By DANIEL SUDDEATH
NEW ALBANY —
The format of one of New Albany’s most consistent business networking gatherings is changing in an effort to incorporate nonprofits into the social meetings.
Beginning with its March event, Develop New Albany’s First Tuesday meetings will pair businesses with nonprofits as a way to showcase commerce and culture.
“The purpose of the events will be, outside of social networking and business networking, to raise awareness,” said Courtney Lewis, who is heading the Develop New Albany First Tuesday committee.
It’s the third year for the First Tuesday program, as current and prospective Develop New Albany members typically meet at a new business to enjoy drinks and appetizers.
But beginning with the March event, which will be Tuesday at Louis Le Francais restaurant at 133 E. Market St., nonprofit representatives will have the opportunity to address the group about their organizations.
“We want to introduce businesses and nonprofits to people that will be their customers and patronize the nonprofits as well,” said Lewis, who is a volunteer like the rest of the Develop New Albany board and First Tuesday committee.
Nonprofits scheduled to present at upcoming First Tuesday events are the New Albany Vintage Fire Museum, Scribner House, Division Street School, the Carnegie Center for Art and History and the Padgett Museum.
First Tuesday events are free, though the goal is to drive up membership for Develop New Albany, Lewis said. She described the meetings as casual and inclusive.
“There’ll be somebody at the door to welcome everybody,” she said. “It’s a relaxed atmosphere separate from other networking gatherings.”
Like the venue, Lewis said the crowd changes each month as well and there’s always somebody new at the events.
“It’s a very encouraging atmosphere,” she said.
In addition to the featured nonprofit presentation, First Tuesday events will now feature a grand prize. Those who attend can enter their name into a raffle each month, with the grand prize drawing to be held at the end of the year.
Lewis said the prize will include at least $1,000 in coupons and merchandise from downtown businesses.
There are also new stops on the list this year, as soon-to-open Feast BBQ will host a First Tuesday event in August. The May event will be a different version of First Tuesday, as instead of going to just one establishment, the program will be an open house as participants will tour multiple downtown businesses.
Tuesday’s event runs from 5 to 7 p.m. For more information on First Tuesday meetings, call Lewis at 502-807-1739.