2020 Year in Review

Reimagining the U.P. Nonprofit Conference

The annual U.P. Nonprofit Conference has provided an exciting opportunity for nonprofit leaders, board members, staff and volunteers from throughout the U.P. to come together to learn, discuss and share common concerns and ideas that influence our communities. Sadly, in 2020, the traditional event had to be cancelled. We took the time to survey previous attendees and members, and are excited to launch a new opportunity for nonprofits to connect and learn. 

You may have noticed we called this program the U.P. Nonprofit Conference — Recalibrated. It isn’t just a virtual conference. It’s a half year commitment to Upper Peninsula nonprofits to help them navigate the 2021 landscape. The series has three deliverables: 

  • Learning opportunities
  • Networking opportunities 
  • Sharing inspirations

This series kicked off in December 2020 with a keynote presentation from best-selling personal development author Allison Liddle, sponsored by Range Bank and UPHP. Starting in January 2021, we are launching six months of capacity building programs that will include webinars, mastermind groups and other virtual opportunities for organizations to learn. Each month will cover a different topic area.  With help from our sponsors, we’ll be able to provide these sessions free of charge. 

Visit the U.P. Nonprofit Conference — Recalibrated page for more information on upcoming sessions.

Sharing the Collective Experience of Operating in a Pandemic

On March 19, Grow & Lead hosted the first COVID-19 Member Mastermind, where nonprofit employees could share victories and challenges, along with resources, with others in the nonprofit community. These occurred weekly from March – September.  With the start of the new school year, the schedule transitioned to bi-weekly.

“Member Mastermind helped me stay relevant on important operational topics related to maintaining and building a strong nonprofit during this unprecedented time. However, these sessions gave me an outlet to manage stress related to my role as executive director, while being encouraged and supported by like-minded professionals.”  

-Iola Brubaker, Director, Copper Country Great Start 

U.P. Service Awards Presented 

Grow & Lead took the show on the road this year, COVID-cautiously of course, for the annual U.P. Service Awards. In more typical years, Grow & Lead honors the outstanding volunteerism award recipients with a luncheon and awards program during the U.P. Nonprofit Conference. This year, we honored recipients with individually-customized award presentations, some via Zoom and others in-person—outdoors, with masks and social-distanced.  View the Service Award Recap to read about the recipient of the youth, adult, senior, program and business community leader awards. 

Honoring Outstanding Students Without Gathering 

In April, Grow & Lead would have hosted the 27th annual Excellence in Education Week awards program.  Instead, a full-color, magazine style booklet recognized 48 area high school seniors for their academic achievement. Each student’s write up included their future plans and the educator that made the biggest impact on their schooling. In addition, the booklet highlighted 25 Marquette and Alger county educators that received professional development awards to further academic training or enhance classroom activities. A digital version of the booklet is available for download on the Grow & Lead website’s Excellence in Education page. 

Everyone Counts. Everyone Wins.

Grow & Lead collaborated with Community Foundation of Marquette County, Community Foundation of the Upper Peninsula and Michigan Nonprofit Association to mobilize nonprofits and partner with state and local government to encourage participation in the census. By providing resources to nonprofits to educate and encourage census participation, we’ve introduced advocacy, highlighted the sector’s trusted voice and provided training to expand the abilities of organizations that serve our communities. Grow & Lead provided grant funding and sponsorships to 20 organizations from across the region. 

Support Our Work

What will the history books say about 2020? Here in the Upper Peninsula, hopefully they will tell stories of the nonprofit community overcoming challenges, helping neighbors and emerging stronger than imaginable. 

Grow & Lead is helping nonprofits find new and creative ways to tap into their resilience and to adapt to the ever-changing circumstances. We ask you to join us. Your gift will help us continue to grow and lead through these turbulent times and into a brighter future. 

Leave a reply