In 1992, nonprofits all over MetroWest were doing good work—but feeling isolated. There was neither a mechanism for sharing ideas nor a low-cost forum for professional development in our region. Meeting over coffee, four staff members of local nonprofits decided that a new network could fill the gaps in MetroWest by offering low-cost workshops where colleagues could meet, share ideas, develop professionally—and perhaps commiserate a little. The four colleagues formed the nucleus of a volunteer steering committee, known as the MetroWest Nonprofit Network (MWNN), and began offering 3-4 workshops annually.
MWNN is launched by four nonprofit community leaders. The goal is to create an organization that connects nonprofit staff to resources, training, and expertise and each other
Crossroads Foundation, now known as the Foundation for MetroWest, serves as MWNN’s fiscal sponsor.
A volunteer Steering Committee manages and creates programs. MWNN offers 3-4 fee-based annual workshops.
Launch of Lone Rangers
In 2003, MWNN began the monthly Lone Rangers Brown Bag series. In 2007—its 15th anniversary year—the MWNN steering committee agreed that it could best serve its mission by incorporating as an independent nonprofit organization and expanding its services to better utilize and showcase the expertise of those working in the nonprofit sector.
MWNN commits to becoming a nonprofit organization. Board votes to seek nonprofit status. Bylaws and articles of incorporation are written. MWNN celebrates its 15th year.
MetroWest Nonprofit Network is granted 501c3 non-profit status effective June 23, 2010.
First part-time MWNN coordinator hired in 2012, second hired in 2013.
The 20th Anniversary celebration is held at the Wayside Inn and hosted by Joyce Kulhawk.
MWNN pilots several programs – Board Training, Essential Strategic Planning, NO Connect, and other capacity-building programs with nonprofit partners.
First part-time Executive Director hired.
MWNN continues to offer fee-based workshop programs and networking events and is generously supported by local Foundations and individual donors.
MWNN launches Nonprofit Bootcamp held at Framingham State University – a full-day training for nonprofits that introduces them to experts in the fields of law, governance, fundraising, finances, and communications. 37 participants attend the first Bootcamp.
MWNN establishes a partnership with Framingham State University to support civic engagement activities.
MWNN moves into shared space with Taly Foundation.
The Service Enterprise program is launched in collaboration with Massachusetts Service Alliance. Cohort 1 includes six nonprofit organizations.
Bootcamp #2 is held – 42 attendees.
MWConnects.org is introduced.
MWNN designates a board seat for the first Framingham State University Newman Civic Fellow.
MWNN hosts a gathering of all former board members.
Bootcamp #3 is held – 46 attendees.
MWNN receives approval from the Framingham State University Graduate Review committee to launch a Nonprofit Management Certificate for Practitioners program through Continuing Education on March 27, 2020.
The pandemic stay-at-home order begins on March 23, 2020. Virtual free weekly Lunch and Learn programs are begun to support nonprofit leaders by providing access to local resources and expertise.
MWNN pivots to developing, managing, and facilitating the Pandemic Emergency Food Telephone line in collaboration with the City of Framingham, Voices of the Community, and a number of nonprofit organizations. 2000+ residents are served.
Executive Director moves to full-time.
A part-time assistant is hired to support the certificate launch.
The Nonprofit Certificate Program begins on September 14, 2021, and graduates 23 nonprofit leaders in December. 50% of the class receives scholarship support.
MWNN serves as the fiscal sponsor for the Voices of the Community Initiative.
MWNN serves as a founding member of the MW Food Collaborative.
Two new monthly affinity groups are launched, Volunteer Action Nonprofit Network (VANN) for volunteer managers and LGL
Groupies for nonprofits implementing Little Green Light as a CRM. Lone Rangers continues to meet monthly.
Lunch and Learn sessions are held bi-weekly.
Service Enterprise Cohort 4 begins. 15 programs have participated in the SEI program since 2019.
Recruitment begins for the Fall 2022 Nonprofit Management Certificate for Practitioners program.
MWNN begins a strategic planning process to plan for the future.
Today, as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, MWNN continues to offer the services and support that MetroWest nonprofits are seeking; opportunities for collaboration and connections to the expertise of their colleagues throughout the region. MWNN serves the nonprofit community through peer to peer gatherings such as weekly Lone Rangers and Lunch and Learn opportunities, creating partnerships and collaborations with nonprofit, education and municipal organizations, providing coaching and consulting support to emerging and established organizations and curating and sharing resources that are timely and relevant.
MWNN is grateful for the support of private and corporate funders, as well as individual donors, who share our goal of strengthening our communities by strengthening the organizations working to meet community needs.