2022 was a watershed year of reflection, change, and transition — for our nation, for the charitable sector, and for Independent Sector.
As the third largest private employer and nearly six percent of the country’s GDP, the charitable sector is vital to the nation’s economy and the welfare of those we serve — especially people most marginalized in our society. And as the vital meeting ground of the U.S. charitable sector, Independent Sector plays a key leadership role in lifting up and promoting the well-being and care of the nonprofit workforce.
In 2022, we focused our efforts on building the capacity of sector leaders and organizations through our Community Building work; assessing sector trends and data in our Sector Health work; and advocating on behalf of our leaders, organizations, and communities through our Public Policy efforts.
Highlights included advancing the “Seat at the Table” initiative, launching our inaugural Bridging Fellows program, and issuing reports on the health of the U.S. nonprofit sector and trust in civil society. We also strengthened engagement with 1,500 sector leaders through three virtual Upswell Pop-Ups and through our virtual Upswell Summit.
Among our biggest changes in 2022 was our leadership transition. After boldly leading Independent Sector for six years, Daniel J. Cardinali announced he would step down. Following a national search by our Board of Directors for a new leader for the next era of IS, Dr. Akilah Watkins, a national expert on equity, policy, and community development, was named Independent Sector’s next president and CEO — the first Black woman to lead Independent Sector in its 43-year history.