NEW YORK—The world's largest gathering of service and volunteer leaders will hold its 2011 conference in New Orleans, organizers announced today. With the Gulf Coast reeling from its second disaster-driven economic blow in five years, Patrick Corvington, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, and Michelle Nunn, CEO of Points of Light Institute and Co-Founder of the HandsOn Network, declared that the region's largest city was not just the natural choice to host the 2011 gathering—it was the only choice. Not only is the Gulf Coast once again front-and-center for America's volunteer and service community because of the BP oil spill, but both conference conveners already have a strong presence there due to recovery efforts from Hurricane Katrina.
Joined by New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Corvington and Nunn made the announcement in New York upon the conclusion of the 2010 National Conference, which drew a record attendance of 5,000 people. The 2011 National Conference will take place from June 6-8.
“There is a movement afoot in this country that is changing lives and rebuilding communities, and nowhere is it more apparent than across the city of New Orleans,” said Corvington. “From the 9th Ward to St. Bernard Parish, social entrepreneurs are creating new service strategies to bring the city back stronger and healthier. At these challenging times, the city needs the service movement just as much as we need it. That is why New Orleans is the right city at the right time to host next year's National Conference.”
Nunn noted, “Five years ago we all watched as the water rose over New Orleans and we now stand, powerless, as the oil washes up the coast of the Gulf. I hope that our service community will create a literal ‘Service March' through the Gulf leading us to the 2011 Conference. Early, foundational support from our sponsors will make it possible for us to begin to plan next year's conference and begin the important and immediate work of rebuilding the region—today.” Sponsors already on board for the 2011 National Conference include Target, Shinnyo-En Foundation, UPS and the University of Phoenix.
“Perhaps no other city in America understands and appreciates the power of community service and the value of voluntourism to a community,” said Mayor Landrieu. “Our city, indeed our entire region, would not be as far along in our post-Katrina recovery without the time, talent and treasure of all those who were so generous in helping us in our time of great need. It is a distinct privilege to welcome this gathering to our city, where we have created a new roadmap for community service, and where the good work continues to this day, and will continue well into the future.”
The 2011 National Conference will take place from June 6-8.