Civil Society Infrastructure

In 2020, Independent Sector and IS member, KABOOM!, formed a coalition known as the Nonprofit Infrastructure Investment Advocacy Group (NIIAG), which now includes about 50 national, regional, and local nonprofits and foundations.

NIIAG engages a community of diverse leaders from across the charitable, nonprofit sector to identify, and advocate for, the essential federal investments needed to rebuild the nation in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, economic crisis, and racial injustice reckoning of 2020. We prioritize investments in and through nonprofit organizations that strengthen civic bonds across the country, put people back to work rebuilding our communities, and provide – at a national scale — the critical resources and services nonprofits need to accomplish their missions.

NIIAG also prioritizes investments that lift working class, Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities, rather than negatively impacting their environment and economy as many infrastructure projects have done in the past. We call upon policymakers to consider and collaborate with these communities in the planning and implementation of infrastructure projects; nonprofits stand ready to support such government processes.

If you are interested in joining, please email

Priority Investments

We have organized our priority policy requests into three categories: civic infrastructure, community infrastructure, and critical national infrastructure. As a coalition, we will seek to advance these funding priorities by attaching them to appropriate legislative vehicles as they become available. We are designing the work of the NIIAG so it provides a policy and investment roadmap that helps to shape the infrastructure conversation well into the future.

October 2021: Our most recent policy priorities are listed below and a full detailed list can be found here.

Civic Infrastructure

Infrastructure must be about the civic underpinnings of our society – charitable giving, volunteering, national service, advocacy and voting. These are the practices that knit the fabric of our communities and our nation and create the conditions for societal change. Our priority policy requests in civic infrastructure are:

  • Build the capacity and representation of nonprofit institutions
  • Strengthen the capacity of the volunteer force in the United States to respond to national crises
  • Ensure robust and reliable federal funding for an expanded vision of national service in the U.S.
  • Improve access to, and oversight of, national fundraising by nonprofits
  • Improve voter accessibility while maintaining secure elections

Community Infrastructure

Community infrastructure refers to the public assets that anchor strong, vibrant, resilient, and equitable communities. For example, while decades of research show how play is a developmental necessity for children and helps them deal with adversity and stress, community infrastructure like playgrounds are severely underfunded today, particularly in communities of color that have experienced significant disinvestment. Our priority policy requests in community infrastructure are:

  • Increase access to affordable childcare for working parents
  • Rebuild a competitive and equitable workforce
  • Invest in culture, arts, and humanities workers and programs
  • Rehabilitate and improve access to community buildings and housing
  • Increase investment in community development and resilience
  • Expand access to 211 Health and Human Service Hub
  • Ensure robust funding for more equitable access to parks and recreation

Critical National Infrastructure

The nation is dependent upon transportation and power systems, among others, that are critical to our daily lives and to the functioning of our economy. The charitable nonprofit sector is also dependent upon critical national infrastructure – such as information technology and the United States Postal Service – to advance its many missions. But, as we know, when federal legislators debate infrastructure spending, they are focused on roads and bridges, not on our sector. We know from experience that prioritizing nonprofit organizations in any future infrastructure package is a proven way to create jobs and strengthen our communities and our economy. Our priority policy requests in critical national infrastructure are:

  • Ensure digital access for all
  • Build nonprofits’ technical and skill-based technology capacity
  • Prioritize public and civil society interests in digital infrastructure
  • Upgrade energy efficiency of homes and nonprofit buildings
  • Support clean, healthy, and equitable transit
  • Guarantee safe drinking water
  • Invest in Conservation and Environmental Resilience Jobs
  • Ensure environmentally sustainable infrastructure


A healthy nation requires a healthy civil society and policies that allow nonprofits to serve their communities’ needs. Independent Sector and the Nonprofit Infrastructure Investment Advocacy Group (NIIAG) are urging legislators to recognize the essential role community and civic infrastructure plays in meeting the challenges of the public health and economic crisis unleashed by COVID-19. Use our advocacy toolkit resources to expand your organization’s mobilization efforts to help secure emergency funding that nonprofits need to fulfill our missions.

Latest News

Finding – and Using – Our Voice

January 25, 2022 by Jeffrey Moore

In 2020, Independent Sector and IS member, KABOOM!, formed a coalition known as the Nonprofit Infrastructure Investment Advocacy Group (NIIAG), which now includes about 50 national, regional, and local nonprofits

Read More.
Nonprofit Sector Strength and Partnership Act of 2022

It Takes More than Roads and Bridges – and More than One Bill

November 22, 2021 by Jeffrey Moore

In 2020, Independent Sector and IS member, KABOOM!, formed a coalition known as the Nonprofit Infrastructure Investment Advocacy Group (NIIAG), which now includes about 50 national, regional, and local nonprofits

Read More.

Independent Sector Applauds Build Back Better Act Passage in House

November 19, 2021

(WASHINGTON, November 19, 2021) – Daniel J. Cardinali, president and CEO of Independent Sector issues the following statement: “Independent Sector is pleased with today’s House passage of the Build Back Better

Read More.

Independent Sector, KABOOM!, and NIIAG Applaud House Passage of Infrastructure Bill

November 5, 2021

(WASHINGTON, November 5, 2021) – Lysa Ratliff, CEO of KABOOM! and Daniel J. Cardinali, president and CEO of Independent Sector, issue the following statement about the U.S. House of Representatives’ passage

Read More.

Independent Sector Urges Enactment of Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

September 30, 2021

(WASHINGTON, September 30, 2021) – Daniel J. Cardinali, president and CEO of Independent Sector, issues the following statement about this legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives: “The Infrastructure Investment

Read More.

Members of the Coalition

American Heart Association
Americans for the Arts
The Aspen Institute
City Parks Alliance
Communities In Schools
Community Resource Center
Council of Michigan Foundations
Do Good Institute
Fund the People
George Mason University
Giving Tuesday
Goodwill Industries International Inc.
Habitat for Humanity
Independent Sector
The Jewish Federations of North America
Leadership Roundtable
League of American Orchestras
League of United Latin American Citizens
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Living Cities
Maryland Philanthropy Network
Morgan Stanley
National Digital Inclusion Alliance
Minnesota Council of Nonprofits

National Community Action Partnership
National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
National Indian Child Welfare Association
National League of Cities
National Recreation and Parks Association
National Urban Indian Family Coalition
Native Ways Federation
Nature Conservancy
OneStar Foundation
Orthodox Union Advocacy Center
Philanthropy West Virginia
Raising A Village Foundation
Reinvigorating the Conversation
Service Year Alliance
Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society
Technology Association of Grantmakers
The Henry Ford
United Philanthropy Forum
United Way Worldwide
Urban League
Volunteer Match
Washington Council Ernst & Young