One thing that I have learned over the past two weeks is how few people actually know about Independent Sector, what it is, what it does and why it is important.
I first learned of Independent Sector (IS) in 2008 when I had the opportunity to attend the annual conference in Philadelphia. IS is the leadership forum for all things philanthropy. IS has built a coalition of more than 600 organizations to “advance the common good by leading, strengthening, and mobilizing the charitable community” in an effort “to build a just and inclusive society and a healthy democracy of active citizens, effective institutions and vibrant communities.”
IS and its coalition members are active in all aspects of the philanthropic sector – direct services, administration, advocacy and public policy. In addition to the annual conference, IS provides many opportunities throughout the year for its members to come together to discuss key issues that impact the philanthropic sector. IS promotes policies that improves the ways in which the non profit community engages with public officials.
In recent years, IS has focused particular attention on protecting advocacy rights for nonprofits, promoting tax incentives for charitable giving, and addressing federal and state budget concerns that have impacted many nonprofits throughout the country.
IS also supports the development and dissemination of strategies to strengthen volunteering, voting, giving, and other forms of citizen engagement, while encouraging the sector to meet the highest standards of ethics practices and effectiveness, especially in the areas of governance, fiduciary responsibility, government oversight, self-regulation, and financial accountability.
Last, but not least, IS is the face and voice of the philanthropic sector. IS takes the lead in representing the sector in the media, government and throughout the international community.
Check out their IS Annual Report 2009.
So, with that, on to the conference…….