An Update on Upswell 2020

An Update on Upswell 2020

// By Christian Clansky

Everything feels uncertain at the moment. That’s the reality. And with widespread cancellations and postponements happening at an unprecedented scale, you’re probably wondering what’s going on with Upswell.

So, we want to share a few important updates.

Most importantly, we’re still putting every ounce of energy we have into designing a powerful experience for this October 14-16 in Pittsburgh. We’ll proceed with safety as our highest priority, of course, but our hope is that the world will be a healthier place seven months from now.

At the same time, we’re not planning for a “back to normal” event. We’re not sure what the new normal will be in the months ahead, but it seems certain that the world will be permanently changed by this pandemic.

We are sure – and unwaveringly so – that the social sector is the force for good that will step up, as it always does in times of need, to lead toward a brighter future.

Accordingly, we’re pivoting in our planning to ensure that Upswell is where we can collectively heal, coordinate, and prepare for what comes next. Our aim is to harness the experiences and insights gained during the pandemic — to ensure that our communities are safer and healthier; to jointly navigate the operational complexities that face our organizations; and to help you, personally, feel more confident and strengthened for the tasks ahead.

To that end, we’re adding a fourth theme to Upswell 2020: Resilience.

We know that every changemaker and every organization is faced with a different set of demands right now. By the fall, you might need practical advice, strategic guidance, or unexpected support. Or maybe you’ve got an urgent perspective to share about how we can be better prepared for the next crisis, whatever it might be. This theme is for all of these things, and more.

Now, we’re calling on you in two critical ways:

  1. Our co-creation campaign is still in full effect. If you have something to share with the Upswell community and would like to lead an activity at Upswell 2020, we urge you to submit a proposal – and please share the opportunity with your colleagues. You can submit a proposal here. We’ve extended the initial deadline due to the strain that we know your organization is feeling.
  2. If you don’t have specific issue expertise but you do have an idea about a topic you’d like to see addressed at Upswell 2020, please share your idea here.

One other note: while we expect that the effects of the pandemic will be top of mind in October, we can’t lose sight of the incredible work that was happening before anyone had heard of COVID-19. Upswell is the place to elevate that work – because it’s more important than ever. If your proposal is for one of the original three themes (Acceleration, Innovation, and Collaboration), we absolutely want to hear it.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be in touch with updates and inspiration. In the meantime, if you have questions, please email us at We’re here if you need us.

Stay safe, take care of each other – and know that it’s okay to look forward to Upswell 2020. It’s going to be a catalytic and uplifting experience.

1600 900 Christian Clansky
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