IS Blog

Listen, Learn, and Lead

Annual Conference , Board Members , Breakthrough , Civic Engagement , Collaboration , Collective Impact , Community , Democracy , Diana , effective organizations , Impact , Leadership , Nonprofit , Philanthropy , Threads , Trends No Comments »

There is an African parable that explains why human beings have two ears but only one tongue. The answer: we should listen twice as much as we speak. That is what we intend to do in the coming months.


A Time For Renewal

Board Members , board of directors , Collaboration , Collective Impact , Community , effective organizations , Impact , Innovation , Leadership , Neil Nicoll , Nonprofit , Philanthropy , YMCA of the USA 2 Comments »

When I became President and CEO of YMCA of the USA (Y-USA) in 2006, I had been a YMCA professional for more than 38 years—26 of them as a chief executive officer. Having worked for YMCAs from coast to coast and served on the national Y-USA Board of Directors, I had experienced just about everything a person could while working for the Y.

Or so I thought.

-- Neil Nicoll IS Board Chair and President Emeritus of YMCA of the USA


Hope and opportunity: What we learn from Ferguson

Accountability , Civility , Community , Diana , Diversity , equality , Ferguson , Incivility , inclusion , income inequality , poverty , social change 2 Comments »

History says don’t hope
On this side of the grave
But then, once in a lifetime
The longed for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up
And hope and history rhyme.

Seamus Heaney, “The Cure at Troy”


A new year whirls past and in my mind’s eye I see hopes for the days ahead. But I would be remiss if I did not touch upon the subject that has riveted so many of us in the final weeks of 2014: the deaths of unarmed African-American men and boys at the hands of the police and the senseless targeted killing of police officers.




Annual Conference , Democracy , Diana , Embark , Impact , Innovation , Seattle No Comments »

You may say I'm a dreamer / But I'm not the only one /
I hope someday you'll join us / And the world will be as one.

I’ve always adored this song. John Lennon’s gentle, calm voice tugs at your heart and, at the same time, inspires people to come together – seek out fellow dreamers – to fashion a better world. That’s how I felt at this year's Independent Sector National Conference in Seattle...




Conference Recap: 501(c)(4)s and Public Policy: What You Need to Know

Annual Conference , Democracy , PPAI , Tax-Exempt Status No Comments »

by Gene Takagi, Managing Attorney and Founder, NEO Law Group

“If you aren’t participating fully in the democratic process, you’re leaving leverage on the table.” —Tom and Sonya Campion

The quote above perfectly captures why some charities might consider creating an affiliated 501(c)(4) organization to engage in advocacy activities that might otherwise not be possible for a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.



Independent Sector is a nonpartisan leadership network of 600 charities, foundations, and corporate giving programs committed to advancing the common good in America and around the world.

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