You’d excuse a nonprofit executive for looking to the sky and expecting frogs to be raining down. There are words to describe the past year but they either fall short of comprehensiveness or you simply can’t print them in a professional publication.
The year was a showcase of frontline heroes, many of whom were tied to nonprofits, and leaders who with their staffs found a way to adapt and overcome the hardship of a 100-year pandemic.
There has been voluminous coverage of the hardships but little mention of the reality that the sector’s response was years in the making. The evolution of thinking, planning and implementation of 360-degree services focusing on shelter, food and healthcare is what held a nation together. Executives in some cases risked their lives – staring down threats to personal safety – to ensure those who needed help got as much as could be mustered.
The year quite possibly launched a new era in philanthropy, with major donors and foundations eliminating the red tape and strings attached to funding. Infrastructure is finally receiving deserved respect.
The leaders highlighted in this 24th annual NPT Power & Influence Top 50 have distinguished themselves as initiators, innovators and leaders. An important criteria of the list is that the honoree must be a working day-in, day-out executive. In many cases this year day-in, day-out was 24/7/365 and still going.
The 2021 honorees were selected from a group of roughly 300 top executives. A committee of The NPT editorial staff, contributors and a few executives plugged in to executive movement were involved in the selection process. This is not a lifetime achievement award. The executives must have had an impact during the previous 12 months.
There is quite a bit of turnover in this year’s roll call. There are 16 new honorees on the 2021 honor roll and four executives returning to the list after a hiatus.
The fine china will be rolled out for honorees and their guests as they are feted in Washington, D.C., next month during the annual NPT Power & Influence Top 50 Gala at The National Press Club. Event sponsors include Mitch-Stuart, Inc., Moore, Grant Thornton, EveryAction, JMT Consulting, and data axle. One of the honorees will receive the NPT Innovator of the Year award. -- Paul Clolery, NPT vice president & editorial director