The nonprofit world took center stage at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute’s annual public policy conference for academics, policymakers and public policy students on Capitol Hill on Friday.

GPPI Dean Edward Montgomery said in his introductory remarks that nonprofits — or “The Third Sector,” this year’s theme — comprise a rapidly growing segment of the economy.

“As many as 10 percent are employed by nonprofits. That’s about 13 million people, and half of those work in health care and social systems,” Montgomery said.

He also said nonprofits are “vital allies in restoring damaged economies.”

Sophie Delaunay, executive director of the U.S. sector of Doctors Without Borders, gave the conference’s keynote address.

Speaking about Doctors Without Borders and her work, Delaunay emphasized the importance of the organization’s neutrality.

“We avoid funding from governments that are actively involved in conflicts,” she said, which includes the United States.

A Q-and-A session followed the address. Audience members asked Delaunay about the accountability of the organization, and how it maintains a bird’s-eye view on the possible negative effects of its actions.

She said that Doctors Without Borders is constantly scrutinizing its actions and has adopted evaluation techniques to collect data and observe the effects of its programs.

“[Doctors Without Borders is] an essential component of society that has to adapt to a developing environment,” Delaunay said.

The conference was held in the Rayburn House Office Building. A lunch was served and several panels were hosted throughout the day, covering topics including social entrepreneurship, nonprofit organizations and collaboration.

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