Public and Private Support Needed to Scale Effective Programs
Meeting Critical Needs Across the Country
New Orleans – To sustain and deepen the impact of national service, participants at the 2011 National Conference on Volunteering and Service (NCVS) today championed the case for continued government funding and robust partnerships to extend the reach of the innovations, tools, and talent needed to tackle some of the nation's most vexing challenges.
During an all-conference session, state and federal leaders applauded the compassion and tenacity that service leaders bring to a range of issues across the nation – from emergency response to education to economic development.
“For those of us who have had to deal with big disasters or problems in our schools – volunteers matter, period,” said Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, who applauded AmeriCorps and the more than 1 million volunteers who have pitched in to help Mississippi in the five years since Hurricane Katrina.
As the nation continues to emerge from economic challenges, service leaders today committed to find new ways to demonstrate the role and effectiveness of their work – and adjust their programs to meet the unique needs of communities and the times.
“National service is and should continue to be a beacon for identifying the trends and solutions that can power the service movement at large – building capacity and championing the ability of service to generate fiscally responsible solutions,” said Mark Gearan, chairman of the board, Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).
NCVS is the world's largest gathering dedicated to the power of volunteerism and service. Co-sponsored by the CNCS and the Points of Light Institute (POLI), the conference brings together the best and brightest from the service, government, and business communities to foster innovation and collaboration for citizen-led problem solving.
“We know government cannot do this alone, nor should it because the best ideas are not locked inside of the Beltway,” said Melody Barnes, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council. “Across the country, individuals and communities are developing innovative solutions to transform current systems and have the greatest impact on lives.”
Many community-based organizations rely on partners in the business community for critical management expertise and volunteers to address and solve local issues. Today, POLI acknowledged three companies for their leadership and commitment to volunteering. Cisco, IBM, and McKesson each received a 2011 Corporate Engagement Award of Excellence for building strong and effective volunteer programs that foster healthy communities and provide a better quality of life for residents.
“This year's honorees demonstrate what businesses can achieve when they commit their resources – both human and financial – to creating change,” said Michelle Nunn, CEO, Points of Light Institute. “While we honor these five organizations for leading the way, we hope others will be encouraged to follow their example.”
Throughout the day, corporate partners facilitated learning sessions to champion and bolster citizen-led service efforts and share best practices including:
· Motorola is helping organizations develop an open source mobile app for collecting and disseminating service opportunities.
· Nike and the CNCS are collaborating to support AmeriCorps VISTAs promote healthy living in native communities as part of the Let's Move in Indian Country campaign.
· Target distributes 5 percent of its profits, approximately $3 million per week, to support community organizations offering mentoring and reading support to kindergarten through 3rd grade.
On Day Three of the National Conference, highlights will include:
· 9/11 Day of Service Activate One Million Acts of Service – To mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and the federally-funded day of service, participants will begin planning projects to pay tribute through the largest expression of charitable service in American history. Sessions include a keynote from 9/11 Memorial and Museum CEO Joe Daniels
· Building Robust Evidence of Program Impact – Participants exploring tools and processes the Social Innovation Fund is using during its first year to validate the impact of SIF funded programs and build a base of evidence about what works.
· The National Center for Service & Innovative Leadership: How to Improve Innovation in Service – Service leaders discussing how the Center can help participants achieve greater impact.
· Closing Celebration: New Orleans – and a Nation – Say Thank You – Service leaders will be honored as the conference concludes New Orleans style with a celebration featuring The Daily Show's John Oliver, actor and activist Rosario Dawson, R&B legend Percy Sledge, and First Lady of New Orleans, Cheryl Landrieu. To watch the event live, visit http://www.volunteeringandservice.org/