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Alert on Bill that would Eliminate CNCS

Posted by Morgan St. Jean on February 2, 2012

We wanted to share the latest update from the Save Service Coalition in response to Rep. Stutzman’s (R-Ind) bill that would eliminate the Corporation for National and Community Service. We encourage you to contact Rep. Stutzman with your stories of how much national service benefits our country. If you are an alum, make sure to emphasize that fact that you  were an AmeriCorps member and not a volunteer. 

Dear Friends,

Rep. Stutzman R-Ind., has announced he is sponsoring the Volunteer Freedom Act, which would eliminate the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).

According to Stutzman, “My bill is based on a simple truth: it’s not volunteering if it comes with a paycheck.” Read the full article here.

 We simply do not agree, and we want your voices to be heard.

Visit Rep. Stutzman’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/CongressmanMarlinStutzman or twitter page at RepStutzman and comment on the bill to tell him how national service has enabled you to make a difference in your community.

TAKE ACTION: Let him know that the modest stipend one receives as a member of a national service program provides opportunities to make a big difference. We must grow funding for CNCS – not eliminate it – if we want to keep America great.

As always, thank you for your support of service in America.

Best,

AnnMaura Connolly

President, Voices for National Service

Director, Save Service Campaign

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Weekly Round-up: vending machines for charity, champions of change, and Google+ for non-profits

Posted by ServeNext Staff on August 2, 2011

A Japanese vending machine that allows customers to make small donations to the Red Cross with their purchases

1. In the first good news we’ve heard regarding junk food and soda for quite some time, The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported that vending machines all over Japan are now raising money for the Red Cross of Japan by allowing customers to make small charitable donations along with their purchases.

2. The Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation’s blog highlighted this week’s Champions of Change, or Americans recognized for their hard work towards helping our country meet the challenges of the 21st century.  To learn about every week’s Champions of Change, go to http://www.whitehouse.gov/champions.

3. The Corporation for National and Community Service posted a story about Nancy Ryan, a woman who was so inspired by the help she received from RSVP volunteers in caring for her dying husband that after his death, she joined RSVP herself.  “I had other people help my family in times of need. I am giving back by helping others. It gives me a fellowship with other volunteers and gives me a purpose and something to look forward to,” said Ryan in the article.

4.  With the recent introduction of Google +, a new social network and competition for Facebook and Twitter, a lot of people in the nonprofit world have been wondering if this new networking tool is a worthy place to invest time.  Beth Kanter discusses her outlook on Google + and the role it will play in the nonprofit world.

5.  The New York Times published an article in its July 15, 2011 issue about how social innovation is currently attracting the country’s best and brightest.  One example of this trend given in the article cites the figure that the number of MBAs among Teach for America applicants has tripled between 2007 and 2011, and Business schools are adding electives in sustainability and education to respond to students’ interests.

Posted in Social Innovation, Social Media For Service, Stories Of Service, Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

Weekly Service Highlights

Posted by ServeNext Staff on April 21, 2011

Take a look at what has been going on in the service community this week!

1.) The Chronicle of Philanthropyblogged about the importance of reexamining and potentially changing the current rules about nonprofit lobbying because they are confusing and unnecessarily limiting. According to Independent Sector, the coalition of charities and foundation the current restrictions “discourage charities from exercising their legal right to speak out about legislation that affects their missions.” Additionally, there is a lot of confusion and debate over the specific nuances of the policy, so it is time to clarify the rules in order to promote discourse between nonprofits and legislators.

Tornados swept through the southern US last week, leaving devastation in their wake.

2.) Last weekend, tornados ripped through the southern U.S., killing at least 44 people. As devastating as this is for the region, the Huffington Post highlights the way in which this disaster has brought communities together. Not only are organizations such as the Salvation Army and the American Red Cross pitching in their resources to aid those in need, but community members are helping out one another in any way they can.

3.) If you’re preparing to organize a service project on Earth Day, Friday April 22, be sure check out these tips from the HandsOn Blog to help make your project a success! These range from explaining the impact of your project to the other volunteers to reminding people to wear clothes that they don’t mind getting dirty, so no matter what you’re planning, it’s worth a look.

4.) In a recent Points of Light Institute blog post, one of their board members Jeff Hoffman explains the importance of corporate volunteering in building a sense of community, both within the workplace and in the places employees serve. Hoffman also points out that by making volunteerism a more integral part of the workplace it can foster corporate responsibility.

