Stories from a fascinating life devoted to providing opportunities for citizens to improve their lives, strengthen their communities, and empower democracy.
In this extraordinary memoir, Brian O'Connell traces a lifetime of encouraging citizen participation and influence beginning at the local level and extending to national and international crusades. O'Connell worked with the American Heart Association in its earliest efforts to reduce death and disability from heart attack and stroke, spent twelve years as national head of the Mental Health Association during major breakthroughs in the understanding and treatment of depression, and was on the ground floor of the founding of CIVICUS: World Alliance for Civic Participation. In 1980 he and John Gardner launched Independent Sector, where O'Connell served for 15 years as president and CEO of a vast coalition devoted to strengthening voluntary initiative, philanthropy and civic action. A prolific author, beloved teacher and activist, Brian O'Connell imparts to readers the priceless lessons he gleaned during a lifetime of third-sector experience. These gird his essential and heartfelt mandate to his "successors" in public service: Take pride in America's legacy of voluntary participation and generosity, fortify the volunteer sector, preserve the independence of non-profit organizations, redress the lack of citizen participation in American democracy and, above all, pass these values on to future generations in America and around the globe. Brian O'Connell's reflections celebrate voluntary action and provide practical advice on ensuring its growth and impact in the years ahead.