White House Forum Focuses on Developing Nonprofit Sector Leaders and Potential to Create Jobs in Local Communities

November 15, 2011

NEW YORK, N.Y., November 15, 2011 – Leaders from the nonprofit, corporate and government sectors gathered in Washington, D.C. today to discuss the critical role that nonprofit organizations play in their communities, and the need to develop strong leaders within the sector. The forum was hosted by the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation.

The Forum featured keynote addresses from Melody Barnes, Director of the Domestic Policy Council, Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President, Dr. William Spriggs, Assistant Secretary at the Department of Labor and American Express Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Kenneth I. Chenault; remarks from Cheryl Dorsey, CEO of Echoing Green; and a panel discussion on the challenges facing leadership in the nonprofit sector.

“The nonprofit sector plays a critically important role in addressing many of today’s biggest challenges,” said Kenneth I. Chenault, chairman and chief executive officer, American Express. “The White House Forum is a great way to focus on strategies that can develop the next generation of leaders and help nonprofits deliver on their full potential to serve the communities in which we all live and work.”

Currently, the nonprofit sector employs 10 percent of the U.S. workforce,* and that level could grow over the next several years with additional investment in leadership development.

The Forum’s conveners include a cross-sector group of organizations dedicated to help ensuring the success of the nonprofit sector by investing in leadership. The co-conveners include The Annie E. Casey Foundation, The Aspen Institute Program on Philanthropy and Social Innovation, Center for Creative Leadership, Commongood Careers, Independent Sector, Public Allies and American Express. The American Express Foundation, a leading funder for nonprofit leadership training is one of the first corporate foundations to undertake an initiative specifically designed to build strong leaders within the nonprofit sector, the American Express Leadership Academy.

The Forum also served to coalesce and launch the new “Initiative for Nonprofit Talent and Leadership,” organized by the Forum’s conveners to elevate leadership as a sector priority throughout the months and years to come. During the Forum’s working sessions, participants were challenged to define actionable goals and to commit to viable high-impact strategies to achieve them. The resulting blueprint for a coalition-based action plan will be taken up by the emerging “Initiative for Nonprofit Talent and Leadership” as it works to increase nonprofit impact through ongoing advancements and investments in human capital and leadership development.

The American Express Leadership Academy
In conjunction with the Forum, on Monday, November 14, American Express kicked off its nineteenth American Express Leadership Academy, held for the first time in Washington, D.C. The American Express Leadership Academy is an international training program designed to develop the next generation of leaders in the nonprofit sector. It is conducted in partnership with the Corporation for National Community Service and the nonprofit Center for Creative Leadership, and gives forty-eight high potential nonprofit leaders the opportunity to attend and participate in the inaugural White House Forum. During the Academy, attendees will hear from Theodore J. Leonsis, American Express board member and Founder, chairman, majority owner and CEO of Monumental Sports & Entertainment as well as the United States Trade Representative Ambassador Charlene Barshefsky.

About White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation
The White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation, part of the Domestic Policy Council, engages with individuals, nonprofits, the private sector, and government to foster innovation and work together to make greater and more lasting progress on our Nation’s challenges. The Office is focused on doing business differently by promoting service as a solution and a way to develop community leadership; increasing investment in innovative community solutions that demonstrate results; and developing new models of partnership. For more information: www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/sicp.

About White House Office Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships
The White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, part of the Domestic Policy Council, forms partnerships between government at all levels and non-profit organizations, both secular and faith-based, to more effectively serve Americans in need. This work is done both through the White House Office and through the coordination of 13 Federal Centers for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships located across the federal government. For more information: www.whitehouse.gov/partnerships

About American Express
One of American Express’ three platforms for its philanthropy is Developing New Leaders for Tomorrow. Under this giving initiative, which recognizes the significance of strong leadership in the nonprofit sector, American Express is making grants focused on training high potential emerging leaders to tackle important issues in the 21st century. Learn more at americanexpress.com and connect with us on facebook.com/americanexpress, foursquare.com/americanexpress, linkedin.com/companies/american-express, twitter.com/americanexpress, and youtube.com/americanexpress.

About the Corporation for National and Community Service
The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through its Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America programs, and leads President Obama’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit NationalService.gov.

About the Annie E. Casey Foundation
The Annie E. Casey Foundation is a private charitable organization, whose primary mission is to foster public policies, human-service reforms, and community supports that more effectively meet the needs of today’s vulnerable children and families. Founded in 1948, the Foundation is based in Baltimore and publishes its annual KIDS COUNT Data Book to provide state-by-state information on child well-being across America.

About the Aspen Institute
The Aspen Institute mission is twofold: to foster values-based leadership, encouraging individuals to reflect on the ideals and ideas that define a good society, and to provide a neutral and balanced venue for discussing and acting on critical issues. The Aspen Institute does this primarily in four ways: seminars, young-leader fellowships around the globe, policy programs, and public conferences and events. Its Program on Philanthropy and Social Innovation seeks to maximize the impact of social-sector leaders in contributing to the good society at home and abroad through convenings, leadership development initiatives, communications and strategic partnerships. The Institute is based in Washington, D.C., Aspen, Colorado, and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, and has an international network of partners.

About the Center for Creative LeadershipThe Center for Creative Leadership
(CCL(r)) is a top-ranked, global provider of executive education that helps unlock the potential of individual leaders and organizations through its exclusive focus on leadership education and research. Founded in 1970 as a nonprofit, educational institution, CCL serves more than 20,000 leaders and 2,000 organizations annually in the corporate, education, government and nonprofit sectors

About Commongood Careers
Commongood Careers is a mission-driven search firm that enables innovative nonprofits to recruit and hire the outstanding talent they need to achieve their full potential for social impact. Founded in 2005, Commongood Careers was created by a group of nonprofit professionals who experienced the challenges of recruiting and hiring in their own organizations and knew there must be a solution. Today, Commongood Careers works with over 175 organizations in 29 states, and has completed over 500 searches for positions at all levels of the organizational chart. A proponent for best practices in human capital recruitment and management, Commongood Careers frequently publishes reports, presents workshops, and hosts national convenings of social sector leaders.

About Independent Sector
Independent Sector is a leadership network of 600 nonprofits, foundations, and corporate philanthropy programs, collectively representing tens of thousands of charitable groups in every state across the nation. Its mission is to advance the common good by leading, strengthening, and mobilizing the nonprofit and philanthropic community. To learn more about Independent Sector, please visit: IndependentSector.org

About Public Allies
Public Allies advances new leadership to strengthen communities, nonprofits, and civic participation in 21 communities across the country. Public Allies seeks to inspire people to see new leadership possibilities within themselves and their communities, and to connect people and organizations together to solve problems. Public Allies has identified over 4,400 young leaders (most are young people of color and from low-income communities) with a passion to make a difference and helped them turn that passion into careers working for community and social change. Our AmeriCorps program places these young leaders in local nonprofits where they help expand and improve services and engages them in a rigorous weekly leadership development program. Learn more at www.publicallies.org and www.everyoneleads.org

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