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Weekly Service Jobs Spotlight: Encore Careers, Healthcare, and Education

Posted by ServeNext Staff on April 6, 2011

Take a look at some great job openings in the Service Sector:

1. Career and Alumni Services Manager, Year Up, Chicago IL: Year Up is an organization dedicated to closing the Opportunity Divide by empowering urban youth to succeed in both higher education and their professional lives. The career and alumni services manager will work with the Chicago community to identify career and education opportunities for Year Up graduates.

2. Civic Ventures Communications Associate, Civic Ventures, Washington DC: Civic Ventures is a think tank on boomers, work and social purpose. They are seeking a communications associate to help distribute the Encore Careers campaign via web.

A student at a Turnaround school, engaged in learning

3. Manager, Program Fidelity and Measurement, Genesys Works, Houston TX: Genesys Works provides internship and professional experience for inner-city youth. The program fidelity and measurement manager will be responsible for the maintenance and growth of current and future Genesys sites.

4. Vice President, Portfolio Development, Turnaround for Children, New York, NY: Turnaround for Children works with low-performing, high-poverty schools to build their capacity to provide resources for students. The role of the vice president of portfolio development will be to lead the organization’s expansion efforts by building partnerships with community organizations.

5. Director of Major Gifts, Jumpstart, Boston, MA: Jumpstart trains volunteers to work with preschool age children to ensure that they are prepared for elementary school. The organization is seeking someone with experience to develop fundraising efforts with both current donors and new prospects.

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The Week in Service Highlights

Posted by ServeNext Staff on April 5, 2011

Check out some interesting articles from the past week related to national service:

1.) The Harvard Business Review featured a great blog post about Teach for America as an “educational entrepreneurial incubator”. A study titled “Creating a Corps of Change Agents” analyzed the career histories of founders and top-level management at organizations considered entrepreneurial in education. The findings indicated that TFA was overly-represented in the career histories of this group. The blog post explains further why this is not simply a result of TFA’s size and recruitment of individuals with leadership potential, so be sure to check it out for more details!

2.) About a month ago, we blogged about the growing encore career movement. On April 5, Marc Freedman, CEO and Founder of Civic Ventures released his book The Big Shift detailing the rise of the concept of the “encore” stage of life and the ways that society is changing to accommodate the large number of adults who are beginning a new career once they’ve retired. An excerpt from The Big Shift was featured on Salon.com and has been generating buzz among people of all ages.

3.) A new nonprofit called Palindrome Advisors has reached out to technology and business leaders such as Google, Twitter, and Apple to sign the “Palindrome Pledge.” By signing, these leaders vow to lend their donation and management to expertise to nonprofits. According to the Wall Street Journal, it is “match.com for industry leaders and the boards of nonprofits”. There are already 100 executives signed up and not all from the technology industry, there is representation from government, energy, and entertainment sectors.

4.) Last week the United Way announced its new initiative to recruit 1 million volunteers as mentors, tutors, and readers to students. This is a part of a broader goal for the organization: to halve the nation’s 25-percent high-school dropout rate by 2018. Studies have found that the main reason people do not volunteer in their communities is because they do not feel connected. As a part of this new goal, the United Way will work to make it easier for people to volunteer within their communities.

Posted in Books, Highlights, Research, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

2011 Field Program Training Retreat Recap

Posted by Jerry Duchene Saavedra on March 25, 2011

Post by Leila Pedersen:

On March 11th-13th ServeNext’s 2011 field Organizers convened in Washington, DC for a three-day intensive training retreat. They received in-depth information about grassroots advocacy, management and leadership, community organizing, marketing and communications, social media, strategic planning, and more.  As a ServeNext Intern, I was able to observe the training and get to know the people who have taken on our important work. By Sunday afternoon, I felt inspired, empowered, and more convinced than ever of our nation’s urgent need for national and community service.

For 2011, the field program has grown to include 15 dynamic organizers. We added six new locations, including Columbus, OH; Rochester, NY; New Hampshire; New Haven, CT; Salt Lake City, UT; and Montana. Starting early Friday morning, the diverse group of Organizers began to form a strong bond. Stephanie Sacco, a Youth Counselor from Rochester, immediately took on the role of spirit leader. And Justin Hudspeth, who works with the Utah Commission on Volunteers in Salt Lake City, emerged as a virtual encyclopedia of knowledge about the Corporation. Each Organizer brought a unique perspective, but the common thread stitching these individuals together is their unwavering passion and commitment to give all Americans willing and ready to serve their community the opportunity to do so.

