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Archive for the ‘National Service’ Category

Summer of Service Part II

Posted by Morgan St. Jean on July 19, 2012

To help demonstrate the impact service and service members have, ServiceNation’s ServceNext Initiative has launched ‘Stories of Service,’ a summer-long series that will capture first-person accounts from service members currently deployed across the country.

In the series’ second post, Shayla Price talks about what she has learned about hunger in America while serving as a summer AmeriCorps VISTA member. If you missed it,  be sure to check out Shayla’s first post about why she wanted to spend her summer serving. 

As a summer AmeriCorps VISTA, I am on the front lines of a very important issue in America—childhood hunger. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), over 16 million children lived in food insecure households in 2010. With 1 in 5 children not receiving enough nutritious food on a regular basis, we must work together to end childhood hunger.

During my service, I have learned that hunger impairs children’s health significantly. Research shows that kids experiencing hunger are more inclined to get headaches, stomachaches, and colds. As they grow older, the children may even encounter harmful health consequences from obesity.

Moreover, hunger can hinder a child’s ability to learn and perform academically. A kid will not be able to concentrate and perform well in school.

The summer months can be a difficult time. Though more than 21 million American kids get free or reduced-price school lunch, only 3 million of those kids get a free summer meal. That’s why I believe my commitment to serve is necessary to help improve kids’ access to healthy food.

Feeding America is helping lead the way to meet the nutritional needs of children during the summer. With assistance from food banks across the country, Summer Food Programs provide nutritious meals and snacks to food insecure youth. The programs are typically reimbursed through the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).

SFSP is designed to fill that nutrition gap, making sure children receive the healthy meals they need. To find meals in your community, call the National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-3-HUNGRY. You will receive information on where kids can find summer sites in your area.

By serving with VISTA, I am directly helping with Kids Café, one of the summer food programs. This initiative provides free meals and snacks to low-income children through a variety of community locations such as Boys and Girls Clubs, churches, and public schools. Some Kids Cafés programs even offer educational, recreational, and social activities, providing a safe place.

In Kansas City, the food bank Harvesters is partnering with agencies to offer 53 Kids Cafés across 26 counties in Missouri and Kansas. Children receive a free, wholesome meal and nutrition education at various sites, like community centers and low-income housing complexes.

As a VISTA member at Harvesters, I perform site monitoring and compliance inspections for Kids Cafés. For example, I verify that participating sites have adequate storage and refrigeration to keep meals, appropriate space to serve meals, and staff to administer the food. The VISTA team also monitors the sites for proper sanitation and recordkeeping.

I enjoy visiting Kids Cafés! The children are always eager to learn the day’s lunch menu. My site inspections play a vital role in guaranteeing that kids receive a healthy, free meal. With my passion and hard work, my AmeriCorps service is ensuring that hunger is not part of a kid’s summer vacation plans. Through VISTA, I have learned how one person can contribute to bringing individuals and communities out of poverty.

Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign understands the importance of connecting kids to meals. The organization is traveling across the country to increase participation in the summer meals program, ensuring that no child goes hungry when school is out.

Let’s end childhood hunger together! Give money. Give time. Give food. Find out how you can help your community. Contact your local food bank by visiting feedingamerica.org.

Shayla Price at the beginning of her summer of service  

About Shayla

R. Price is an attorney and an advocate for ending childhood hunger. She has promoted community service as a governor-appointed commissioner for Volunteer Louisiana. Prior to government service, Price worked as a marketing director for ProgressiveU.org, a social welfare organization that sought to give high school and college students a voice.

While in high school, she earned more than $100,000 in college scholarships. She authored the book titled “The Scholarship Search: A Guide to Winning Free Money for College and More.” She has been featured in several publications, including “Better Homes & Gardens,” “Seventeen,” and “Black Enterprise.” Price was also named one of EBONY magazine’s 2009 Young Leaders and received the first-ever Emerging Greatness Award.

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Posted in AmeriCorps, National Service, service, Stories Of Service | 3 Comments »

Summer of Service – Part I.

