Dan Cardinali on Big Bets, Supporting Democracy and Driving Impact

Posted October 19, 2019, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Dan Cardinali, President & CEO of Independent Sector

In this episode of Cas­ey­Cast, the Casey Foun­da­tion Pres­i­dent and CEO Lisa Hamil­ton inter­views Inde­pen­dent Sec­tor Pres­i­dent and CEO Dan Cardinali.

Found­ed in 1976, Inde­pen­dent Sec­tor brings togeth­er the char­i­ta­ble com­mu­ni­ty — a diverse set of non­prof­its, foun­da­tions and cor­po­ra­tions — to pro­mote and advance the com­mon good.

Dur­ing the inter­view, Hamil­ton and Car­di­nali check in on America’s non­prof­it sec­tor and dis­cuss how it is unique­ly posi­tioned — and, in many ways, bet­ter suit­ed than the gov­ern­ment and busi­ness com­mu­ni­ties — to tack­le com­plex social issues and dri­ve impact for the com­mon good.

A big thank you to Dan Car­di­nali for chat­ting with us!

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In This Episode on Com­mu­ni­ty Change, You’ll Learn

  • About the Inde­pen­dent Sec­tor and its history.
  • How Inde­pen­dent Sec­tor serves as a mega­phone for mar­gin­al­ized populations.
  • What Big Bets are and why they are important.
  • Skills that the next gen­er­a­tion of non­prof­it lead­ers must have.
  • How today’s non­prof­it lead­ers are far­ing in grap­pling with racial equity.
  • The last­ing impact of Casey’s Chil­dren and Fam­i­ly Fel­low­ship program.
  • What is pre­vent­ing the non­prof­it sec­tor from engag­ing in more sys­tems change work.
  • Advice to new non­prof­its that are still pur­su­ing their tar­get impact.

In Dan Cardinali’s own words…

Voice mat­ters. Who gets input into where we put our time and the resources we have — and how we lever­age that to change pub­lic per­cep­tion and advo­cate for pol­i­cy — is critical.”

The U.S. is prob­a­bly still one of the most impor­tant exam­ples of the exper­i­ment where mul­ti­di­men­sion­al, mul­tira­cial democ­ra­cy is able to nav­i­gate a plu­ral­is­tic set of expe­ri­ences and come up with com­mon solu­tions. And I think we’re at a time when that is under siege.”

There is a fair amount of con­ser­vatism, cer­tain­ly among both non­prof­it and phil­an­thropic insti­tu­tions, about what is con­sid­ered per­mis­si­ble in terms of sys­tems work and specif­i­cal­ly around advocacy.” 

I’ve been at many, many pol­i­cy tables where the non­prof­it is brought in as the con­trac­tor to the pol­i­cy after it’s already been for­mu­lat­ed — not as the expert that could help real­ly devel­op poli­cies that might be much, much more far reach­ing in their sys­temic impact.”

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About the Podcast

Cas­ey­Cast is a pod­cast pro­duced by the Casey Foun­da­tion and host­ed by its Pres­i­dent and CEO Lisa Hamil­ton. Each episode fea­tures Hamil­ton talk­ing with a new expert about how we can build a brighter future for kids, fam­i­lies and communities.

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