Connections Sessions

A platform to amplify the issues most important to you

The Independent Sector conference thrives on the energy produced when passionate leaders from diverse organizations of every size and mission come face-to-face. The conference is your chance to build relationships – and generate solutions – with peers who you might never otherwise meet.

With so much knowledge and experience under one roof, Independent Sector designed Connections Sessions to provide IS members a platform for leading discussions on the issues most important to them.

Wednesday, Oct. 28

4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Big Leadership: Nonprofit Role in Defining our Future

Discuss the role of nonprofits to bridge multiple sectors for a shared vision of long-term change with the “Quality of Life” framework.

Leader: Heather Iliff, Maryland Nonprofits


A Fearless Approach to Changemaking

An interactive look at the new Be Fearless Action Guide, with guidance to bring a fearless approach to social problem solving.

Leader: Sarah Koch, The Case Foundation


Media Connections and Garnering Coverage for Your Organization

Learn do’s and don’ts of media relations to position your organization for maximum media coverage.

Leader: Lisa Sauder, Bean’s Café


Linking with Nonprofits in Japan

Learn about collaboration with global partners including nonprofit organizations in Japan as part of enhancing U.S. and Japanese ties at the charitable sector level.

Leader: Irene Hirano Inouye, U.S.-Japan Council; Yoshiharu Shiraishi, The Japan Association of Charitable Organizations


Leveraging Human Capital Management Best Practices for Greater Social Impact

Consider leadership development best practices based on the fundamental need to have the right people in the right jobs to achieve strategic goals and greater mission impact.

Leader: Mikaela Seligman, AchieveMission


Scaling Up: Building Fast Growth Organizations

Learn key ingredients of fast growing organizations and discuss best practices that your organization can adopt quickly.
Leader: Gil Bonwitt, Gazelles Social Initiatives


Getting the Data to Work: Strategies to Successfully Leverage Data to Target Services and Prove Impact

Find out how to leverage data to support those most in need of services including how data can be used to inform research design, develop project estimates, measure adherence, and provide reports to stakeholders.

Leaders: DeAnna Minus-Vincent and Ginger Zielinkskie, Benefits Data Trust


China Forward: Comparative Philanthropic & Nonprofit Culture with the United States

While China has growing wealth, it also has great needs that could be addressed by philanthropy and an emerging nonprofit sector; hear insights from Stanford’s campus at Peking University.

Leader: Kim Meredith, Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society

Building an Effective and Reflective Democracy: Expanding Voting Rights, Leveling the Playing Field, and Engaging Citizens

The charitable and philanthropic sector has a critical role to play in engaging people in everyday democracy; how can we expand that work and best play that role?

Leaders: Wendy Field, Miles Rapoport, Common Cause


Poverty, Inequality, and the Power of State Budgets

Explore the philanthropic community’s increasing engagement with state policy to address inequality.

Leaders: David Biemesderfer, Florida Philanthropic Network; Nicolas Johnson, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities


Successfully Evaluating Membership Organizations

Discuss how membership organizations should evaluate programs and how to strike a medium between indirect activities that are difficult to measure, and what funders need to see to determine their return on investment.

Leader: Lori James, Tampa Bay Healthcare Collaborative


Arts Engagement and Corporate Success: New Research

Learn about the results of new research on corporate perceptions of how arts engagement and education connects to workforce skills and success.

Leader: Bruce Whitacre, Theatre Forward


Working with Organized Labor: Why and How

Despite increasing collaboration between organized labor and community-based organizations and philanthropy, many nonprofits do not know how to approach the labor movement; learn from United Way’s years of partnership with the labor movement.

Leader: Ana Avendaño, United Way Worldwide


Cultivating the Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship Ecosystem in Your City: What Works and What Doesn’t for Nonprofits

Few cities have the right ingredients to cultivate social innovation and entrepreneurship among nonprofits; this session will discuss what’s worked (and what hasn’t) in different cities with an opportunity to brainstorm local solutions.

