Independent Sector

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Independent Sector is a coalition of nonprofits, foundations and corporate giving programs. Founded in 1980, it is the first organization to combine the grant seekers and grantees.

Located in Washington, D.C., Independent Sector largely works on federal policy issues that affect the nonprofit and philanthropic sector, including tax incentives and exemption status of organizations within the sector.

Several other organizational goals include cultivating leaders and emerging leaders, supporting and enhancing organizational effectiveness and ethical practices, and being the vital voice of the sector.


Independent Sector was created in 1980 with the merger of two nonprofit associations: the National Council of Philanthropy and the Coalition of National Voluntary Organizations. The charter meeting was held in Washington, D.C., on March 5, 1980. Brian O'Connell was the first president and John W. Gardner was the first Governing Board Chair.[1]


Diana Aviv is the current President and CEO of Independent Sector.[2] Since its founding in 1980, Independent Sector has had the following board chairs:

Name Term
John W. Gardner, co-founder of Independent Sector 1980–1983
Richard W. Lyman 1984–1986
John H. Filer 1987–1989
Eugene C. Dorsey 1990–1992
Raul Yzaguirre 1993–1995
Barbara Finberg 1996–1998
Peter B. Goldberg 1999–2001
John R. Seffrin 2002–2004
William Trueheart 2005–2007
Brian Gallagher 2008–2010
Stephen B. Heintz 2011–2013


  1. ^ O'Connell, Brian. Powered by Coalition: The Story of INDEPENDENT SECTOR. 1997.
  2. ^ Diana Aviv, President and CEO, Independent Sector: Governance, Accountability, and the Charitable Sector. Foundation Center.

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