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Year-End Message from the Executive Director

December 20, 2021

Season’s Greetings NHSA Members and Partners!

As the end of the year approaches, I find myself thankful for my first eight months serving as the Executive Director for the National Human Services Assembly. Whether it has been collaborating with the board, staff, member representatives, partners, or supporters, I am fortunate to be in the company of such compassionate and knowledgeable leaders.

Even more inspiring is the energy each of you continues to give in the face of so many of the nation’s current health, economic and social challenges. While the time has approached for many of us to pause and reconnect with family, friends, and most importantly… ourselves… I am encouraged at the prospects that 2022 will bring for the National Assembly and the communities we serve. My enthusiasm is bolstered by all of the life-changing work our members do daily. Among these monumental efforts are those we featured, and will continue to do so, in our NHSA Exchange newsletter, such as:

  • The Arc organizes sign-on letters to secure core funding for our disabled & aging communities.
  • Generations United publishes multiple toolkits to serve multi-generation families from a diverse range of communities, cultures and backgrounds.
  • The Dibble Institute makes even more programs and resources free for youth access amid challenging times.
  • Nonprofit Leadership Alliance offers online Social Justice training course for free.
  • Youth Advocate Programs, Inc., in partnership with The Social Justice Initiative at Bryn Mawr College and NHSA, holds additional Unlocked! sessions.

Next year, the National Assembly will continue to “get into good trouble” – as US Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra encouraged us to do during his keynote appearance at our 2021 Annual Meeting in August.

We started this “good trouble” this past year in two ways. Given our role and ability to leverage the voices of national leaders and thousands of practitioners at the regional and local levels, NHSA found itself as both a convener of the sector and as a disruptor of policies and practices that negatively affect the lives of Americans. As a convener, the National Assembly reactivated its learning series in 2021 featuring sessions focused on weaving equity into organizational development, juvenile justice diversion strategies, and methods to effectively engage philanthropic partners.

In 2022, NHSA will be relaunching its peer learning councils to continue these and other important conversations. We are excited that many of our members have already agreed to lead and participate in the following councils slated to begin in the first quarter:

  • CEO Roundtable
  • DEI Council
  • Human Resources Peer Council
  • National Collaboration for Youth
  • Washington Policy Council

As a disruptor to current economic downturns, the National Assembly through its subsidiary, National Assembly Business Services, continued to advance its PurchasingPoint® group purchasing program – exceeding projections by more than 38% for 2021. The main reason for this was the addition of over 400 new participating nonprofits with savings to all active users of upwards of $9 million. Moreover, the program prioritized the highlighting and promotion of diverse vendors so that more providers of needed goods and services to the sector could be accessed.

Financially, like many nonprofits across the country challenged by current economic uncertainties, the National Assembly continued to examine the way it conducts business and ensure its viability through streamlined and sound fiscal practices. Through the tremendous efforts of our finance and audit teams, once again, NHSA received a “clean” audit and is poised for growth in 2022. Whether maximizing our electronic communications, automating our business processes, or like so many others, fully leaning into the virtual meeting space, NHSA is embracing technology as a preferred method of back-office activity.

To maintain a high level of member engagement, and in direct response to the many limits and prohibitions brought on by COVID, the National Assembly moved its external communications to various online and social media platforms. Our website remains an active hub of information and thought-provoking commentary, our LinkedIn page has become a strong conduit for connectivity, and for the first time ever, we broadcast our annual meeting live on two virtual platforms, Zoom and YouTube. Though these changes are yielding many benefits, our hope remains that we can find some opportunities to safely come together in-person in the near future—a practice we now appreciate more than ever.

In closing and in the same spirit of appreciation, I am reminded of a recent conversation we as a staff had at our year-end meeting. Though recent times have proven to be stressful to body, mind, and spirit with the loss of social freedoms, economic viability, and in the worst of cases… our precious loved ones, there remains hope. This hope is rooted in the triumphant human spirit exhibited by the dozens of people we engage regularly who themselves serve millions nationwide. Therefore, when we return at the changing of the calendar year, we will be ready to do even more. We will also be looking for our current members plus new and diverse ones to help us collectively build and strengthen the sector.

Nevertheless, as we take our respective respites from our daily labors, please remember those who are near, far, and no longer with us. Celebrate life, recharge, and consider joining us in 2022 as we get into even more “good trouble”!

Wishing You All Good Tidings of Joy!

Victor Valentine, Executive Director, NHSA