Nation’s Volunteer Leaders Gather in San Francisco to Launch New Era of Service

Jun 16, 2009

Record Attendance Expected as Annual Conference Sparks Excitement for Service

SAN FRANCISCO – As the economic downturn drives up social needs and spurs an outpouring of volunteering, organizers of the 2009 National Conference on Volunteering and Service say this year's gathering will be a watershed event in the growing movement to use service as a solution to national challenges.

The conference, taking place in San Francisco this June 22-24, will bring together more than 4,000 volunteer and service leaders from across the nation and globe at a time of strong momentum for service and civic engagement. President Obama has made service a central cause of his Administration and recently signed the most sweeping expansion of service programs in 75 years, the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act. Corporate and education leaders, nonprofit executives and elected officials at all levels have embraced service as a key strategy to meet social needs, especially in tough economic times.

The conference, co-convened by the Points of Light Institute and the Corporation for National and Community Service, is the nation's largest gathering of service and volunteering leaders. This year's theme — "Civic. Energy. Generation." — reflects the excitement in the nation as people of all ages and backgrounds unify in a powerful movement to bring about social change.

“We are at a moment of unprecedented need and opportunity for service. The current economic crisis has produced not only an increase in the ranks of vulnerable populations but also a surge of compassion from Americans who are reaching out to help their neighbors,” said Nicola Goren, Acting CEO of the Corporation. “This conference will generate a new wave of civic energy to take service and volunteering to even higher levels of impact and effectiveness.”

Featured speakers for the conference include Maria Shriver, California's First Lady; John Donahoe, President and CEO of ebay Inc.; David Gergen, professor and Senior Political Analyst for CNN; Joshua DuBois, Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, John B. Veihmeyer, CEO and Deputy Chairman of KPMG LLP; Megan Smith, General Manager,; Dr. Julianne Malveaux, President of Bennett College for Women, and Cheryl Dorsey, President of Echoing Green. Additional high-profile speakers will be announced later this week.

“In the last year, we have seen a huge outpouring of new civic and volunteer engagement in response to the economic challenges and the Presidential call to service. This Conference will propel the rising tide of service and help the nonprofit sector channel this energy to support innovation and change in our communities,” said Michelle Nunn, CEO of Points of Light Institute and co-founder of HandsOn Network. “This year's conference signifies and makes clear the new level of interest and visibility which service is enjoying in our nation and across the globe. There is a palpable energy and idealism which is creating new waves of volunteers and new levels of civic engagement in tackling our communities toughest problems.”

Conference attendees will unite in San Francisco, a city renowned for its innovative and progressive approach to change. Volunteers and service leaders will learn, connect and be inspired to continue their work through a wide range of exciting and informative plenary sessions, workshops, special events, service projects, exhibits, specialized corporate tracks and more.

“As a center of social innovation, California offers the ideal location for this year's conference,” said Karen Baker, California Secretary of Service and Volunteering and co-chair of the conference host committee along with Janet Lamkin, California State President of the Bank of America. “We are proud to host this important gathering and to welcome the nation's leaders in service and civic engagement.”

Online registration is open at Conference highlights include:

  • An opening session featuring California First Lady Maria Shriver, honorary Chair of CaliforniaVolunteers, which is the largest state service commission in the country. Shriver has also established WE Build and WE Garden, a children's playground and community garden-building initiative.
  • A CEO roundtable featuring top business leaders discussing employee volunteer programs and corporate civic engagement including CEO's from KPMG LLP, Accenture LTD., Quaker Oats Company and others.
  • More than 175 workshops and forums focusing on a variety of topics from fundraising to empowering and mentoring the next generation of leaders.
  • Opportunities to share input and learn from officials of the Corporation for National and Community Service about implementation plans for the Serve America Act.
  • Additional information regarding the availability of more than $1 million via the Volunteer Impact, Retention and Expansion (VIRE) funds, which will increase the nation's volunteer infrastructure.
  • A Civic.Energy.Generation Film Festival, screening two award-winning documentaries related to the service movement
  • Town hall forums and off-site immersion learning sessions on hot topics such as navigating the economic downturn, national service policy, social innovation, education reform, going green, faith and poverty, using social media, and more.

Major corporate sponsors of the event are Target, Shinnyo-en Foundation, Coca Cola, The Home Depot and UPS. Additionally, the Entertainment Industry Foundation has provided special support.

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