Guest speakers Tom Sheridan and AnnMaura Connolly got the group excited for the work ahead by outlining their varying political strategies. Tom led an inspiring conversation that called for an aggressive approach to service advocacy. He emphasized the need to “spank and thank” members of Congress for their opposition or support of service.  A bit later, AnnMaura Connolly outlined a milder approach to advocacy aimed more at expressing how deeply the field appreciates the support of service champions in Congress.

Meetings on Capitol Hill gave the Organizers the unique opportunity to learn best practices and effective tactics for approaching and advocating to Congressional offices.  Members of a Congressional staff offered our Organizers first-hand advice on how to approach congressional offices, how to build relationships with congressional staff, and what types of information is helpful and a resourceful.  After having participated in an actual meeting with Congressional Staff in D.C., planning meetings back home in the district seemed manageable and exciting.

On Sunday afternoon our organizers finalized their local strategic plans and returned home with a plan of action to lead their communities in the fight to save service.   I feel lucky to have been a part of this group’s training and was truly inspired by their depth of knowledge and obvious passion for service. I have never encountered a group more motivated and dedicated to a single cause.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Points of Light honors George H.W. Bush, with help from a few folks named Clinton, Carter, Obama, and Bush

Posted by ServeNext Staff on March 24, 2011

All four living former presidents attend All Together Now on March 21 to show their support for service.

On Monday March 21,  the Points of Light Institute  hosted “All Together Now-A Celebration of Service” at the Kennedy Center here in Washington, DC. The black-tie gala honored George H. W. Bush for his lifelong commitment to service. Despite the star-studded list of performers including Garth Brooks, Cee-lo Green, Reba McIntyre, Carrie Underwood, Kid Rock, and Sheryl Crow, the true focal point of the night was the presence of all four living former presidents: Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush. Monday was the first time since Obama’s inauguration that all of the living former presidents gathered in one place. Obama was unable to attend because he was traveling in South America, but he filmed a video tribute.

Bush Sr. was honored for his historic contributions to the service community, both in his personal life and in the legislation he helped to pass while in office.  While in office, Bush urged Americans to be a “thousand points of light” his speech at the 1988 Republican National Convention. Bush made it a recurring theme in speeches, including his inaugural, as a call for community organizations to do good work, according to Politico. This resulted in the creation of the Points of Life Institute, the host of Monday’s gala, which raised $30 million to help the organization support its cause.

Former presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush have become friends over the years

What many found most inspiring on Monday evening was not just the presence of four former presidents, but the bipartisan atmosphere. In today’s Washington, most issues are strictly divided across party lines, but the Points of Light gala made it clear that national service doesn’t have to be one of them. Bush Sr. echoed this sentiment in a statement he made on camera during the event, “You don’t have to be hostile in your opposition. I don’t think they need to be hateful about the people who disagree with you, and working with him I think we’ve established that. There can be no definition of successful life that does not include service to others.”

Since leaving office, Bush and Clinton have developed a surprising friendship, especially after helping with disaster relief efforts in South Asia and the Gulf. Of his former competitor Clinton now says “I literally came to love him. He can do virtually no wrong in my eyes.” Although both presidents disagreed on many issues, they have been able to come together in support for the power and impact of service.

With the current threat to funding for national service,  “All Together Now-Celebration of Service”should remind us not only of the importance of these programs but also of their history of bipartisan support.

Be sure to watch “All Together Now-A Celebration of Service” on NBC Monday March 28 from 8-9 PM EST.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

Weekly Service Jobs Spotlight: Leadership Development, AmeriCorps Opportunity, Fundraising

Posted by ServeNext Staff on March 24, 2011

Check out some great job opportunities from around the nation:

1.) Program Manager, Taproot Foundation, San Francisco Taproot works to provide pro bono services to organizations working to improve society.

2.)National Program Consultant, Public Allies, Milwaukee WI Public Allies’ mission is to advance new leadership to strengthen communities, nonprofits and civic participation. This position entails developing relationships with and providing support for the organization’s local sites.

HandsOn volunteers hard at work.3.)Resource Development Specialist (AmeriCorps Member) at Hands On Corps University, HandsOn Network, Atlanta GA HandsOn Network mobilizes people to create change through service. The Resource Development Specialist at HandsOn Corps University will be responsible for capacity building with partner organizations and volunteers and providing them with the resources they need to effectively carry out their programs.

