Supporting the nonprofits that make our community great.
The Lakeshore Nonprofit Alliance seeks to strengthen the ability of nonprofit organizations to successfully accomplish their missions by working together.
Why we exist.
West Michigan is a beautiful place to live, work, and play. And one of our core beliefs as LNA is that our nonprofits are a cornerstone of what makes our community great. Nonprofits often need resources and support to help them be successful, and that’s why we’re here.
How we help.
Nonprofits need resources to help accomplish the mission as well as funds for operating costs and development, such as staff development, organizational infrastructure, technology, human resources, and marketing. The Lakeshore Nonprofit Alliance exists to provide support and resources in these areas.
Our vision for the future.
Our vision is to one day see a valued, effective, and sustainable nonprofit sector in West Michigan. If we are successful in achieving our mission, our community will experience a positive wave through the growth of numerous lakeshore nonprofit organizations.
More about LNA
Who we are.
Just like the nonprofits we serve, we’re a nonprofit with a unique mission and history, a great team, and core beliefs and values. We’d love to share more with you about these aspects of the Lakeshore Nonprofit Alliance.
What We Value
Our values guide everything we do.
We partner with existing businesses, organizations, and resources in our community to carry out our mission, and help nonprofits carry out theirs. We build connections, facilitate conversations, and celebrate our members. Our goal is to lead by example, and encourage collaboration among our members, supporters, and the larger community.
It’s important to provide high quality resources to our members, and we’re always looking for ways to improve. We send out surveys, communicate regularly as a staff and board, research leading industry best practices, and we’re not afraid to take a risk, make a mistake, or innovate.
Every relationship is built on trust, including our relationship with our members. We protect our members’ privacy, and we create a safe space for them to interact together and share with vulnerability. We are a reliable partner when neutral facilitation and/or convening is needed. We also act with integrity by doing what we say we are going to do and owning up to our failures when we make mistakes.
As a team, we desire to promote inclusion, diversity, and accessibility within our organization while supporting other nonprofits in doing the same. We will purposely engage others with diverse perspectives as well as encourage diversity of opinions during programs and when we hire staff or select board or committee members. We acknowledge and celebrate the strengths and differences in others.
Our members are the reason we exist. We continually seek member feedback, consult with members when making changes, and meet one-on-one with members to intentionally connect. We also stay in regular communication with members, promising to respond to questions within 48 hours.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion.
The commitment to operating diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) internally as well as helping to advance the adoption of DEI in the local nonprofit sector is missional for the Lakeshore Nonprofit Alliance (LNA). The reality is that many of the outcomes that nonprofits are trying to improve upon in our community are not experienced equally by residents. When specific sub-populations of individuals, whether based on race, ethnicity, ability, gender, gender identity, etc. experience disproportionately negative outcomes compared to the rest of the population, we have inequity. Whether these disproportionately negative outcomes are seen in education, housing, homelessness, mental health, employment, or physical health, it is critically important that we as nonprofits pay attention to why these inequities occur and seek to address them.
LNA’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
The Lakeshore Nonprofit Alliance has also been very public about the specific role that racism plays in preventing nonprofits from accomplishing their missions. In 2020, LNA put out a statement condemning racism and made several commitments to action (which have since been implemented).
A second important belief for the Lakeshore Nonprofit Alliance as an organization is that representation matters for nonprofits. When we as nonprofits are reflective of the communities we serve, we are better able to deliver on our missions. Various forms of diverse demographics and lived experiences represented on boards and staffs can help speak into how a nonprofit executes its mission — how it delivers programs and services, how it communicates — and serves as a powerful way to build trust with the people that are served.
And finally, we believe that operationalizing diversity, equity, and inclusion practices internally as organizations is also a powerful strategy for attracting and retaining the talent we need on staff at local nonprofits to be successful. Creating work environments that are inclusive and where people feel that they can truly belong can go a long way not only in attracting diverse talent but in keeping it. If nonprofits want to remain competitive, we must take it upon ourselves to invest in this important work.
Because of these beliefs, the Lakeshore Nonprofit Alliance has committed to making regular opportunities available, through a wide variety of programs, for members to grow in their knowledge and adoption of DEI practices internally at their organizations.
The history of LNA.
A dozen executive directors in Holland/Zeeland began to meet regularly to discuss the challenges of running nonprofit organizations and to seek support from one another.
The Lakeshore Nonprofit Alliance was officially formed, with a focus on serving a greater number of nonprofits as a membership organization. Led by the volunteer board of directors (all local executive directors), the organization grew in membership and created regular space for nonprofits to gather and learn together.
LNA led an initiative (along with other stakeholders from the philanthropic, business and government sectors) called Nonprofit Next to help craft a vision for the future of nonprofits in the Holland/Zeeland area. Nonprofit Next spanned six months with several large gatherings of 75 different nonprofits and 130 community stakeholders.
Out of the Nonprofit Next initiative came three priority focuses: furthering nonprofit collaboration, seeking opportunities to leverage resources between nonprofits, and looking for ways to provide high-quality, low-cost professional development for nonprofit boards and staff.
