Centennial Summit HighlightsNovember 2, 2023
Thank you to all who attended and contributed to the success of our recent Centennial Summit: Advancing Human Services. On behalf of the NHSA Board of Directors, our staff, our member organizations, and the thousands of partners that make up our vast networks, I am pleased to share with you this summary of the event.
On October 12, the National Human Services Assembly marked a milestone that few organizations are fortunate enough to experience. We celebrated one hundred years of service to the human services sector and, by extension, nearly every community across America. This virtual event, meticulously crafted by the NHSA team and supported by key expert stakeholders, welcomed over 100 leaders from every corner of the country and discipline. From frontline social workers, heads of national nonprofit networks, foundation leaders, and educators, the information we shared was only outdone by the inspiration we received.
For example, keynote speakers included Dr. Anthony Estreet (below left), CEO of the National Association of Social Workers, Dr. Akilah Watkins (below middle), President and CEO of Independent Sector, and NHSA’s Board Chair, Dr. Darlyne Bailey (below right) of Bryn Mawr College. Combined, their encouraging remarks covered a bevy of topics including the state of the sector, a call for collaboration, key public policy initiatives, and a walkthrough of NHSA’s century-long history—one that is largely founded in social work.
As NHSA’s Executive Director, it was a distinct honor to serve as the summit’s host and to also add my voice to such a powerful collective of thinkers and pioneers. Moreover, the summit included four breakout sessions covering timely and critical issues facing the sector and featured national experts on matters such as DEI, ESG, employee well-being, and funding.
Key Discussions During the Breakout Sessions
- Combating the significant reversal and backlash associated with funding increases to organizations led by and serving communities of color.
- Utilizing a commitment to good Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) practices to recruit and retain “next gen” workers.
- The need for funders to be proactive in asking about wellness-related funding, such as sabbaticals, and the importance of engaging in conversations about these emerging needs.
- Responding to current shifts in funding towards the environment, wealth gap/inequality, and other key topics.
In 2024, NHSA will be utilizing future convenings to continue the momentum generated by the summit. These offerings will proactively use our learnings to build consensus and promote best practices for capacity-building, service delivery, and public policy.
As a small gift to you, accompanying this letter is an e-booklet providing key historical highlights from the sector and NHSA’s work over our 100 years. As you enjoy this virtual walk through of our many accomplishments together, we hope that those of you who have not yet joined NHSA will consider linking up and adding your energy to our collective efforts through membership.
Victor Valentine, NHSA Executive Director