Lots Going On: Budget Battle, Music Tour, Press, White House Meeting, and more

Posted by Zach Maurin on June 17, 2011

Dear ServeNext Community,

As we head into summer, things are not slowing down over here…A budget battle gearing-up, a music tour partnership, an article in The Huffington Post, a meeting with White House leadership, and a Congressional reception – a lot going on with ServeNext and national service right now!  Check it all out below.

-The ServeNext Team

What’s at Stake
For the second year in a row, funding for AmeriCorps and all service programs under the Corporation for

Save the Dates: District Days July 20 and August 10

National and Community Service are facing elimination in Congress.  That would mean zero dollars for these critical programs in the nation’s FY2012 budget.

It’s deeply scary what’s at stake if this were to happen.  The students depending on tutors and mentors would lose them.  The AmeriCorps members helping the residents of Joplin, MO rebuild would have to leave.  Cutting funds for service organizations is also a remarkably short-sighted attempt to improve our nation’s economy.  When students lack support to succeed in school and graduate, the cost to them and our nation is dire.  The longer it takes families to recover from natural disasters, the longer it is before communities can thrive again.

The cost of cutting service programs is far greater than the cost to fund them.  To make this case to members of Congress, ServeNext is partnering with the Save Service Campaign for District Days on July 20 and August 10.  Read more and get ready!

There is Good News
Building support in Congress is a huge challenge.  Fortunately, President Obama, the First Lady, and Administration leaders are incredible champions for expanding national service.  Unfortunately, this does not mean everything will be okay during the FY12 battle.  Zach Maurin, ServeNext Executive Director, heard both of these points reinforced by senior White House official Melody Barnes at the White House’s Champions of Change roundtable on service and social innovation.  ServeNext was honored to be recognized at the meeting for its impact along with other great organizations.  Read more about the discussion.

Music Tour + Service as a Strategy for Education Equity
If you attended college anytime in the last 15 years, you likely have the songs The General and Elias on your iPod…Amplifying Education

Indie-roots-rock sensation DISPATCH is halfway through their first national tour in a decade and ServeNext Co-Founder Matt Wilhelm is out on the road, leading the band’s Amplifying Education campaign to leverage  people-powered service solutions to America’s education crisis. DISPATCH is donating more than $200K to organizations like City Year and Teach For America; encouraging fans to serve with United Way as volunteer readers, tutors, and mentors; and building the grassroots movement to help Save Service in America through an online action developed in partnership with ServeNext.  As a small “thank you” for taking these actions, fans are rewarded with free music downloads!

Check out Matt’s blog post about the tour’s launch at Red Rocks Amphitheater — the legendary 9,000 seat concert venue built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s — and how national service lives on in 2011 to address the education crisis in Denver.  Great cross-sector collaboration.  Save travels, Matt!

In Case You Missed It
Aaron Marquez, ServeNext Co-Founder and Board Member, had a great piece in The Huffington Post about the connection between civilian and military service.   He recaps it on the ServeNext blog:

I spent five years working in the civilian service field – two as an AmeriCorps member with City Year and three building ServeNext.  Following the passage of the Serve America Act two years ago, I set off on a new national service journey as an Army Reservist.

Read more of Aaron’s great article and his innovative ideas.

ServeNext Reception and Strategy Sessions
We’ve had three great events over the last five weeks.  On May 10th, we hosted a reception to energize about our grassroots work and recognize service champions in Congress.  It was a fantastic event with about 75 people.  Congressman Richmond (pictured) from New Orleans provided inspiring remarks, and senior staff from Senator Hatch and Congressman Latham represented their bosses well.  Check out the pictures.

The urgency to build a robust grassroots voice for service is increasing literally every day.  While we are thrilled with our impact over the years because of you and so many others getting involved, the political challenges facing the service field require that we grow faster and expand our impact.  But we cannot do it alone.  That’s why ServeNext convened two tremendous strategies sessions in Washington, DC and New Orleans with more than 40 leaders from the fields of service, policy, and philanthropy.

Now we’re putting together next steps with ideas and feedback from the discussions, and will soon be working to accelerate our growth.  If you have ideas or want to help, let us know!


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