In 2013, the Lakeshore Nonprofit Alliance created a formal partnership with another community-based organization, the Ottawa County Human Services Coordinating Council, resulting in the creation of Community SPOKE. This new partnership created resources to hire a shared director and begin to implement the work of Nonprofit Next. Patrick Cisler became LNA’s and Community SPOKE’s first Executive Director.
LNA expands even more on our offerings, adding Lunch N’ Learn events, Learning Circles, the Leadership Transition Guide program, and the HR Resource Center. In 2015 we added a second staff person and moved our offices downtown to the Midtown Center on 15th Street.
In 2016, LNA hit a milestone of 100 members! To support our members, Robin Lane was hired as Director of Membership.
In 2018, LNA held our first annual Executive Director breakfast, providing a space for nonprofit leaders to connect, share, and support each other.
In 2019 we continued to add programming and other supports for our nonprofit members. We launched the Lead 24/7 program as well as the individual board consulting service. We also facilitated the first ever Nonprofit Community Assessment and led our first board workshop.
In 2020, we led two major community initiatives: a COVID-response effort and 2020 Census Outreach. We also launched DISC Consulting and began our work with racial equity in West Michigan.
Meagan Maas was hired as the Director of Program and Community Partnerships. LNA also launched the first DEI Leadership Cohort.
In 2022, LNA launched the second Nonprofit Community Assessment, the How to Manage Effectively Cohort, and the BIPOC Affinity Group.
Director of Membership
Robin joined the LNA team as Director of Membership in July of 2016. As the primary liaison for our members, Robin responds to membership needs/inquiries, coordinates member benefits, identifies and recruits prospective members, and oversees communications for the organization.
Before Joining LNA: Robin spent her career in the furniture industry in a diverse number of roles, including sales, marketing, and project management, ultimately becoming an owner/partner in a start-up furniture company.
In The Community: Robin serves as a Project Coordinator for Community SPOKE and volunteers with Kids Hope USA.
- Earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Design and Environmental Analysis, Interior Design from Cornell University
- Graduate of West Coast Leadership and Leadership Connect
- Earned the Innovation Methods Certification from the NewNorth Center for Design in Business
Director of Program and Community Partnerships
Meagan joined as the Director of Program and Community Partnerships in May of 2021. Meagan is responsible for setting the strategy, design, and implementation of benefits and services for LNA’s members. She also serves as a consistent public presence for LNA in the community, helping to develop new partnerships, donors, and members.
Before Joining LNA: Megan has a background in social work and spent 8 years working for Community Action House. This combination prepared her well to understand the challenges and potential for impact that nonprofits have in our community.
In The Community: Meagan serves as the Director of Community Partnerships for Community SPOKE and volunteers and supports several local nonprofits. She also serves on the board of her faith community.
- Meagan has a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Grand Valley State University
- Graduate of West Coast Leadership and Leadership Connect
Linda has accepted the position as Transition Director for both LNA and Community Spoke. As Transition Director, she will step in to work with our boards, staff, and community partners to provide oversight of strategic programs, finances, administration, and operations throughout the transition period, while we conduct the search for our next Executive Director.
LNA Board Members
Patrick Johnson, Chair
Jodi Cole Meyer, Vice-Chair
Love Your Neighbor
Drew Pierce, Treasurer
Ricki Levine, Secretary
Lighthouse Immigrant Advocates
Harbor Humane Society
United Way of Ottawa and Allegan County
Tri Cities Puentes, Ottawa County Friend of the Court
Latin Americans United for Progress (LAUP)
Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area
Tri Cities Family YMCA
Holly Cole, Past Chair
Grand Haven Area Community Foundation
Advocacy is the act of identifying, embracing, and promoting a particular cause. As the voice for Ottawa County’s nonprofit community, the Lakeshore Nonprofit Alliance is committed to advocating on behalf of issues that are important to LNA members. This is primarily done through the support of legislation that will positively influence nonprofits as well as through general community education of these issues.
LNA's Advocacy Process
As with all LNA decisions, this is done by first listening to the broader membership’s preference for a position on a particular issue (such as proposed legislation). This input is then brought before the Alliance’s Board of Directors for a formal vote as to the organization’s official position on the matter. Once a position is taken, the Alliance takes action in a variety of ways depending on the situation, including:
- Making public endorsements of LNA’s position
- Writing letters (or other forms of communication) to legislatures in support of/opposition to proposed policies
- Encourage voting on particular ballot measures
- Encouraging legislatures to introduce new bills
- Testify at committee hearings or public meetings
- Informing Legislators at Regular Venues (i.e. Chamber of Commerce’s Governmental Affairs Breakfast)
Another major component of LNA’s commitment to nonprofit advocacy is by supporting the efforts of the Michigan Nonprofit Association (MNA). Incorporated in 1990, MNA is a statewide membership organization dedicated to serving the diverse nonprofit sector through advocacy, training, and resources. LNA supports the work of MNA by being a member, promoting membership with MNA to other Ottawa County nonprofits, and as a collaborative partner with MNA on efforts that advance the nonprofit sector.
Take the next step
Become an LNA member or supporter.
However you want to be a part of our organization, you’re welcome at the Lakeshore Nonprofit Alliance. Whether you’re a nonprofit, a corporation, or an individual, you can become an LNA member to take advantage of our nonprofit resources. Or you can donate financially or become a sponsor.