Shaping our Future

Independent Sector was founded to convene the rich diversity of the charitable community to foster a national movement to strengthen the common good.

Our challenge is to build a shared calling that focuses on the health of the whole, rather than focus on individual organizations or sub-sectors. It has been with that spirit that we gathered our community together each year since our founding – nonprofits, foundations, corporate giving programs, and any other institution created to do social good work – at our Independent Sector Annual Conference and then Upswell, as it was re-imagined in 2018.

As we’ve built and evolved Upswell, we have learned a lot by gathering leaders differently. We learned that changemakers of all kinds want to meet one another, solve problems together, and find commonalities across different types of organizations or mission areas. We believed, and saw reinforced, the need for legacy organizations and leaders to join together with community-based and new power leaders in a way that accelerated all their work, and ultimately unleashed an even greater collective effort to build the common good.

As we move into the national debates about reopening, rebuilding, and recovery, we will need every single part of civil society to work together. We aim to make Upswell the place for that gathering, which is why we aren’t stopping this year, despite a pandemic.

Last week, we officially announced that Upswell is going virtual this year. In addition to a virtual three-day summit in October, we will hold free Upswell Pop-Ups every few weeks, designed to help us all make sense of what’s happening in the world, deliver inspiration, and build towards a gathering of the sector to take up our critical role of rebuilding our nation.

Our first Upswell Pop-Up will be Tuesday, May 19 from 2:00-4:00 pm ET and will feature New York Times Columnist and Executive Director of The Aspen Institute’s Weave initiative, David Brooks. We will also hold breakout events on faith-based institutions and leaders in the time of COVID-19, discussions with the YMCA of Chicago and the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh about their experience navigating a pandemic on behalf of their communities, and finally, two Spark Talks capturing how local leaders in Pittsburgh are pivoting their efforts to provide meals and economic support to the most vulnerable communities.

Through these Pop-Ups, we’re inviting you to pause and refresh – while also advancing your mission, enhancing your capacity, and making sense of the unfathomable change happening around us. And by joining us for all of Upswell 2020’s programming, we hope to inspire and guide you as we navigate our missions and communities from relief to recovery to renewal.

Independent Sector will also continue to provide the webinars and resources you’ve gotten used to from us since this pandemic began. This Thursday, May 14 at 2:00 pm ET, we’ll have our weekly policy webinar featuring Kevin Kincheloe, Senior Policy Advisor to Senator James Lankford, who will walk us through an effort to fix the CARES Act for nonprofits in forthcoming legislation. We will also discuss movement in Washington to expand the charitable deduction and improve the Paycheck Protection Program.

On Friday, May 15 at 1:00 pm ET, I am pleased to be joining colleagues at the Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA), who will discuss how they made dramatic shifts in their organization when COVID-19 hit right in the middle of their annual cookie sale. I invite you to join me and leaders Sylvia Acevedo, CEO of GSUSA and Kathy Hopinkah Hannan, national president and chair of their board, to gain clear insights about how to quickly pivot an organization.

We hope you’ll join us for these and other future events powered by Independent Sector. As always, don’t hesitate to reach out if Independent Sector can be of any other help.

Types: Blog
Global Topics: Civil Society, COVID-19 Response, IS Member, IS Staff, Upswell