Introducing The Skillman Visionary Awards

Independent Sector


Founded in 1980, Independent Sector is the only national membership organization that brings together a diverse set of nonprofits, foundations, and corporations to advance the common good. From the biggest foundations to local charities, with staffs from 35,000 to 2, our membership of nearly 500 organizations consists of nonprofits, foundations, and corporations from around the United States engaged in every kind of charitable endeavor. We are the “vital meeting ground” for America’s changemakers and problem-solvers. We seek to be the place where vision and strategy come together, where dreamers and doers find common ground. This is “The Great Shared Task,” as our founder John W. Gardner put it.

Independent Sector works toward an American society in which all people thrive. “All people” thriving requires dedicated and robust focus on those who are most burdened in US society. IS can only reach its result if those communities thrive. Specifically, this means Native communities, Black communities, and communities of color must be thriving. In order for all people in the US to thrive, a healthy, vibrant civil society is a necessary condition. IS is uniquely positioned and charged with playing a catalytic leadership role to ensure civil society as a whole is fully unleashed to play its part in ensuring all people thrive.

With this clear result in mind, IS has developed three inter-related strategies designed to achieve the following outcomes:

Accelerating Impact: Sector leaders, organizations, and policy-makers have the data-driven, knowledge products they need to make decisions that ensure a strong nonprofit sector and robust civil society in America.
IS helps the sector tell its story and prove its impact. Working in collaboration with others, we create, curate, and disseminate knowledge designed to help organizations respond to challenges and opportunities, increase their effectiveness, and fulfill their missions. This includes strengthening the sector’s knowledge and practice of diversity, equity, and inclusion as core to what it means to be an effective and impactful member of the sector.

Community Building: Leadership of civil society is democratized to more equitably unleash private action for public good.
Our sector is vast and diverse, with infinite ideas for solving intractable problems. That is why community building drives and informs all that we do at IS. By bringing together the best minds and the biggest hearts, we can do better at doing good. This includes always ensuring that our changemaker community is as diverse and inclusive as those we serve.

Policy Leadership: Policies and norms are promoted that support and reinforce a healthy civil society.
As the voice of the sector, we seek to play a positive, proactive role in helping to craft laws and regulations that advance the common good. By educating policymakers on both need and impact, we help create an environment where charity can thrive. This includes evaluating the equity dimensions of policies affecting the charitable sector.

Independent Sector membership gives your organization’s entire staff access to the best ideas, insights, and connections in the sector:

· Access to in-depth research, insights, and analysis about key sector trends in The Digest, our weekly newsletter exclusively for IS
· Exclusive access to public policy analysis through a Monthly Policy Update webinar
· Invitations to intimate members-only events, including community-building and networking experiences with other member
· Members-only committee gatherings
· Opportunities to use Independent Sector’s national reach to showcase your work through media opportunities and as content
· Exclusive Upswell discounts and events – we will have four Upswell Pop-Ups this year and a virtual summit this fall.