It’s been more than a couple of months since I last wrote for our monthly Voices for Good newsletter. Lots of reasons – and fair to call them excuses – one of which is that I have been on the road a good deal these past few months. More on that in a bit.
So whether it is too late or not, I do want to wish our IS members and partners a year filled with good work to do, the resources to get it done, and the time to think critically and creatively about how each of us, in our own way, is contributing to a charitable nonprofit sector that is healthy, vibrant, and prepared to do the enormous work before us.
Now to the travel.
Earlier in February, I had the opportunity and the honor to spend a few days in Jackson, Mississippi at the invitation of the Mississippi Alliance of Nonprofits and Philanthropy. I joined some great sector leaders (among them Donna Murray Brown of the Michigan Nonprofit Association, Janine Lee of the Southeastern Council of Foundations, and Phil Buchanan of the Center for Effective Philanthropy) to help celebrate the formal launch of the Alliance. The Alliance is one of the first state-wide efforts in the nation to bring together state-based associations of philanthropy and nonprofits into a single entity, building a new “whole” that can be greater and healthier than its individual parts. For Mississippi, that means building a better coordinated and integrated community to advance solutions to complex and challenging issues that impact children, families, and communities across the state.
As I spoke to the gathering of Alliance members, I had to smile and think of IS Founder John W. Gardner who, 40 years ago, had incredible clarity around the importance of a single, integrated “vital meeting ground” on which we could all learn, grow, and lift our voice. In so many ways, what he saw in the creation of Independent Sector is now taking root in Mississippi. And it is exciting to see.
I urge you to take a quick drive through the Alliance’s website to learn more about their vision, their leadership, and the deep, deep history upon which they have been built. And if you ever have the chance to be in Jackson, do reach out to Sammy Moon, the Alliance’s Executive Director. He’s not only an inspiring leader but, as my colleagues mentioned above will attest, and extraordinary host and passionate promoter of all things Mississippi.
As you will see if you take the time to learn more about the Alliance’s work, there is an exciting initiative underway in the state that relates, quite directly, to another issue we have been addressing in this newsletter – volunteerism. The Mississippi Volunteer and Nonprofit Hub Network, a collaboration between the Alliance and Volunteer Mississippi, is asking some of the same questions we have been asking our guest bloggers to write about – how can we better incentivize volunteerism and national service, while also making sure that nonprofit organizations have the capacity to fully leverage their volunteer workforce? All of us here at IS look forward to learning more about what is happening, and working, in Mississippi as we think through the development of a federal policy agenda on volunteerism and service.
By the way, don’t forget to read this month’s blog on volunteerism by Jeremie Greer, IS Public Policy Fellow and Co-Executive Director of Liberation in a Generation.
As always, thanks for spending some time with IS and Voices for Good. We are very glad you are here.