Engage Owensboro, an initiative launched in partnership between the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce and the Marilyn and William Young Foundation, is an interactive website that will connect community members who are interested in volunteer service with both nonprofits and municipalities.
Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Candance Brake said that Engage Owensboro will be rolled out at Thursday’s Chamber Rooster Booster breakfast.
The Marilyn and William Young Foundation was very engaged in funding this interactive database, according to Brake, and was very responsive to seeing this as a need for developing leaders in the community.
“The Young Foundation Board immediately knew they wanted to endorse and support this initiative of the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce,” said Sara Hemingway, executive director at the Young Foundation. “Leadership succession planning is one of our core strategies and Engage Owensboro will be an effective tool to connect and elevate a new generation of skilled and capable leaders.”
Brake said that the chamber often hears “I have so much to give, but I don’t know how to connect.” Engage Owensboro will answer this need by providing pathways for individuals to connect with service to local organizations.
This initiative aligns with the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce’s third strategic goal to develop and connect leaders for the future of Greater Owensboro.
To get started, individuals will click on interests within the website and then organizations that align with those specifications can connect through various ways of service — a board appointment, committee work or simply volunteering.
Another key component of Engage Owensboro is specific board training opportunities that will be available to individuals within the community.
“We anticipate that this database and the board training component will be a resource which will benefit the nonprofits in our community by developing and strengthening their board composition,” Hemingway said.
Brake believes that this database is also a way to get more diversity on local boards, because there is an optional area for individuals to click race and gender. Community members who register and then move from Owensboro can go dormant, but can become active again once should they return to the area.
The Chamber will staff and maintain the database.
“The Chamber believes that civic engagement creates a healthy, vibrant community,” Brake said, adding that this is just a small piece, but something the Chamber believes will benefit the whole community. “Service [in the community] helps individuals make friends and build business capacity.”