed residents where MIQA hubs will be located in case of an emergency.

Members of the Magnolia Rotary said even though the attendance was smaller than they hoped, they think the event was still a great idea and hope the chamber will continue to grow the outreach.

“I think this has really been a great event,” said Magnolia Rotary Club president Annette Grimm. “I think it definitely can build. The one thing I think is really great is it connects us nonprofits to each other. A lot of these people we already work with, like the Helpline and Daybreak Star, but it’s nice to get others out here.”

Thibeaux said he expects the Not-For-Profit Expo to become an annual event held by the chamber.