Bill Drayton: "Together we can rise to any challenge"

October 2011 was an action-packed month for Bill Drayton.

In October, Drayton traveled to Oviedo, Spain to accept the Prince of Asturias Award. He was honored in Singapore as this year’s winner of the Social Entrepreneur Award at the World Entrepreneurship Forum. And just last week, Drayton visited Chicago, Illinois where he was honored with the John W. Gardner Leadership Award at the Independent Sector’s Annual Conference.

The prestigious John W. Gardner Leadership Award, established in 1985, recognizes outstanding Americans whose leadership has been a transformative and positive influence in the nonprofit community—mobilizing and unifying people and institutions who are pursuing social good.

“I am deeply moved,” said Drayton before the award ceremony. “First, because John Gardner was a wonderful early advisor. And, second, because it is so very important to have Independent Sector’s community of remarkable leaders focusing with Ashoka’s community of nearly 3,000 of the world’s top social entrepreneurs on how best to build the ‘Everyone a Changemaker World™’ that is now so clearly where we must go.”

Drayton’s leadership, vision, and commitment to the common good has been a tremendous inspiration to the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors, said Diana Aviv, president and CEO of Independent Sector, a nonpartisan leadership network that represents thousands of charitable groups across the United States.

The award ceremony was held at the Fairmont Chicago Hotel, and began with welcoming remarks by emcee Irene Hirano Inouye, president and CEO of the United States-Japan Council. Alberto Ibargüen, president and CEO of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and Bernie Milano, president and trustee of the KPMG Foundation and chair of the 2011 John W. Gardner Leadership Award Committee, also spoke, before introducing Bill Drayton to the audience.

“At this point, we are not over the awareness tipping point,” said Drayton during his leadership address. “It requires courage to stand up and say that the world of repetition (we’ve known for millennia) is being replaced by the world of change, but people here can follow John Gardner's footsteps. Everyone here can make a big contribution, and it's not that hard.

“So this is a John Gardner moment, I believe. He, I think, helped create this institution, so that we can work together to rise to the challenge.”

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Watch Bill Drayton accept the John W. Gardner Leadership Award


Bill Drayton Part One from Independent Sector on Vimeo.


Bill Drayton Part Two from Independent Sector on Vimeo.