Sam Worthington's blog

Now, More Than Ever U.S. Must Lead

Today, roughly 20 million people in four different countries face the specter of starvation, including an already declared famine in South Sudan. This disaster puts an all too human face on one of the most morally compelling reasons the U.S. must retain its ability to be positively engaged with the rest of the world. 

Thankful for Partners

As the holiday season begins in the U.S. with families and friends gathering around tables for Thanksgiving, I am beginning to reflect on this past year. A lot was quite sobering. Some citizens are voting to have their countries turn inwards and embracing fear at a time when we are facing global crises that require collective action. Humanitarian crises continue unabated and children still die from hunger. Thankfully there are also many positive trends that you might want to share with family and friends.

Honoring Michael Elliott – An Innovative Leader And Friend

Michael Elliott lived his life to the fullest. He was a friend, a colleague, and a dedicated champion in efforts to increase the collective ability of civil society to make the world a more peaceful, just, and prosperous place.

It is with a heavy heart that I learned of his passing July 14. He will be sorely missed within the InterAction community, but his legacy will live on. He left the world a better place.

A Legacy of Leadership: Recognizing David Beckmann

As CEO of InterAction – the largest coalition of U.S.-based non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and partners – I have met many uniquely impressive leaders.

These individuals inspire others, both from within the NGO sector and outside of it, to advocate for a more equal and just world. They spark innovation and encourage partnerships across physical and intangible borders. They make a lasting impact.

NGOs Must Evolve, Realign, and Reinvent

In a meeting with a group of international nonprofit CEOs, one organization recently stated that all of its programs frequently impact 100 million people per year worldwide. This is indicative of the significant influence one large U.S. NGO has amongst thousands. So what is the role of U.S. NGOs in addressing critical global challenges over the coming decades? This summer at our annual Forum, I addressed the broader community with a set of overarching recommendations.

What We Mean by “Civic Space” and Where We’re Pushing Back

What is civic space? It’s the ability for health clinics to operate freely towards eradicating polio in Pakistan, it enables humanitarians to rapidly deliver shelter after a hurricane in the Philippines, and it is imperative to the fight for greater justice and equality in South Africa, and here at home. Or, for that matter, it is the ability of people-based organizations to fight against injustices or for human well-being anywhere.

Nepal: A Call to Action

Six months ago many in the humanitarian system wondered if it was the worst it has ever been, with crises in Syria, South Sudan, and the Central Africa Republic. Then came Ebola. And Yemen. And now Nepal. The thing is, we are all part of a larger system. And that system is overstretched. It takes individual and institutional supporters to provide the flexibility demanded to quickly respond in these high-stakes situations.

A New Strategic Framework

I have returned from a relaxing and rejuvenating three-month sabbatical. I would like to thank Lindsay Coates for her strong and effective leadership as acting president & CEO during my absence. After fruitful discussions with InterAction members, staff, leadership, and various stakeholders, both Lindsay and I are proud to announce that the Board has finalized InterAction’s 2015-18 Strategic Plan.

The Evolving Role and Future Relevance of the US NGO Sector

After 8 years serving at the helm of InterAction, the Board has graciously offered me a sabbatical, from later this month to early April, 2015. During this period I will have no access to e-mail, or any InterAction related work, and I welcome this opportunity to recharge and relax.  I am honored that for a part of the next three months I will be a resident policy fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center in Italy.  This is a welcomed chance to reflect upon our sector’s relevancy and evolving role.

Dispelling the Myth: An Evolving Relationship between NGOs and Private Businesses

A common misperception regarding NGO-private sector relations is one based on mutual distrust and occasional confrontation; or with the advent of corporate social responsibility funding, one solely based on donor-recipient transactions. With the international development landscape rapidly evolving, some historical and present-day assumptions are simply inaccurate.

The following statements are not true of operational U.S. NGOs:

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