Leader: Lauren Harper, Center for Social Change


More Than Grants: Employee Development as the Key to Growing Your Impact

The Bush Foundation invests significantly in developing the skills and leadership capacity of its employees using a portfolio of activities to help staff think bigger and think differently to do more good in communities the foundation serves.

Leaders: Stephanie Andrews, Duchesne Drew, Dominick Washington, Bush Foundation


Capacity Building 3.0: Recasting the WHO, WHAT and HOW of increasing social sector Impact

CB 3.0, a targeted capacity building process and framework is grounded in the notion that building the capacity of all actors in any social sector ecosystem depends on the development of “relational capacity.”

Leader: Julie Simpson, TCC Group

Thursday, Oct. 29

10:30 am - 11:30 AM

Place Matters: The Intersection of Health and Housing

Explore connections between zip code and life outcomes as they relate to discriminatory housing practices and how new rules may improve neighborhood outcomes.

Leader: Michael Marsh, Toledo Fair Housing Center


Collaboration Beyond the Grant Agreement: Creative Approaches to Nonprofit/Foundation Partnership

Learn about collaborations that extend beyond dollars into actual programmatic collaborations and mutually supportive partnerships.

Leaders: Kyle Bozentko, Jefferson Center; Kyle Kutuchief, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation


Cleaning-up Post-Disaster Giving

Discuss SmartResponse, a new platform to help philanthropy identify organizations with the greatest capacity for disaster relief.

Leaders: Ankush Bansal and Ben Smilowitz, Disaster Accountability Project


Inventing Digital Civil Society

Discuss the Digital Civil Society Lab’s work on a new tool to support the ethical, safe, and effective use of digital data by nonprofits and foundations.

Leader: Lucy Bernholz, Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society


The Secrets of a Strong Relationship with Your Board

Discuss strategies to keep your board informed and engaged, building a strong relationship with a new board chair, and advice for first-time CEOs. Recommended for nonprofit CEOs and Executive Directors.

Leaders: Vernetta Walker and Anne Wallestad, BoardSource


The Rights of Haitians in the Dominican Republic

Join a meaningful discussion of the situation of deportations of Haitians in the Dominican Republic and potential ways to respond.

Leader: Diana Campoamor, Hispanics in Philanthropy


Transitioning From a “Needs-Driven” to a “Value-Driven” Organization

Discuss what agencies can to do position themselves for growth and how to demonstrate return on investment in a new economic environment to satisfy funders’ requirements.

Leaders: Brandi Jahnke, Brad Lambert, Kathy Lambert, and Napoleon Williams III, Connections to Success

The Performance Imperative: A Framework for Social Sector Excellence

Explore the development and adoption of “The Performance Imperative” including how leaders are strengthening their own organizations using this framework designed to inspire greater societal impact.

Leaders: Adrian Bordone, Leap of Reason; Mary Winkler, Urban Institute on Nonprofits and Philanthropy


The Unique Bridging Capacities of Local Organizations

Discuss the power of local organizations’ bridging capabilities and deep knowledge of community needs. This session recommended for organizations working with children’s causes.

Leader: Stephanie Sylvestre, The Children’s Trust


Indivisible: Reclaiming Government for America’s Future

Brainstorm the sector’s role in changing expectations of government and imagine government working to create opportunities for all.

Leader: Dianne Stewart, Indivisible


Tips and Tasks for Working Effectively as a Consultant and a Client in Social Change Efforts

What does it take to be effective as a consultant? How do you hire an effective consultant and what expectations should you have?

Leader: Saphira Baker, Communitas Consulting


Voting Information Project

Voting Information Project has provided millions of American voters with information and free tools about elections and voting; learn how you can partner with Pew to use these tools and help voters.

Leader: David Becker, The Pew Charitable Trusts


Keeping up with disruption: How nonprofit human service organizations are adapting to the digital age

How human service organizations adopt technology innovations for internal service delivery and external sustainability purposes; discussion of nonprofit leaders approaching new technology with caution instead of quick adoption.

Leader: Lauri Goldkind, Graduate School of Social Service, Fordham University