Collaboration news

2021 Annual Meeting Highlights

August 31, 2021

On Monday, August 23, we held our 2021 Annual Meeting virtually hosted by Board Chair Jeff Fleischer (CEO of Youth Advocate Programs, Inc.) and National Assembly Executive Director Victor Valentine. The well attended webinar also featured opening remarks from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra.


The meeting had a robust slate of presenters on a diverse range of topics that align with the strategic priorities and initiatives of NHSA that followed what Mr. Valentine and the Secretary presented onThe convening embodied the collaborative spirit of the organization and included presentations from other key leaders in human services: 

  • Darlyne Bailey (Social Justice Initiative at Bryn Mawr College) about the “On the Road to Unlocked!” series, which has its next session coming in October, focused on youth diversion and the community-based continuum of care model for juvenile justice. 
  • Monisha Kapila (ProInspire) on racial equity and diversity in organization leadership at all levels of the sector, expanding on the recently released “Leadership Model for Race Equity Impact.” 
  • John Maki (Alliance for Safety and Justice) about advocating for premium pay for eligible essential frontline workers in human services as part of the American Rescue Plan, following his recent guest blog on the topic. 
  • Ruth Sigei (PurchasingPoint®) on saving nonprofits more money for their missions through NHSA’s group purchasing program, PurchasingPoint®, where participants have experienced an estimated lifetime savings of over $212 million. 

Watch the full livestreamed meeting on our YouTube channel and download the set of presentation slides from our website. 



We were pleased to welcome Secretary Xavier Becerra as the opening keynote speaker. In his remarks, Secretary Becerra thanked the National Assembly and other sector leaders while addressing the visible and formidable gaps in community-level services that the pandemic has exposed. The Secretary called upon human service organizations to lead as both experts and nimble responders in positively influencing communities.

Secretary Becerra commented, “We obviously are not done… We saw through COVID where we need to go. The gaps in our system were fully exposed… In the richest, most dynamic country in the world, we still were not reaching everyone in America. That we still were leaving people behind.”

He went on to say, “I think all of us understand that these gaps we see in America require us to get in the way. To say, no more can we allow those pockets of our communities to be left behind… You have to get into trouble, good trouble… I want to help you get into good trouble. President Biden wants to help you get into good trouble… [and] as you go, we’re going to be right there with you.”


In a time of social and political discord, the Secretary’s comments were reassuring and refreshing for our sector to hear. Knowing that we have overwhelming support from this Administration empowers us to continue our critical work.

With that in mind, consider this call to action: In an unprecedented time of change and communities even more in need, we call on all of us as a collective sector and body to work towards making the greatest impact on the overall well-being of American communities.