ACEL COVID-19 Update

Alachua County Emerging Leaders COVID-19 Response

Due to the ongoing pandemic, over the past week, our board has worked behind the scenes on ways to still fulfill our mission of keeping young professionals connected, informed and involved in this (hopefully temporary) new reality. 

At last night’s virtual board meeting, we made the following decisions: 

Events and Committee Meetings

All in-person events are cancelled. All committee and board meetings are now held via Zoom. If you volunteer, or are interested in working with a committee, the dates and link to Zoom are on our Facebook page. It’s possible that after this is over, we will keep these meetings online.


We normally charge $50 for an annual membership to ACEL. Some of this money goes to supporting our general operations, and the rest goes to subsidizing discounts to members for numerous live events. 

With all of our events moving online, and many of our colleagues facing job losses, we decided to make our memberships free for a 6-month period effective immediately. We will also renew memberships for free for the next 6 months. Bringing people together and connecting them is far more important to the organization and our community than these funds, especially in this critical time. However, if you are employed, and want to help us make a difference, we would still appreciate the donation so we can use the funds to help with other initiatives. 

You can sign up for a free membership here. 


Because committee budgets have traditionally been allocated to live events and we’re not spending it in the near future, we voted to shift the funds to microgrants. Historically, microgrants have been awarded to ACEL members via our Professional Development committee for members to attend conferences, and educational events with a budget up to $200 each. We believe that supporting online learning opportunities is the best way for our funds to have an immediate impact, given the sudden loss of jobs in our community. To apply for a microgrant, please register as a member, if you are not one already, and click here for the application. 

Community Resource

Due to the dynamic nature of this emergency on a local level, many businesses and services are constantly changing. The rate at which information is changing is dizzying to keep track of via news and social media. In the coming days, we will be launching a wiki page, so businesses can update their own information, and everyone can find out what’s going on in one centralized resource. If you have information that you would like added before we launch, please email it to

Online Events

We are working on some fun online events, including networking events, Jackbox nights, watching movies, etc. We’ve created an ACEL Facebook Group where we will be posting polls on people’s availability and interests. Please join, if you haven’t already, and encourage your friends to do so as well.

ACEL Board Member Terms and Annual Meeting

Our annual meeting is at the end of June, which is a dinner for our members. Our board is voted in by our membership at this meeting. This is usually the time of year when we are working with venues and caterers on pricing and putting down a deposit. Due to this crisis, we don’t know if we will be able to have an in-person event, or what venues will be available if we do. The board has a few options, including extending our terms for a few months, or holding an online event to vote in our new board. We have tabled the decision until our next meeting to give board members an opportunity to decide if they are staying on, and measure our ability to recruit new board members, if we’re not out at live events meeting people in the near future. 

We hope you are all doing well in this difficult time and look forward to collaborating with you on keeping our spirits high and our community strong.

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ACEL is a 501c3 non-profit run by an all volunteer board. Your membership helps support all the great things we do in Alachua Count achieve our mission of keeping young professionals like you connected, informed and involved. Your tax deductible membership fee, often reimbursed by employers includes deep discounts on paid events, a thriving online community in our Slack channel, access to mentorship opportunities and microgrants and more.