I wanted to express my sincere appreciation of your steadfast partnership with Independent Sector. Last year was exciting at IS for many reasons, but at the root it is because of partners like you.
As I reflect on the year, I want to share some key highlights from 2019 and a preview of 2020. My first reflection is our work would not be possible without organizations like yours leading, building, and strengthening community. Your engagement throughout the year – from your retweet to your attendance at key events – makes the community of IS and the sector stronger.
I reflect in greater detail in my recent SSIR article in which I share how organizations like yours are key actors in the powerful cultural changes taking place in civil society. If the nonprofit sector can figure out how to share power and create equity, we can restore the trust that allows civil society to flourish. Your organization is essential in this work. It is my deep commitment in 2020 to continue to partner with organizations to bridge divides and close disparities in our most marginalized communities.
We have also heard from many of you directly about our continuing evolution. Whether through emails to me and my staff, in person at Upswell in Chicago this fall, or through our recent stakeholder survey and assessment, we know there is an eagerness for us to step forward on behalf of all of you in the sector in a meaningful way. Independent Sector takes seriously our responsibility to bring all sector organizations together – from the large, well-known nonprofit to the community foundation to the small community service provider – and recognize we only flourish when we are all healthy and robust, and the people and communities we serve thrive.
Just last week, we were lucky enough to host funders, nonprofits, and community advocates in Pittsburgh to launch Upswell 2020, which will take place in the city’s North Side October 14-16. We see Upswell as the gathering place for all social changemakers, and are fully committed to ensuring the planning and execution of the year-long engagement with local and national leaders reflects that goal. You’ll see more updates about how you can engage and share your content ideas with us soon on Upswell.org.
As a voice for the charitable community in the public policy arena, we have endeavored to shape and advance an agenda that protects and promotes the sector. We also identified and filled data and knowledge gaps to help all organizations and policymakers make more informed policy decisions. In fact, just this week, the House of Representative passed the repeal of a harmful tax provision on nonprofits due, in part, to the research we commissioned about its impact. Over the course of 2019, we continued to shift our posture from reaction and defense of the sector to one that is more proactive in shaping a policy agenda that reflects the needs and concerns of our communities. In doing so, we believe we must address the health of all organizations and the communities we serve, particularly the most marginalized. In addition to commissioning key pieces of research on our core issues such as tax incentives, unrelated business income tax, and the Johnson Amendment, we are also exploring how best to align our contributions in 2020 toward a stronger, more robust, and more equitable civil society.
This is a critical time for Independent Sector, our members, and the charitable sector. We are glad to have you with us as we build community, proactively lead on policy issues, and accelerate the sector’s collective impact toward a better future. We look forward to our continued work together in the coming year.
Happy New Year!