Tag Archives: Service Corps

Obama’s effort to address Social Innovation

I had previously written about the impending Service Act and President Obama’s editorial support for this legislation.

Well the day finally arrived when this legislation was signed into law by the President. On April 21, 2009, at a signing ceremony attended by Senator Edward Kennedy, after whom the act is named, President Obama said:

“We’re doing this because I’ve always believed that the answers to our challenges cannot come from government alone.”

“Our government can help to rebuild our economy and lift up our schools and reform health-care systems and make sure our soldiers and veterans have everything they need. But we need Americans willing to mentor our eager young children, or care for the sick, or ease the strains of deployment on our military families.”

As part of the legislation, a new White House Office of Social Innovation has been created. Sonal Shah, most recently heading Google.org’s global development programs has been tapped to head the office. While we await the official announcement, philanthropy sites have been eagerly abuzz with the news.

Yesterday, Sonal addressed the Global Philanthropy Forum in Washington DC, where she was listed as “Deputy Assistant to the President and Director Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation”. In her remarks to the audience, she outlined the three key areas the new office would focus on.

  • To find out “what are the innovations that are taking place”
  • To provide money to innovative nonprofit projects
  • To promote national service and volunteerism

You can find more information about her talk and additional conjecture about the plans for this office at the Chronicle of Philanthropy site.

Sonal’s experience in the private sector and her work with non-profits together with the charter of the new office, provides innovative social entrepreneurs with a new opportunity for funding and support.

A new era of service by Barack Obama

I am reproducing the entire text of an editorial by President Barack Obama that appeared on TIME Magazine’s website today.

It was a precursor to the news later in the day that one of the two pieces of Service based legislation – the GIVE Act – was passed with a strong bi-partisan majority of 321 to 105 in the House. The senate version of the bill – the Kennedy/Hatch Serve America Act – is awaiting final approval. If the two bills are finally reconciled and passed, they will, according to the New York Times, “be [the] largest expansion of government-sponsored service programs since President John F. Kennedy first called for the creation of a national community service corps in 1963.”

This is indeed a new era of Service

Continue reading

An opportunity of a lifetime

An interesting side effect of the global recession on graduating college students – more are considering taking time to get engaged in public service. A recent article in the Boston Globe observes

Instead of going straight into a 100-hour-a-week job at an investment bank, they are pursuing less lucrative but potentially more satisfying opportunities in public service, enrolling in record numbers in the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, and Teach for America.

In that article Harvard President, Drew Gilpin Faust observed.
“The path to Wall Street was so clearly defined, so if you weren’t sure what direction to go, this direction was filled with signposts and rewards,” Faust said in an interview. “But we are seeing two historic moments converge: this extraordinary financial crisis and this outpouring of interest in the public sphere.”

Faust said she hopes to tap alumni connections and join with other colleges to set up a recruitment process for public service that mirrors the way the corporate world woos students.

Sasha Dichter of the Acumen Fund ruminates in in his blog post The Other 690 : Continue reading

Updated location for Sept 27 ServiceNation Day of Action

Updated news on change of location for Boston’s Day of Action on September 27th. Please see the message below from Katie Visco one of the organizers.

Saturday’s predicted rain will not hinder the power of service, so…
The Boston Day of Action will be held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, just 2 blocks from the Common! Click HERE for a map.
The Boston Day of Action is unstoppable!  Despite the rain heading our way for this Saturday, this is going to be one AMAZING, landmark event!  Yes, that’s right, the Day of Action GOES ON, rain or shine, and we still need YOUR unstoppable passion, commitment, and energy to call upon an era of service.  This day will be soaked with inspiration (ha ha, get it?!) Continue reading

September 27 ServiceNation Day of Action

Twenty years ago, Alan Khazei started a youth movement in Boston called City Year, a service corps that helped inspire Americorps. Alan has since moved on to take his passion for citizen engagement forward and started another organization, Be the Change, Inc that strives to get citizens participating in the conversations, discussions and debates that affect us as a democracy. One of the initial programs of this organization is ServiceNAtion.org – a movement to promote a culture of service among Americans. Continue reading