NURTURING RESILIENCE THROUGH THE PANDEMIC
THIRD CONFERENCE OF ROMANIAN AMERICAN PROFESSIONALS
June 5th 2021
Community civic engagement and social entrepreneurship panel:
The seventh and final presentation of the panel and of the 2021 IRF annual conference showcased the ways in which diaspora community leaders came together during the pandemic. During the June 2020 IRF annual conference, a core group of leaders was convened in a panel discussion on “the sustainability and adaptability of the associative ecosystem and efforts in promoting civic community engagement and social entrepreneurship.” The resolution of that meeting was to establish a working group tasked to develop and establish an overarching representative organization that unites dispersed nonprofits in a single collaborative platform for mutual support. The effort to meet and get to know of each other’s efforts via monthly introductory calls was already in motion, yet the vision for a representative body still needed to be developed. This mandate became embodied in the Federation of Romanian-American Organizations. RoAmPro board member Teodor Lazar from New Jersey presented the work accomplished in establishing “FORA - Creating a stronger voice for the Romanian American Community.” There are several topics that impact individual communities which can only be addressed at a national level, where currently these communities do not have a representative voice. Mr. Lazar presented the team of funding entities and the people involved in these discussions about how to build a stronger national community capable to control its own narrative in terms of its needs and interests. By September 2020, the group established a Charter defining what the entity seeks to achieve and a vision. By December, the working group developed the mission, logo, and registered name (www.fora-us.org). In the last few months, the group outlined a launching plan with detailed steps about the registration of the entity, finalized the articles of incorporation and bylaws and took steps to establish the entity in Washington, DC. The official public launch which will seek the enrollment of a wide spectrum of diaspora entities is panned for September of this year. The working group created a multi-year plan for the growth of this entity, a vision that community leaders can adhere to. FORA seeks to serve local community needs through collaborative programs, lower program implementation costs, identify an national-level strategy, increase fundraising capacity, improve access to public and private funding and create greater visibility for these communities at a national level. One way to already start using this new platform is to share announcements about community events.