More than 900 leaders from across the nonprofit community came together in Philadelphia against the backdrop of two dramatic developments: the groundbreaking 2008 elections and the biggest financial crisis since the 1930s.
Participants from nearly 570 diverse organizations examined the best ways for the nonprofit community to use its powerful voice to secure brighter futures for people across the country and around the world. They identified and developed creative approaches that charities, foundations, and corporate giving programs can use to strengthen our communities and fulfill the hopes of millions of people for better lives, particularly in the face of widespread economic uncertainty.
Opening Plenary: How the Election Results Will Shape Our Future
A panel that included journalists, a nonprofit leader, and a pollster examined what the campaign and the results indicate about the current condition of, and, future possibilities for, the country, including the role of the nonprofit community.
A Conversation with Luis Ubiñas
Luis Ubiñas, president of the Ford Foundation, responded to questions from moderator Joel Fleishman of Duke University and from audience members about his vision for maintaining the foundation’s commitment to social justice, particularly as technology, demographics, and economies change.
Douglas Shulman, Commissioner of Internal Revenue
New IRS Commissioner Shulman outlined how the IRS will pursue its two main responsibilities, service and enforcement, focusing on ensuring that the nonprofit community is both accountable and free to innovate in order to benefit people around the country.
Diana Aviv, “On the Threshold of a New Social Compact”
“If the past few months have proven anything, it is that basic ideas about how the elements of American society are organized could and should change,” stated IS President and CEO Diana Aviv during her keynote. She described how charities and foundations must use our powerful voice in the discussions to redefine the “proper balance of public, corporate, civic, and individual responsibility in the American pursuit of happiness.”
Closing Plenary: Beyond Election 2008 --
A New Look at Race and Gender in America
A diverse panel of nonprofit leaders used the campaign as the starting point for an insightful, entertaining discussion of the state of race and gender in the country, including how this year will shape the importance of those issues in the future.
John W. Gardner Leadership Award Dinner
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities Executive Director Robert Greenstein received this year’s Gardner Leadership Award in recognition of his work in promoting rigorous analysis of budget and tax policies, particularly how those decisions will affect low- and moderate-income people. In his remarks, he outlined the financial challenges facing the country and ways in which the U.S. can respond to support the economy and meet the government’s responsibilities.
CEO Summit: The Leadership Moment
Leaders of IS member organizations learned how to identify and respond to key leadership moments from University of Pennsylvania Professor Michael Useem. Using examples from the corporate world, Prof. Useem focused on how to articulate a vision and a strategy for the organization, "honor the room" by conveying confidence in the staff, instill both personal and organizational values, and develop a strong leadership team.
Public Policy Action Institute
At the fifth annual Public Policy Action Institute, more than 100 nonprofit leaders and policy advocates considered how the 2008 elections have changed the political landscape for nonprofits and foundations and explored approaches and tools for communicating effectively with the new administration and Congress, local lawmakers, and the media.
NGen: Moving Nonprofit Leaders from Next to Now
New at the 2008 Annual Conference and carefully integrated into the regular program, NGen offered nonprofit professionals under the age of 40 a series of special sessions addressing issues they face as emerging leaders and providing opportunities to network with leaders of all ages.