Civil Renewal Podcast

Civil Renewal is an Independent Sector’s podcast about the role, meaning, and future of civil society. Each episode, Independent Sector President and CEO Dan Cardinali invites a sector leader to address the major themes and ideas brought up in the new thought leadership series, Civil Society for the 21st Century, launched by Independent Sector and Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR).

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Season 1

E7: Leadership for a Higher Purpose
In this episode, Dan talks to Stacey Stewart, president of March of Dimes, about the ideals and values leaders in civil society should uphold despite – and sometimes because of – the negative and divisive political climate we live in. Dan and Stacey also discuss Robert Boisture’s piece in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, “Civic Virtues and the Healing of Partisan Divides,” and Stacey calls on civil society’s leaders to acknowledge their power and responsibility toward compromise and progress. Learn more about this episode.

E6: Finding Proximity with and in Rural Communities
In this episode, Dan Cardinali joins Paul Daugherty, president and CEO of Philanthropy West Virginia, to discuss what philanthropy at large can learn about civil society in rural communities. Dan and Paul break down Allen Smart and Betsey Russell’s piece in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, “What Rural America Can Teach Us About Civil Society.” During the conversation, Paul emphasizes that rural communities often provide a unique perspective for national conversations. Learn  more about this episode.

E5: At the Nexus of Conviction and Justice
In this episode, Dan Cardinali is joined by Pastor Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. Rodriguez posits that strong faith and social justice are necessary ingredients to ensure all people are flourishing in civil society. Dan and Sam also take a close look at Angela Glover Blackwell’s piece in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, “Civil Society and Authentic Engagement in a Diverse Nation,” and Sam reflects on Angela’s notion that civil society is only as good as the work we put into it. Learn  more about this episode.

E4: Community-Led Change Works
In this episode, Dan Cardinali speaks with Kevin Washington, president and CEO of the Y, about the importance of volunteerism and community-led change work in American civil society. Kevin and Dan reflect on “Aspirin and Democracy,” an article written by Jan Masaoka, CEO of the California Association of Nonprofits, who argues that nonprofits need to step away from paid experts and professionals to get back to grassroots, volunteer-led movements that strengthen civil society. The YMCA of the USA offers an excellent example of how both professionalism and volunteerism are necessary to create positive, community-led change. Learn  more about this episode.

E3: Building a Generationally Inclusive Society
In this episode, Dan Cardinali speaks with Marc Freedman, president and CEO of, to reflect on the topic of Janet Murguía’s piece in Stanford Social Innovation Review, “Parallel Universes? Lines and Ties in Civil Society.” Murguía examines the history of civil society, particularly insofar as some of our nation’s roots have excluded and alienated certain populations. Freedman reflects from the standpoint of his work with engaging aging Americans to build a generationally inclusive society. Learn  more about this episode.

E2: Finding Hope in the American South
In this episode, Dan Cardinali joins Janine Lee, president and CEO of the Southeastern Council of Foundations, for a discussion about the values of civil society with particular focus on the American south. They also take a deep dive into David Brooks’ piece in Stanford Social Innovation Review, “Looking to Civil Society for the Values that Shape a Culture,” and Janine shares the one issue she thinks we need to tackle in the next five years. Learn  more about this episode.

E1: Adaptive Challenges for Civil Society
In the first episode of Civil Renewal, Dan Cardinali speaks with Eric Nee, managing editor of the Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR) about the recent launch of Civil Society for the 21st Century, a thought leadership series Independent Sector and SSIR. Dan and Eric specifically talk about the adaptive challenges we all need to meet for a healthy and strong civil society. Learn more about this episode.


About the Host

Dan Cardinali is the president and CEO of Independent Sector. He believes strongly in the power of nonprofits, foundations, and other organizations to work collaboratively to improve life and the environment for individuals and communities around the world.

Disclaimer: Independent Sector values and encourages the representation of various opinions and points of view as part of our podcasts. The diverse views of our guests may not necessarily reflect those of IS or its member organizations.

Global Topics: Civil Society
Resource Types: Podcast