Posted by Morgan St. Jean on July 9, 2012

Shayla Price at the start of her summer of service

What does one think of when they think of a national service member?  The ideas are endless, which at once is both an advantage and challenge.  On the plus side, national service has been used to aid communities, states, and our nation in great times of need.  The downside is that there is not a singular definition or example that embodies the impact national service makes in our country every day.  To help demonstrate the impact service and service members have, ServiceNation’s ServceNext Initiative has launched ‘Stories of Service,’ a summer-long series that will capture first-person accounts from service members currently deployed across the country.

Our inaugural post in this series is from Shayla Price, an extraordinary woman who has devoted her life to service. She is serving for 8 weeks as an AmeriCorps VISTA member fighting poverty.

Summer of Service – Part I.

Guest post by Shayla R. Price

Service is an integral part of who I am. Through community service, I have had the opportunity to tutor kids, clean up parks, and raise money for great nonprofits.

As a commissioner for Volunteer Louisiana, a policy-making body for national service efforts in the state, I help distribute funding from the Corporation for National and Community Service to organizations and schools that make a substantial commitment to service. For the past three years on the board, I have heard countless positive, impactful stories from AmeriCorps members.

Those service experiences inspired me. That’s why I decided to join the front lines in the fight against poverty in America. Right now, I am officially an AmeriCorps VISTA! For a total of eight weeks, I will be serving at Harvesters, a food bank in Kansas City, Missouri.

Last week, my summer of service kicked off with great success. Alongside eight other VISTA members, I will be improving the lives of area residents by increasing their access to good, nutritious food.

Hunger is a real issue. In Harvesters’ 26-county direct service area, more than 375,000 people are food insecure.  Furthermore, 125,000 children lack access to enough food for an active, healthy lifestyle. Learn about hunger facts in your area by visiting Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap.

During training, I learned that Harvesters has a network of more than 620 nonprofit agencies. Their network includes emergency food pantries, soup kitchens, and homeless shelters. The food bank provides assistance to more than 66,000 different people each week.

Feeding More. Feeding Better. Through Harvesters’ Agency University, the food bank equips its agencies with the necessary resources to feed its clients. Organizations do not pay for the food products. One of my duties will be to monitor these agencies through site inspections. The main purpose of monitoring is to ensure every agency is in compliance with the rules.

In my first week, I had the opportunity to observe the monitoring of a Kids Café, a program that provides free meals and snacks to low-income children. I learned about the USDA’s food safety rules, child nutrition labels, and civil rights compliance.

In addition, I participated in SNAP (food stamps program) outreach at a mobile food pantry. During the site visit, my fellow service members and I handed out brochures explaining SNAP eligibility requirements and benefits. We also helped the community members bag green beans and nectarines for distribution to the long lines of parents, kids, and senior citizens.

I am looking forward to building systems and creating solutions to fight hunger. With a great team of diverse individuals, I am ready to teach kids about nutrition, distribute food to seniors, and conduct SNAP outreach.  I truly believe in Harvesters’ mission—feed hungry people today and work to end hunger tomorrow.

About Shayla

Shayla R. Price is an attorney and an advocate for ending childhood hunger. She has promoted community service as a governor-appointed commissioner for Volunteer Louisiana. Prior to government service, Price worked as a marketing director for ProgressiveU.org, a social welfare organization that sought to give high school and college students a voice.

While in high school, she earned more than $100,000 in college scholarships. She authored the book titled “The Scholarship Search: A Guide to Winning Free Money for College and More.” She has been featured in several publications, including “Better Homes & Gardens,” “Seventeen,” and “Black Enterprise.” Price was also named one of EBONY magazine’s 2009 Young Leaders and received the first-ever Emerging Greatness Award.

Posted in AmeriCorps, Corporation for National and Community Service, Millennial Generation, National Service, service, Stories Of Service, Volunteerism | 1 Comment »

From AmeriCorps Member to National Service Advocate

Posted by Morgan St. Jean on March 22, 2012

Katherine Jones with Sen. Blumenthal

Katherine with Senator Blumenthal

This post was written by ServeNext Organizer Katherine Jones 

My experience as a ServeNext Organizer empowered me to realize that I have a voice and can make a difference. Before my involvement with ServeNext, I wanted to be an advocate for national service, but I didn’t know where to turn or how to start. I felt like I was one of many in the community and that my voice would not be effective in making change. But throughout this year I gained valuable skills and I know now that I can use my voice for any issue that interests me.

