Mission Forward is the proprietary thought leadership series of Mission Partners. The series was launched in 2014 as a means to drive deeper conversations among innovative thinkers, makers, and doers in the social change space.

Through in-person events, webinars, workshops, and podcasts, we bring together a diverse mix of social innovators, as well as the big ideas and the bold goals that fuel their work.


Featured Workshops

Shaping Messages That Spur Action

Organizational leaders realize that to effect mission-moving change, they must be able to communicate their vision and values so that others can embrace them, then feel compelled to act. Yet, one of the most common communications challenges for organizational leaders—and by extension their teams and board members— is articulating why their mission matters.  In this session, Carrie Fox will run her audience through a series of thought-provoking exercises designed to help distill an organization’s “why” in a way that inspires others to act.

How to Talk So People Will Listen

When Martin Luther King Jr. was preparing to deliver his “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963, those now famous words weren’t even in his written script. They were ad-libbed in the moment, turning a speech originally planned to last a few minutes into an historic, 16-minute address. In preparing to deliver public remarks, many leaders believe that the key to success is practice and preparation. And in many ways they’re right. But that’s not actually where success lies. It’s the message that can be delivered in between the formal lines of a script—that gift of improvisation—that can be most compelling. Learn the same presentation secrets used by some of the nation’s most admired public figures, and walk away ready to confidently tackle your next public speaking engagement.

Mission Partners

The Art of The Argument

At Mission Partners, we believe that delivering a compelling argument involves three key ingredients. Messengers must speak with credibility (subject matter expertise), authority (a position of influence) and persuasiveness (the ability to sway a point of view). Leveraging this formula successfully in the development of op eds, pitch decks and presentations can be one of the most powerful tools in your communications arsenal. This session will walk participants through the basic framework of how to set up a compelling argument and guide each participant through the development of their own op ed frame. Following the session, Mission Partners will remain available to each participant for up to one hour of focused editing time to support participants in preparing their commentary for submission.


The Mission Forward podcast, hosted by Carrie Fox, explores how big ideas in social change take hold. Each episode features insights from innovative thinkers, makers and doers in social change. Listen in as we explore how foundations, philanthropists, corporate and community leaders are challenging the way “things get done” in order to move missions forward, in meaningful and memorable ways.

Upcoming Events

2018 Mission Forward series to be announced soon.

Past Events

Mission Forward at the Greater Washington Board of Trade

On April 20th, we kicked off the 2017 series of Mission Forward, at the Greater Washington Board of Trade. We were joined by MacArthur Genius Award Winner Mauricio Lim Miller, founder of the Family Independence Initiative, who read an excerpt from new book, The Alternative, Our conversation also featured Natalie S. Burke, founder of CommonHealth ACTION, and a national leader in helping corporate leaders and communities achieve greater equity in their work. Click here to view photos from the event.

Mission Forward at the Chronicle of Philanthropy

Through candid and in-depth conversations in New York and Washington, D.C. our 2016 series examined the challenges, creativity and collaborative spirits of social innovators who are tackling major challenges of our time, paired with the philanthropist or investor who invested early in each of their big ideas. Over the course of the series, the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s Stacy Palmer and Carrie Fox shared their findings together through ongoing editorial coverage.

Read more about past events and explore photos from the 2016 series.

Mission Forward NY

Mission Forward NYC

Featuring Plinio Ayala, Per Scholas and Donn Weinberg, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, Inc.

Mission Forward D.C.

Mission Forward D.C.

Featuring Mauricio Lim Miller, Family Independence Initiative and Clara Miller, The F.B. Heron Foundation

Mission Forward D.C.

Mission Forward D.C.

Featuring Bill Milliken Communities In Schools, Inc. Founder and Vice Chairman

Mission Forward at the Newseum

In October 2014, we brought together some of the best thinkers and leaders in philanthropy, nonprofit management, journalism, and social entrepreneurship to explore the ways in which nonprofits continue to move their missions forward amid today’s changes, challenges and opportunities. View the powerful conversations from Mission Forward below.

Opening Remarks

Delivered by Carrie Fox and Brian Fox

Conversation Lab 1:

Advancing Missions Amid New Philanthropy Models

Featuring Carol Thompson Cole, President & CEO, Venture Philanthropy Partners; George Jones, CEO, Bread for the City; and Nicky Goren, President & CEO, Meyer Foundation

Conversation Lab 2:

Advancing Stories for Maximum Impact

Featuring Tina Rosenberg, Co-Founder, Solutions Journalism Network and Co-Author, “Fixes” Column, The New York Times

Conversation Lab 3:

Advancing Ideas and Breaking Through the Clutter

Featuring Jonathan Greenblatt, Director, Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation, The White House