Cardinali Resigns As CEO Of Independent Sector

Dan Cardinali is leaving his post at the helm of Independent Sector (IS) in Washington, D.C. He joined the organization as a board member in 2015 and became president and chief executive officer in 2016.

The IS board, chaired by Fred Blackwell who is president and CEO of The San Francisco Foundation, is getting ready to start a search. Cardinali will stay in the position until a new leader is selected and a transition is complete, he said via a statement.

Independent Sector is the national membership organization that brings together a diverse community of leaders from nonprofits, foundations, and corporate giving programs to strengthen civil society. The mission is to foster a sense of belonging, catalyzing action, and providing policy leadership across charitable sector. Members include both some of the nation’s largest and smallest organizations.

Cardinali said he plans some time off and then to take a somewhat new professional direction. “After a 35-year career in the sector, I am going to take a sabbatical to focus on interrogating a number of philosophical and theological questions that have guided my life and work. Specifically, I have set up a course of study around common good, justice, and individual/collective flourishing with theologian James Alison,” he said via the statement.

“I imagine it won’t be too long before I’m back working with colleagues in civil society around this framing, which I know guides many of our missions. But for now, I am incredibly excited to focus on this passion at my own pace,” he said via the statement.

Prior to IS, Cardinali led Communities In Schools in Arlington, Va., the nation’s largest and most effective dropout prevention organization, for 12 years after working in other positions at the organization. He has been credited with fostering the growing national trend toward community involvement in schools through partnerships with parents, businesses, policymakers, and local nonprofit groups.

Early in this career, Cardinali worked as a community organizer in Guadalajara, Mexico organizing a squatter community to secure land rights, running water, and public education. He then returned to Washington, D.C., for a research fellowship at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University.

Cardinali was a 2007 Annie E. Casey Children and Families Fellow, serves on the board of Child Trends and the advisory boards of Harvard Business Schools’ Social Enterprise Initiative, the Conference Board’s Center on Corporate Citizenship and Philanthropy, and Project Evident. He is also a trustee of The Fetzer Institute.  He was selected to The NonProfit Times’ annual Power & Influence Top 50 six times beginning in 2016.