I joined ServeNext right after finishing my year of service with AmeriCorps. I knew I wanted to continue being involved in the national service community and to also explore my interest in advocacy. ServeNext gave me the perfect opportunity to combine my passions and further my career at the same time.Through my work as an Organizer, I gained the experience and national network of contacts to make myself a sought-after commodity. The skills needed to be an Organizer are in demand, and it’s no wonder considering how much I’ve been able to accomplish during my time at ServeNext.

The skills I gained through ServeNext are already starting to pay off. I am going back to graduate school and applied for a competitive internship this summer. I was hired for the position and told that I was chosen over other candidates because of my experience with ServeNext.

I am especially proud of the meetings I was able to set up with Congresswoman Rosa Delauro of Connecticut and Congressman Frank Guinta of New Hampshire. Both meetings were very gratifying, but the meeting with Congressman Gunita was most inspirational because we changed his opinionof the value for service in New Hampshire. We were able to put service on the Congressman’s agenda and hopefully it will make a difference in the future when he thinks about cutting funding to national service programs.

The Organizer program is incredibly valuable to communities because the position works to unite the community. In New Hampshire, there were a variety of service professionals that wanted to get involved in advocacy efforts, but, similar to my experience, were unsure of what to do.  As an Organizer, I was able to collaborate with service professionals and work with them on developing ideas and strategies for advocating in their state.

As my term ends with ServeNext, I know that my time spent in New Hampshire ignited a fire that was waiting to be lit in members of the local community where I served and I know that they will continue to make a difference after I have left.

I encourage others who have a passion for national service advocacy to apply to be a ServeNext Organizer. The deadline is April 6 and you can apply online at www.servenext.org/2012.

Posted in Advocacy and Policy, AmeriCorps, Corporation for National and Community Service, Jobs/Internships, National Service, ServeNext, service, Stories Of Service | 4 Comments »

Be a Part of Something Big – at a Critical Moment

Posted by Zach Maurin on March 6, 2012

ServeNext started the year with two huge announcements.  First, that we’ve merged with ServiceNation.

And last week, that we’re hiring a team full-time field organizers dedicated to fighting for national service programs in politics. The first time in history such a team will exist.

I want to provide some historical context about why this is so exciting and why applying to be one of the first full-time field organizers is a unique opportunity.The eight leaders selected will build on the tremendous work of our last two teams of part-time organizers.

I believe that the next five years is a defining moment for AmeriCorps and the entire concept of national service: will it grow to meet pressing needs or will the cuts continue?

Some will say this isn’t a fair choice because we’re in a tough, recovering economy.  But it’s precisely for that reason – and the increase in social problems as a result – that make this a fair choice.

Tough times can actually accelerate the growth of programs, ideas, and investments because of urgency, the will to act, and the need for solutions.  The question then is will the national service field do enough to win the moment and position itself as one of the top solutions that we know it is.

The answer could define the field for a long time. If we’re unsuccessful at this challenge, then AmeriCorps and other service programs are seen as “nice but not necessary.” If during one of America’s most trying periods national service is seen on the periphery and not a national priority, how can we make the case moving forward that it’s critical?

But at ServeNext we believe that AmeriCorps and other service programs are essential for the nation’s recovery and ability to rebuild.

The challenge is building enough public will to generate the political will in support of this belief. It won’t be easy. It requires that we overcome hyper-partisanship and the spending cuts that Congress has to make.

But doing so is not just about winning a budget battle this year or next (though that’s critical!). It’s about the role of national service in this country moving forward and cementing it as one of the nation’s go-to solutions for pressing challenges.

The idea that 80,000 annual AmeriCorps positions should be 250,000 and eventually a million. The idea of enrolling far more Baby Boomers with time and talents into Senior Corps and Experience Corps. The idea of returning Veterans continuing their service in national service positions as tremendous leaders that our communities need.

These are powerful ideas and we know they work. However, we need to relentlessly educate those in Congress to understand this too – and then relentlessly hold them accountable to support this vision.

The first team of full-time field organizers – called ServeNext Organizers – will be essential in making progress towards this vision at a time when both the present and the future of national service is at stake.

