By Linda Chion
Open to everybody and backed by both the Greater Riverview and Greater Plant City chambers of commerce, the Nonprofit Leadership Roundtable meets virtually on the fourth Tuesday of the month.
Pat Simmons, founder of the nonprofit Bikes For Christ, said he is in a good place to take the roundtable to its next level of engagement.
“The purpose is to educate our nonprofits and to help them continue to grow,” Simmons said. “Also, the networking allows us to know what’s going on with our nonprofit friends and how we can all work together to make a stronger community.”
The brainchild of Plant City Chamber President Christine Miller, the roundtable once met in chamber space, until office spaces were sold, and the chamber meets now in temporary space.
Meanwhile, at a Riverview Chamber gathering, Simmons talked about the roundtable, which is when Tanya Doran, the chamber’s chief executive officer, expressed an interest in working with the roundtable to extend its reach in the Greater Riverview area. Roughly 10 percent of the chamber’s 720 members are nonprofits, Doran said.
“Pat has been very engaged with us, educating the nonprofits in our area and making sure they are aware of resources available, and sharing resources in a challenging time,” Doran said. “He has personal experience building up his own nonprofit, and I love the way he shares information and grants opportunities.”
Virtual meetings allow the roundtable to extend its reach, Simmons said, as he “brings in a lot of good speakers to help educate people as to how to grow and make their nonprofits stronger.”
Bikes For Christ traces its roots to a 2015 mission trip where Simmons said he learned “what real poverty is like in a third-world country.” Coming home, “I didn’t know what I wanted to, but I wanted to do something to make a difference in my own community.”
Working with organizations that serve the poor and homeless, Simmons combined his love of cycling to mobility needs. Since 2016, Bikes For Christ has worked with more than 70 organizations across four counties to provide bicycles for transportation.
For more, visit www.bikes4christ.com.