Upswell Pop-Up #1

Past Event
Tuesday, May 19, 2020 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM (ET)

Registration is Closed


Event Details

It’s tough to find balance these days. As our daily lives have been turned upside down, the lines between the personal and the professional have been erased. And it can feel like every moment is a choice to either take care of yourself or take care of your community.

So, we’re trying something creative for the first Upswell Pop-Up. We’re going to do both at the same time. We’re inviting you to take two hours to pause and refresh – while also advancing your mission, enhancing your capacity, and helping you make sense of the unfathomable change happening around us.

Think of it as a two-hour boost of energy to help you keep moving with purpose and energy.

Pop-Up Schedule

2:00-2:05p ET

Distance seems to be the word of the year. While it’s easy to focus on the ways that distance is keeping us apart — and, hopefully, safe and healthy — there’s another dimension that’s worth considering: distance from the problem. With so much turmoil and disruption at every level of society, we need to step back and get a clear view of what’s really happening — and assess how we, as changemakers, can use a fresh perspective to find a clear path forward.


Dan Cardinali
President and CEO
Independent Sector

2:05-2:15p ET

David Brooks
Weave: The Social Fabric Project

2:20-3:00p ET

For many Americans, communities of faith are the stabilizing force for good in times of crisis. But in this unusual crisis, the familiar practice of coming together for support has been made nearly impossible.

As such, faith-based organizations and congregations that are often closest to those in need – like under-resourced individuals and families, especially in communities of color – are themselves struggling to survive, let alone serve. We’ll explore urgent frontline stories from diverse faith-based institutions and leaders and consider the connection between service and citizenship for advancing justice for their communities in the context of COVID-19.


Chelsea Langston Bombino
Director of Sacred Sector
Center for Public Justice

Ismail Royer
Director, Islam and Religious Freedom Action Team
Religious Freedom Institute

Pastor Harold Dugger
First Baptist Church of Capitol Heights

Dr. Denise Strothers
National Director of Operations
Healing Communities

David Brooks says the pandemic provides an x-ray of America, seemingly revealing our kindness and grit. Essential workers risk their safety daily. Neighbors collaborate to sew masks, raise money, and deliver supplies. We let others know we care — we’ll get through this together.

But this national x-ray also reveals our disconnected and unequal culture. Millions of kids go hungry. Officials put image before honesty and service. Many must choose between work and risking infection, caring for kids, and paying rent. Our health system didn’t serve all people before the pandemic, and is now overwhelmed.

The pain seems to grow as the virus spreads, impacting more family, friends, and colleagues. It can break us and our communities – or break us open – strengthen us, and turn us into Weavers.

David Brooks
Weave: The Social Fabric Project

Kevin Bolding
President and CEO
YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh

3:00-3:05p ET

The benefits of a five-minute break are immeasurable — if you use those minutes well. Take this time to grab a cup of coffee, do some stretches, take some deep breaths – whatever works for you! You’ll find yourself surprisingly refreshed and ready the next part of the Pop-Up.

3:05-4:00p ET

One of the most revealing aspects of the COVID-19 crisis is that society is interconnected in ways we might not have previously appreciated. Or, to put it another way, a sudden closing of an institution can set off a catastrophic chain reaction. In March, the YMCA of Metro Chicago – which serves more than 200,000 individuals annually – made the necessary decision to temporarily cease operations. That decision might have had a dangerous ripple effect in people’s lives across Chicagoland. Instead, the Y figured out how to quickly and creatively pivot to support the members of its community who are most vulnerable.

But this isn’t just about exploring a success story for the Y. It’s about learning actionable strategies that you can use at your organization and in your community to ensure that disruption – even a seemingly critical one — doesn’t lead to devastation.

Dick Malone
President and Chief Executive Officer
YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago

Denise Lam
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago


Victor Reinoso
Chief Operating Officer
Independent Sector

A Purposeful Practice in a Pandemic (3:05-3:25)

In this short talk, LaKeisha Wolf will talk about how her organizational pivot during the coronavirus pandemic was really just a deeper dive into Ujamaa Collective’s mission to act as a catalyst to advance Africana Women by providing a fair trade marketplace for cultural, artistic and entrepreneurial exchange through cooperative economics in Pittsburgh’s Historic Hill District and beyond. She’s using this time to continue to align her practices to a long-standing African principle of ujamaa: cooperative economics. LaKeisha will share how pressure can serve us all, in both purpose and passion.


LaKeisha Wolf
Executive Director
Ujamaa Collective

The EAT Initiative’s Response to COVID-19: The Third Meal Project (3:25-4:00)

Chef Claudy will be discussing his nonprofit organization’s rapid response to COVID-19 and how to prepare healthy and easy meals at home amidst the shutdown.

Chef Claudy Pierre
EAT Initiative, Inc.