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What have we learned from this past year, and how can it help nonprofits adapt and increase their impact? Day 1 of On Board 2021 tackled these questions with the keynote session “Looking Back: Learning from the Past to Build a Better Future.” Speakers reflected on how the year's interconnected and confounding challenges—a global pandemic and its devastating economic consequences and a long-overdue prospect for racial reckoning—are forcing nonprofits to adapt, pivot, and reimagine the possibilities of their work.

Speakers included:

  • Gloria Castillo, Director, We Rise Together
  • Bradford Smith, President, Candid
  • Kevin Washington, President and CEO, YMCA of the USA
  • Julia Stasch, Philanthropy Executive in Residence, Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation (Moderator)

Quote of the Day

"To meet current needs and long-term social and environmental challenges, we need viable organizations, and viable organizations need flexible institutional support” — Bradford Smith, President, Candid

Three Takeaways from the Conversation

Because of the pandemic, many nonprofits had to find new sources of funding, seeking out individual philanthropists to support their communities in response to the year’s various challenges

Social sector leaders said more donors eased or eliminated restrictions for how gifts and grants must be spent, allowing nonprofits to use funds to pay for overhead and other operations-related costs. They advocated for this type of gift flexibility to continue after the pandemicPanelists highlighted the role boards are playing in helping nonprofits push forward anti-racist missions and create an equitable recovery to the pandemic. They agreed that a unified multi-sector approach with community member voices at the center is crucial to making decisions in the best interest of those that they serve

To learn more about On Board agenda or register for a future session, click here.

Read about On Board 2021 Day 2

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