Client Spotlight for the International Security Foundation (ISF)
The Webster Group has long had ties to the intelligence and security sector. We are privilegded to support the production of the International Security Foundation's annual gala. While this year's event was entirely virtual, it served as a emphatic reminder of just how important the work of ISF is. Read more below to see how.
Tell us about the role of the ISF.
We are an innovative nonprofit that was created to support the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) of the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security. The ISF raises funds to facilitate the exchange of security information between OSAC and American companies that operate overseas. The need for that has never been more important than what we are going through this year with the pandemic and the need to share timely, accurate information.
What members do you serve?
We serve American organizations that operate overseas, from global corporations to small missionary groups, and U.S. study abroad programs for schools and colleges.
How has COVID-19 impacted the work that the foundation does?
It has certainly had an effect on our fundraising ability this year. All the OSAC programs that our funds support have gone virtual, including our annual dinner, which we do in partnership with The Webster Group. The pandemic has required a lot of creativity and flexibility on the normal way that a nonprofit operates. Luckily, it has not affected our ability to support OSAC and fulfill our core mission.
What do you see as one of the most pressing issues (non-COVID related) the foundation is currently addressing?
It’s actually an OSAC issue that we’re involved with – the demand for more programs, which means the need for more funding for programs. With the ISF underwriting and launching three OSAC Regional Committees (Africa, Europe and the Middle East and North Africa), we have been able to support OSAC to expand its global reach. ISF funding has also helped OSAC grow its popular topical forums such as the Crisis Management Forum and the International Travel Safety and Security Forum. OSAC members are always asking for more of these ISF-funded programs, so fundraising growth is important.
Tell us about a significant ISF accomplishment.
We are very proud of the evolution of our annual fundraising dinner, which we’ve been able to do with our partnership with The Webster Group. It has grown from 200 attendees to 1,000-plus. It brings the whole security community together for a significant, fun networking celebration of the community, OSAC and of the accomplishments that have happened. There is really no other social event like it in the global security community.
How does gathering together, in person or virtually, help advance the foundation’s mission?
We support OSAC’s programs and exchange of information, in person and virtually. Security personnel need opportunities to gather and exchange information. It’s the core of what we do: to share information to keep Americans abroad safer and more secure.
At OSAC events, there’s such an incredible openness of sharing and lessons learned and a tremendous level of energy. These are people of very high caliber from government positions or previous law enforcement or military positions with a clear duty to care and duty to warn. People give a lot in this community. They give of their expertise and time, on OSAC Councils and steering committees, and support the ISF financially.
How can individuals and organizations support ISF?
People can volunteer to help with our fundraising by being a member of the ISF Steering Committee. They can also volunteer for the many leadership positions on OSAC’s Common Interest Committees; reach out to OSACCCO@state.gov.
Financial support is so important. People can sponsor different OSAC events for country, regional and sector events, and, of course, be a sponsor of the annual ISF Dinner. This year was the free ISF Virtual Reception Celebrating 35 Years of OSAC on November 18, 2020. Get more information at isf4osac.org.