I have to admit it. Summer is over. Despite all our hopes of “summer 2021” being the time when things would turn to normal routines and predictability, that’s not what we have gotten, of course. Even so, there has been a degree of “lightening up” over the last two months. I hope the same has been true for you and that you had a moment or two to step away, read a book, or enjoy a reunion with family.
But here we are. Fall. September gets all of us here at Independent Sector back into the highest of gears – and so I thought I might share a few highlights and offer a few opportunities for you to step forward to fall with us. As you often hear me say (or see me write) – we are always stronger with you than without. Join us.
Nonprofits and a Healthy Democracy
As nonprofit leaders, we don’t have to be convinced of the critical role our nonprofit organizations play in protecting and promoting a healthy democracy. But as the landscape of our democracy seems to be shifting before our eyes, what do we know – or what do we need to know – about the evolving role nonprofits must play in policy advocacy, nonpartisan civic engagement, and voting reform? Is the tried-and-true path of the past the right path for today?
Join Independent Sector and the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) for the 10th Annual Nonprofit Public Policy Symposium on September 17 to explore these questions with academics and practitioners who are pushing the boundaries of knowledge and practice on these critical questions.
Protecting the Right to Protest
Once again, we – as nonprofit leaders – are deeply aware of the role that peaceful protest and social movements play in advancing equitable systemic change. The right to protest is in the DNA of our civil society and a linchpin to a healthy democracy that works for all of us.
Since 2020, the rapid rise of community-based protests has been met by an equally rapid rise in attempts to curtail this fundamental right. Join Independent Sector for a webinar on September 24 to learn more about this historic increase in anti-protest policy proposals and their potential impact on the missions of nonprofits of all types. Our webinar will provide timely and informed insights into actions you can take to protect this vital tool to build healthier, more equitable communities.
Deepening Our Understanding of Philanthropy Reform and the ACE Act
Opinions vary wildly on whether the introduction of the Accelerating Charitable Efforts (ACE) Act earlier this past spring is timely and much needed or misguided and distracting our sector and policymakers from other critical needs in our sector, such as our very uneven recovery from the pandemic.
Regardless of your view, the ACE Act is driving the sector toward what we think is a healthy conversation about these proposed reforms. Independent Sector has made clear from the outset that whatever/whenever reforms might come, we want to assess them through three distinct lenses:
- Does the proposed reform build public trust in philanthropy and our broader sector?
- Does the proposed reform lead to more equitable practice and outcomes in philanthropy?
- Does the proposed reform increase the flow of resources into the sector?
To explore these questions, understand existing data, and gain perspective from the field (philanthropy and charities) on the need for reforms, and on the ACE, specifically, IS will host a series of convenings from October 7 through December 1. Three of these convenings (October 7, November 9, and December 1) will be IS convened webinars. The convening between October 20-22 will be held as a part of our Upswell Summit and will require a separate registration to Upswell. Please join us for this critical series of conversations, addressing the following topics:
- October 7, 2 PM ET webinar – SpACE for Trust: The ACE Act and Trust in Philanthropy
- October 20-22, Upswell Summit – From Ace to Z: Equity Considerations in the ACE Act
- November 9, 2 PM ET webinar – Pocket Full of Aces: Exploring the ACE Act and its Impact on the Flow of Resources into the Sector
- December 1, 2 PM ET webinar – Ace in the Hole –Bringing Together Our Learnings on the ACE Act
Building our Community of Changemakers – Upswell Summit 2021
As always, we hope you will join changemakers from across the sector and the country for our Upswell Summit 2021. The virtual Upswell Summit has been designed to maximize your engagement with the thought leaders, the creative forces, the doers, and the policy advocates who power our sector and make possible our contribution to a healthy civil society in the United States.
Learn more about the Upswell Summit program and register by visiting the Upswell site.
There is much to be learned and much to be done. We hope you will join us for these sessions over the next few months. We need you and your voice! Enjoy the last few days of summer as we prepare to move forward to fall!