California: trailblazing the role of volunteerism & service at the state level

Posted by Zach Maurin on February 26, 2008

Today Gov. Schwarzenegger is scheduled to announce that he is creating a cabinet-level office for volunteer management — the first state to make this move. This decision is motivated in large part to better manage volunteer efforts, which have show inefficiencies in the past. Kudos to Picture courtesy of California VolunteersArnold and his wife, Maria Shriver, who is a driving force behind this move.


The New York Times covered this announcement today reporting:


In a telephone interview, Mr. Schwarzenegger said recent disasters had demonstrated that volunteers were “many times unable to do the kind of work they want to for the state because we are not as organized as we can be.”

He said his wife, Maria Shriver, who is the honorary chairwoman of California Volunteers, helped make the case for giving the office greater prominence and responsibility.

“I have a father-in-law and mother-in-law who have relied on volunteers their whole life,” Mr. Schwarzenegger said, referring to R. Sargent Shriver, the first director of the Peace Corps, and Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the founder of the Special Olympics. “It is something I am very familiar with.”

The full NY Times piece can be read here. As you will see from reading the article, this is not a symbolic move. California’s leadership and the state’s need for well-managed volunteer service made this smart government management. It is also a step in the direction that conveys service and volunteerism as critical pieces to addressing our country’s needs — not just “extra” or nice-sounding initiatives.



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