Live From IS: Independent Sector Launches Upswell

DETROIT — Independent Sector (IS) is repositioning its national conference and replacing it with a gathering called Upswell, relying on local, state and national individuals to embed in a community and to spread what has been learned to a national audience.

IS President and CEO Daniel Cardinali called it “a SXSW of the social sector.” He said the conference now is “one and done” when it comes to passing along programming. The first Upswell national event will be next year, Nov. 14-16, in Los Angeles. He described it as a “social change and learning experience.”

Upswell will give changemakers the opportunity to participate in community-based events and action-oriented experiences to learn, network, and prototype solutions to critical social and environmental challenges with local importance and national relevance, culminating in a major annual event, according to information from the organization.

Changemakers are described as individuals who are committed to advancing the common good, wherever they operate: locally and nationally, across nonprofits, foundations, community groups, social movements, research communities, and businesses doing good. It is intended to provide a richer, more meaningful, and long-lasting event.

Independent Sector has already begun the planning necessary to connect the learnings and deep relationships built at its “Our Common Future” conference going on this week here.

“At the most basic human level, people are successful in creating positive social change through relationship and service to one another,” said Cardinali. “We are looking at how we can get back to these fundamentals to ensure we are deeply understanding of the communities we visit on an annual basis and take those learnings to the national level for all changemakers.”

Before convening in Los Angeles, IS will work with local leaders and trained community organizers to identify challenges that are locally grounded and nationally relevant. There were such connections for this conference in Detroit.

There will be yearlong, place-based engagement that will serve as the scaffolding for the Upswell experience, and the lessons from Los Angeles will inform a similar engagement process for Upswell 2019 in Chicago, Cardinali said.

For more information, visit upswell.org