National Service Blog

  • Posted on May 20, 2015

    As one of the first wave of federal Pay for Success (PFS) grantees, Third Sector Capital Partners prides itself on going the extra mile to support programs that help at-risk youth and young adults secure a living wage and the employment skills to gain self-sufficiency.

    With a $1.9 million grant from the Social Innovation Fund (SIF) in 2014, the Boston-based advisory firm is strengthening the ability of local governments and service providers to implement PFS, a new way of focusing on outcomes. Under a PFS-financed project, the government leverages philanthropic and private dollars so that government pays only after service providers generate tangible results.

    Through its federal award Third Sector is offering technical assistance to seven subrecipients across workforce development, education and social services, working with these agencies to develop their own capacity to implement PFS.

    But in addition to technical assistance, Third Sector is taking innovative steps to promote success of these efforts. Unique among the 2014 SIF PFS grantees, Third Sector is requiring subrecipients to provide matching funds so that these agencies also have a stake in developing effective pay-for-performance models.

    “It’s important for these agencies to have skin in the game,” said Tim Pennell, Third Sector associate director. The cash match may be small – a minimum of $25,000 – but it provides ample evidence of the organization’s commitment to the PFS concept.

    “It means they are putting...

  • Posted on Aug 30, 2009
    I'm a member of a couple of Tucson, Arizona groups that bring the barn-raising model to community greening projects. The first is a homeowners’ co-op that is part of the Watershed Management Group. Members are required to work a certain number of hours before they can host a water harvesting workshop on their property. It’s 16 hours for an earthworks workshop and 32 hours for a cistern workshop. I hosted an earthworks building project at my house last August. The co-op members were supervised by a WMG employee, and they built berms and basins.
  • Posted on Aug 27, 2009
    Operation Homefront, military families and local volunteers teamed up to take part in the President’s call to service during the Baseball Hall of Fame induction weekend. On Saturday July 25, Operation Homefront hosted a project to prepare care packages for deployed service members and back-to-school backpacks for New York’s military children.
  • Posted on Aug 27, 2009
  • Posted on Aug 27, 2009
    It’s my job to hike into the wild, track down a trail crew, sit with them in the middle of their workday . . . and read them a poem. A poem? Indeed. What good might that do?
  • Posted on Aug 27, 2009
    In 2005, the Pierre School District found a need to begin a student health profile on each high school student. The task of screening their 900 students for health risks seemed daunting. As they often do, RSVP volunteers from Central South Dakota RSVP came to the rescue.
  • Posted on Aug 27, 2009
    The US Department of Commerce is answering the President's call to service through an all-volunteer "Green Team" at our headquarters building in Washington, DC. The Team is comprised 134 volunteers with representatives from the Office of the Secretary and all seven Operating Units located at, or nearby, the Herbert C. Hoover Building (HCHB). The purpose of the HCHB Green Team is to promote energy awareness and environmental stewardship throughout the Department of Commerce through efforts in the HCHB.
  • Posted on Aug 26, 2009
    Yesenia is a talented first-generation college applicant whose mother speaks little English. Dedicating over 80 hours between September and June, youth mentor Shelby helped her navigate a process that is especially complex for kids whose parents are immigrants and for whom cost is a real barrier. Shelby works as an office manager at Raw Art Works in Lynn, MA. RAW is a youth arts organization that matches volunteer mentors with high school juniors and seniors to help them realize their future goals.
  • Posted on Aug 26, 2009
    Several years ago, during a routine dental cleaning, my hygienist related her experience while visiting a local school for Children's Dental Health Month. She told me about Jessica, a little third grade girl who's teeth she described as "black". It was not hard to imagine how awful that would look. Severe tooth decay is not attractive. I was appalled that today in America; a child can go to school with severe dental disease and not receive some type of intervention from their community. Think about it.
  • Posted on Aug 26, 2009
    Two weeks ago, Clackamas County Volunteer Connection Center and RSVP brought 35 community members together at an event called “Stepping Stones to Addressing Homelessness.” The goal of the event was to educate the community on (1) Understanding: Who is homeless in the county and why; (2) Hope: What is already being done by public and non profits in the area; and (3) Opportunity: How individuals and groups could help improve the community.
  • Posted on Aug 26, 2009
     After looking at the seven bundles of plastic grocery bags stuck in my pantry closet, a vision of mother Earth filled with these plastic trash, actually made me nauseous. Next few days I surfed internet to know the gravity of the plastic trash in our landfills and I must say that was a rude awakening. I decided since I can't throw away things from my toothbrush to computers, to microwave or deck furniture; one thing I sure can do is to use reusable grocery bags to reduce the toxic trash.

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