Sam Worthington's blog

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:

NGOs Further Democratizing Aid and Development

InterAction members spending over $4 billion in private resources for community-driven efforts in Africa

U.S. NGOs investing to help children reach their 5th birthday

In 2015, InterAction’s member NGOs will spend over $450 million in private, nongovernmental funds on child health and survival, a substantial increase over this year’s spending. These dollars will allow children around the world to reach their fifth birthdays and lead healthy, productive lives. Having worked for years to advance the wellbeing of children, I know firsthand why these investments are so critical.

USAID And InterAction Sign Landmark Development Partnership - And Now The Work Starts

USAID and InterAction have just announced a first-of-its-kind agreement in a major effort to accelerate progress in the global fight against hunger and malnutrition. The agreement, signed May 19 on Capitol Hill, aims to maximize the impact of USAID and U.S. NGOs’ global food security and nutrition efforts – and it represents a landmark commitment by long-standing partners to collaborate in new ways to end hunger.

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