4.)Knowledge and Content Manager for Service Nation, Be the Change Inc, This position will lead development for the “Service as a Strategy” initiative, a nationwide effort to identify hundreds of creative and high-impact strategies that can be used by cities to engage their residents in service to address challenges.

5.)Director of Strategic Gifts, Feed America, Denver CO Responsibilities include managing portfolios of major donors and potential gift givers, as well as working toward the goal of raising money for the Feed American Campaign as well as the Food Bank of the Rockies.

In addition to what’s above, take a look at these other positions:

6.)Operations Coordinator, Admission Possible, St. Paul, MN

7.)Event Fundraising Manager, Equal Justice Works, Washington DC

8.)Northeast Placement Coordinator, Student Conservation Association, Charlestown, NH

9.) Durham Executive Director, Playworks, Durham, NC

10.)Legislative Director, YouthBuild USA, Somerville, MA

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Legislative Update: Great news, at least for a few days

Posted by ServeNext Staff on February 25, 2011

This afternoon, the House Appropriations Committee unveiled a two week long continuing resolution (CR) — a temporary budget — that continues most programs at FY10 levels until March 18th.

There were $4 billion worth of cuts and terminations included in the legislation, but AmeriCorps and the Corporation for National and Community Service were NOT among the programs cut.

The entire House is expected to look at the bill on Tuesday, providing them more time to work on year-long CR with the Senate.

We can not emphasize enough that saving service funding this year will take many weeks and months of mobilization.   And Congress determines funding levels annually.  We are thrilled with the early stories from today’s Save Service District Days, but we hope you’re wearing comfortable shoes.  Anyone passionate about service should be ready to pound the pavement over the next many weeks and months so AmeriCorps and other service programs are not cut.

For those who participated in District Day, fantastic work!  For those who couldn’t, this is just the beginning.

You can sign-up for our emails to get policy updates, action alerts, and other good stuff at ServeNext.org.

Thanks to our friends at Voices for National Service for the info above, and many other updates, through the budget process. Follow Voices on Twitter.

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Experience of a ServeNext Organizer

Posted by Jerry Duchene Saavedra on January 2, 2011

ServeNext.org is now accepting applications for our 2011 Field Program. To give potential applicants a first hand perspective on what it’s like to be a ServeNext Organizer, I’ve asked Monie Hayes to share her experience.  Below are her responses to our interview.

I applied to be a ServeNext Organizer because I have some experience with this type of work (mostly as a volunteer during Iowa caucus seasons) and find it interesting and rewarding. I had just left an overly demanding and insufficiently satisfying professional position out of state for one that is the inverse, so I had the time and a desire to reconnect with my community and nearby communities here in southeast Iowa. Plus, and fundamentally, I believe in the importance of giving of one’s time and talents to one’s community and in the power of coming to understand one’s neighbors through such work. We all have a story to share.

The training retreat in Washington D.C. provided me an opportunity to learn about the ServeNext history and mission and to begin building a community with my fellow organizers. It was good to discuss our shared values and individual experiences. After I returned home to carry out SN initiatives, I appreciated having spent time with Jerry and Zach and the other organizers. It made communicating with them and coordinating our work across geographic distance more comfortable. It was an intense weekend!

The first thing I did was contact people who might join my Leadership Council and sit down with them to hear about their commitment to service and their ideas for building a network and planning a launch
event.

I was surprised at how little time I had to coordinate the launch event and how well it went nevertheless! I was affirmed by the people who responded to my introduction of ServeNext with a sense of possibility and positive curiosity and disappointed by the reaction of others who wanted to know what we would do, materially, before we had done it.

Building a local ServeNext Network is an ongoing process, lots of fun, and in my experience, sporadic in terms of how many people join every week. I am just now getting to a point where the network can grow organically through members’ outreach to others.

Engaging members of Congress is a recursive process. Don’t be afraid to call back, and to do so again if need be. Cultivate relationships with staff members. Getting network members to contact our decision-makers electronically has been easier than engaging members of Congress in that it is a more streamlined or linear process.

Overall, I have learned that many of my neighbors and friends are engaging in exciting and worthwhile community service projects. They love their home and their neighbors, and they value voluntarism. And I have just scratched the surface of the donation of time and talent that goes on in southeast Iowa. ServeNext is an organization founded on solid principles and with tremendous possibility for growth and
support to lend to service.


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