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Nancy Russell, left, a volunteer at Sweetwater Mission in Austell, assists clients as they choose items in the food pantry.

The Cobb Community Foundation has launched a directory of nonprofit organizations, their programs and volunteer opportunities aimed at creating a more involved network of partnerships in the county.

The Cobb Community Connection or The Connection, which is scheduled to launch at 11 a.m. today, is a “searchable, mappable online directory” that connects nonprofits with other organizations, volunteers and donors, according to Catherine Gankofskie, foundation spokesperson.

Prior to the development of The Connection, the only existing list of nonprofits was compiled by the Internal Revenue Service, said Shari Martin, the foundation’s executive director.

“One of my first questions when I joined CCF was ‘Where can I find a list of the nonprofits serving Cobb County?,” Martin said. “I quickly learned that a comprehensive listing did not exist.”

Martin declined to publicize the cost of development for the directory.

Gankofskie said The Connection is thanks to a partnership between the Cobb Community Foundation and Kennesaw State University’s Senior Honors Capstone Experience beginning in 2017. She said faculty adviser Jennifer Wade-Berg encouraged then-KSU senior Rachael Rucker to reach out to Martin to see how she could make a difference at the foundation.

Rucker, now a staff member at Cobb Community Foundation, said the idea was always to establish a database connecting nonprofits to volunteers, but later Martin and Rucker realized there was a need to connect nonprofits to nonprofits.

“Donors tell us they want to see nonprofits collaborating with one another, sharing resources, but many of them do not know who else is doing work in the same or similar space,” Martin said.

She said it was the tool’s ability to facilitate so many connections that inspired its name.

The Connection, which is free to its users, was launched to Cobb County nonprofits about six months ago to begin populating organizational information and specific needs, Rucker said.

More than 120 nonprofit organizations and 165 programs, all of which serve Cobb County, are listed on The Connection, all searchable by cause area, population served, and physical location.

There are also roughly 100 “giving opportunities,” Rucker said.

“The Connection includes opportunities for someone to give their time, their money, or goods and services,” she said.

Martin said the list of nonprofits is reviewed by Cobb Community Foundation staff to ensure any nonprofits listed are actively providing services.

To access The Connection, visit www.cobbcommunityconnection.org.

Follow Thomas Hartwell on Twitter at twitter.com/MDJThomas.

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