Queen Creek nonprofit groups are putting together a one-stop shop for people seeking charities. About 40 area nonprofits are expressing interest in being part of the Queen Creek Nonprofit Coalition, which would give more nonprofits a location in the town and make it easier for residents to find the right charity to approach with donations or needs, according to organizers.
Volunteers have been working on how to structure the group since June, shortly after the 2008 Town Council elections, said Craig Barnes, a councilman who spearheaded the effort. A five-member interim board is hammering out the details of how the coalition will run.
"I want Queen Creek to be known still as a community that helps their neighbors," Barnes said. "Unfortunately, we're becoming a society where we don't know who lives around us. We go into our garage, we push the button and we don't know what goes on outside."
Barnes pictures the coalition as a single location that will offer groups space for meetings, collections and events.
That will also be an advantage for residents who would be able to come to one place and receive information on multiple nonprofit groups, Barnes said.
Several nonprofit organizations do exist in and around Queen Creek - there are already 40 groups wanting to participate in the coalition once it gets off the ground - but there's little awareness about them, said Ron Nelson, interim chair for the coalition's board and pastor at Queen Creek's New Day Church.
Part of the problem is that a lot of groups don't have a physical location, so there's no visibility as people drive around town, Nelson said.
"Instead of you making a million phone calls not knowing what exists in the community, what the nonprofit coalition does is say 'You can get this, this and this and set you up with those services,'" Nelson said.
The idea would allow people who want to donate or volunteer for an organization go to one place and find out about multiple groups, he said.e_SClBThere are still some details to iron out before the group can get started.
The coalition plans to go to the Town Council April 15 with an in-depth presentation of its plans. Leaders are hoping the town will donate an unused building in exchange for help with staffing at festivals and applying for community grants that only nonprofits are eligible for, Barnes said. The coalition has its eyes on an old water company building or the annex that used to house the Queen Creek Chamber of Commerce just south of Founder's Park as a meeting space.
An exact opening date is still unknown while the coalition decides how to staff the shared building and what kind of dues will be necessary to pay electric and other bills.
"We want to do it right the first time," Nelson said. "We're moving aggressively, but we're also being smart about it."
Once those details are worked out, the group wants to be up and running as soon as possible.
"People need help right now," Barnes said. "Right now is the time that people are losing their jobs and don't know what to do."