As leaders in the nonprofit, foundation, and corporate giving sectors, we’ve long seen the importance of collaboration and community to address the complex challenges facing our society. In the charitable sector, convening is not just a strategic choice but an essential pillar of our work.
I believe in the transformative power of convening. That’s one of the reasons I joined Independent Sector as president and CEO this year. We’re the only national organization that brings together leaders from across the breadth of the social sector, creating a unique space where individuals step out of their comfort zones to engage in conversations with a diversity of changemakers. This is a powerful act of bridge building, of shifting power, and of creating a vital meeting ground for change.
Our world is facing increasingly complex problems that require diverse perspectives for effective solutions. By convening, we set a table where individuals across the social sector can contribute their insights and build trusted relationships. Whether you represent a large foundation, a grassroots organization, or a purpose-driven business, your perspective is crucial to addressing the multidimensional challenges of our times.
Convening comes with its own set of challenges, but I firmly believe that these challenges are worth overcoming. The wider the table, the more voices sit at it, and the richer our discussions become.
The 2023 Upswell Summit, powered by Independent Sector and Social Venture Partners (SVP) Dallas, is an opportunity for us to come together as a community of changemakers. It’s a chance for nonprofit and foundation leaders, community activists, philanthropists, researchers, academics, policymakers, and consultants to connect, learn, and imagine ways to build a healthy, equitable nation where we all thrive.
I personally invite you to join me at Upswell on November 15-17 in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas. For many of us, this will be the first chance to be in community with each other in person in more than three years. It’s an opportunity to build a shared sense of belonging while addressing our sector’s most pressing challenges.
During the Summit, you’ll engage in innovative approaches to tackle issues like racial justice, workforce development, and policy and systems change. You’ll also experience the power of community through local dishes, community dinners and tours, arts and wellness experiences, and relationship building.
Moreover, this year’s partnership with SVP Dallas will provide you with additional programming on impact investing and deep community engagement. It’s a unique opportunity to ground our conversations in place, making them more meaningful.
Our sector is a major contributor to the nation’s economy and plays a vital role in shaping our society. Now, more than ever, is the time for us to use our collective power to challenge and transform current systems. Together, our diverse voices can strengthen our sector, support our workforce, and advance our missions to build a healthy and racially just nation.
I look forward to meeting you in Dallas-Fort Worth this November as we come together to foster transformative change. Let’s widen the table and harness the power of convening for a brighter future.
Dr. Akilah Watkins is president and CEO of Independent Sector.