- Mon, November 10 2008
- Filed under: Nonprofit leadership
An excerpt from Diane Aviv’s keynote at Independent Sector:
This election season has ignited, for many, a newfound interest in the well-being of our polity. As millions of people enter the public square for the first time or return after a long absence, heeding a loud national call for hope and unity, our organizations should be there to embrace them—to help convert their fresh ideas into real-world change, to help transform their enthusiasm into bold new action.
If we stand, as I believe we do, at a moment of profound rethinking about the American social compact, then the values of mutual concern and shared responsibility that unite us must be central to the discussion. We must use our voice — the organized expression of what we collectively call the independent sector, a voice founded on the values and aspirations that are embedded in the work we do.
–When we address matters of public policy, we tend to do so from our respective corners of expertise. We may have something to say about health or child welfare, about the arts or education or urban planning. We haven’t, though, had a common message about the fundamental rules and principles that would keep the economy strong, provide for urgent needs, and make sure the bills are paid. It is time we found our voice not only on the issues directly related to our missions, but on the issues that will determine whether we or our neighbors have the means to discharge our missions at all.
–The surest way for us to grow stronger—for civil society to rise to the mounting challenges that the current moment presents us—is to ensure that we are not charting our future in isolation. The purpose of a new social compact—beginning now, in the extraordinary weeks and months we are living through—will be to weave a new, more durable, more responsible web of interlocking obligations among all the sectors of society and then with our partners in all corners of the globe. We are well equipped to participate vigorously in serving that purpose. What’s more, we need to participate, for the sake of our missions, and of all the things we hope to achieve.