Independent Sector President Diana Aviv said today that the recent economic meltdown and the election of Barack Obama as President have challenged recent assumptions and have thrust nonprofit organizations and foundations into an unfamiliar role.
No longer are nonprofit organizations mere stewards of government grants and private-sector donations. Instead, they must become true advocates for change in the way government and the free market operate.
“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 that discussion,” Ms. Aviv said in a speech at Independent Sector’s annual meeting today in Philadelphia.
“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.
“The great national re-imagining that is poised to take place must draw a good part of its moral and intellectual inspiration from the nonprofit community. From us — individually and collectively. From our ideas and actions.
“Government and business have recognized that our commitment to the greater good over individual gain is our enduring virtue; this puts us in a unique position to speak up now — when the good needs to be so much greater.”