What We Do

Taking On the World's Biggest Challenges

By George Hamilton, ISC President

George Hamilton

When I talk with people about ISC, I’m often asked: Are you a civil-society development organization, a job creation enterprise, or an environmental group?

I point to our name. We are all these things (and more) because we believe achieving truly sustainable communities requires a wide range of approaches. Economic, environmental, and social goals are equally important—and are often mutually re-enforcing. Together, they are the foundation of a healthy and peaceful planet.

Throughout ISC’s 20-year history, we have focused on helping build lasting and scalable solutions to major challenges facing the world’s communities.

Today, we believe the biggest threats to just, healthy, and prosperous community development are unchecked climate disruption and unaccountable public and private institutions.

Climate disruption affects everything. Our economy, the availability of clean water, the intensity and frequency of natural disasters, the spread of disease, access to healthy food, conflicts over natural resources, political stability—on virtually all public fronts we are looking at a significant shift in the challenges communities face. The intensity of recent hurricanes, devastating wildfires in Russia, and the unprecedented flooding in Pakistan are a few recent examples of the impacts of climate disruption. We expect the frequency of events like these to increase.

We must reduce the causes of climate disruption and slow the rate of change, while becoming more resilient and adaptable to the changes that inevitably occur. We must also recognize and act on the numerous economic opportunities that arise from these global challenges.

Equally important—and a key part of the climate solution—are active, engaged citizens who take responsibility for the changes that must occur, and who hold public and private institutions accountable to a transparent, fair, forward-thinking agenda.

Dysfunctional governments and failed states are not sustainable. Powerful, profit-focused companies may fight for short-term economic interests and resist changes to the status quo. Yet a culture of active citizenship can turn things around, on climate change as with other pressing issues facing communities.

Communities need working partnerships between government, business, and citizens—and citizens need to know that their efforts and energies do matter. Often represented by non-profit organizations, active citizens stand up for the environment, social justice, transparency, public health, and those most in need. They represent those who cannot represent themselves, and make government more effective. They help mobilize and transform communities, and even whole societies, because of their passion for a better future. 

At ISC, we share this passion. You will find on our website many examples of how we’re addressing global challenges with the help of many partners and friends. We’re proud to be helping citizens around the world discover and develop the power they have to build sustainable communities.