Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service - MLK Day

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What is the MLK Day of Service?

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is: 'What are you doing for others?'"

Each year, Americans across the country answer that question by coming together on the King Holiday to serve their neighbors and communities.

The MLK Day of Service is a part of United We Serve, the President's national call to service initiative. It calls for Americans from all walks of life to work together to provide solutions to our most pressing national problems.


MLK Day is a chance to start the year off right by making an impact in your community.  Use the Toolkits to plan for the Day of Service.


President Obama helping a City Year volunteer


Join the hundreds of thousands of people who serve on MLK Day and throughout the year. Find a volunteer opportunity in your community by entering your location in the box to the right. You may also register your own project so that volunteers can find it.


Find free lesson plans that teach Dr. King’s legacy of service for grades K-8.


Helping servicemembers


What are your plans for MLK Day? Share your plans and share your project’s impact after MLK Day. You can share your story on, on our Facebook page, or by sending an email to Your stories will help us highlight the many ways Americans are honoring Dr. King through service, improving lives, and making a difference in our communities.

Photo Gallery | MLK Day of Service 2014

MLK Day of Service 2014 Recap

MLK Jr Day of Service 2014 Stats

The MLK Day of Service inspired hundreds of thousands of Americans to come together to make 2014 the start of a Year of Citizen Action.

If you were one of the citizens taking action, we hope you are as equally inspired to continue serving in your community. Take a look at what we all accomplished together.

Citizens in all 50 states delivered meals, refurbished schools and community centers, and collected food and clothing. Volunteers also recruited mentors, supported job-seekers, built homes and provided other services for veterans and military families, and helped citizens improve their financial literacy skills.

Jack Lew volunteers with Wendy SpencerAs the agency charged with leading the MLK Day of Service, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is proud to highlight the work of our partners in the nonprofit community, at all levels of government, the private sector, and the entire national service family.

In particular, the MLK Day of Service served as an opportunity for federal agencies to collaborate in the spirit of the President’s Task Force on Expanding National Service, which was established last year. The following list illustrates how this collaboration can make an impact and demonstrates how service can be an important solution to taking on our country’s biggest challenges:

  • Arne Duncan speaks at podiumThe First Family participated in a service project at DC Central Kitchen, where they volunteered alongside veterans, some of whom are continuing their service through AmeriCorps. Vice President Biden served hot lunches to guests at SOME (So Others Might Eat) in Washington, DC.
  • CNCS CEO Wendy Spencer served with the First Family and AmeriCorps members at DC Central Kitchen.  In addition, Spencer joined four cabinet secretaries—Arne Duncan from Education, Jack Lew from Treasury, Penny Pritzker from Commerce, and Eric Shinseki from Veterans Affairs—at service projects across the nation’s capital, including a VA hospital as well as public high school and a community-based organization where AmeriCorps members serve. The White House shared this video of Wendy speaking about the importance of honoring Dr. King’s legacy through service.

  • In addition,  the leaders of Peace Corps,  Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Interior, USAID, the U.S. Trade Representative, and ONDCP rolled up their sleeves to help local organizations that are doing great work for families across the city. 
  • Outside the nation’s capital, a bipartisan group of leaders joined with citizens to pay tribute to Dr. King’s legacy through community service.

Check out our photo gallery for images of citizens in action. You can find out ways to stay involved with helping your community:

Student Art Contest

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, Scholastic sponsored a Student Art Contest. Students were challenged to create a poster that inspires others to serve and answers Dr. King's question, "What are you doing for others?" for a chance to win a tablet. The 12 winning posters were displayed at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Bookstore in Washington, D.C. 

Click here to see the winning posters

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