Learn more, apply, or nominate someone today: www.servenext.org/2012

Posted in Advocacy and Policy, AmeriCorps, Jobs/Internships, National Service | Leave a Comment »

Big News: Hiring Nationwide to Expand Service

Posted by Morgan St. Jean on March 1, 2012

I’m thrilled to announce a major milestone for ServeNext – and even make a little history. 

We’re hiring a team of full-time ServeNext Organizers around the country.

This is a first for the national service movement and one of the exciting benefits of our merger with ServiceNation.  The timing could not be more critical.  The political climate is getting tougher because members of Congress have to make even more spending cuts.

You know that national service is one of the best investments around and deeply needed.  It’s time to get AmeriCorps, Senior Corps and the entire Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) growing again!

We’re looking nationwide for leaders who are deeply passionate about national service and will relentlessly advocate on its behalf.

Can you help us find the best candidates?

We will select eight Organizers to work from June – December in their communities.  The application deadline is April 6.  We’ll be reviewing them on a rolling basis and encourage potential applicants to apply early. For more information visit:www.servenext.org/2012.

The 2012 field team will build on the tremendous impact of you, our current team of part-time Organizers, Voices for National Service, and tens of thousands more who fought back threats of elimination last year.  They will collaborate with these groups and others going forward to build the strongest voice yet for national service.

Help us spread the word loud and far. Tweetshare on Facebook, forward this email, or use a carrier pigeon — however you can best share this exciting opportunity.

Let us know if you need anything.  And thanks for your help,

Zach, Jerry, Morgan and the entire ServeNext + ServiceNation team

PS – Do you work at a national service organization with a newsletter or blog, know any good job boards, or have other ways to spread the word? Here’s a short description you can post:

ServeNext is looking nationwide for outstanding leaders who are deeply passionate about national service and ready to advocate relentlessly on its behalf.  The eight selected will work from June – December in their communities. We’re reviewing applications on a rolling basis with an April 6 deadline. To apply, learn more, or nominate an outstanding leader, visit www.servenext.org/2012

Posted in Advocacy and Policy, AmeriCorps, Jobs/Internships, National Service, ServeNext, service | 1 Comment »

How National Service Actually Saves Our Country Money

Posted by Morgan St. Jean on February 8, 2012

On Monday we published a blog about challenging the idea that AmeriCorps members are volunteers. The post was sparked by legislation introduced by Representative Stutzman (IN-03), titled the “Volunteer Freedom Act.” The bill would eliminate the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), which oversees AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, the Social Innovation Fund and provides human resource power for many national and local organizations like Habitat for Humanity, Red Cross, food banks, etc. – you get the idea.

AmeriCorps members serving in Joplin, MO

AmeriCorps is a public-private partnership. When it awards grants to organizations to hire national service members, the organization has to match the grant with other non-federal funds.  As such, federal funds catalyze others to invest that might not have otherwise. As a result, the programs have more capacity to create jobs that meet community needs.

Without a federal investment, less private resources would flow into these programs and far less need would be met. This would mean more citizens struggling and that means more cost for the federal government (see below). Last year, AmeriCorps leveraged $486 million in non-CNCS funds from business, foundations, and other sources. CNCS allows organizations to leverage what funds they do have, investing that money into the economy. It is a situation where 1 + 1 = 3.

It is also important to look at how CNCS funds are spent – on jobs dedicated to helping our countries neediest. Take what AmeriCorps members did in Joplin, Missouri. Just hours after a tornado hit, AmeriCorps members from 20 organizations and seven states arrived to help the city rebuild. The tornado killed 161 residents and destroyed more than 7,000 homes, churches, schools, and businesses. The AmeriCorps members mobilized and managed over 60,000 volunteers, who provided over 579,000 hours of service. This equals more than $17.7 million donated resources.

Now we are not trying to argue that without AmeriCorps people wouldn’t volunteer to help with disaster response.  They would.  But the federal investment in full-time service members enables a massive leverage effect of those traditional, unpaid volunteers. AmeriCorps members maximize the efficiency and impact of those volunteers by ensuring work projects are ready to go and volunteers are never turned away, all which works to speed up the recovery time.  The longer it takes to rebuild, the longer it takes before people are back to work, before businesses reopen, etc, which is bad for the local and national economy. The federal investment catalyzes the recovery process. Last year AmeriCorps members recruited, trained, and supervised more than 3.4 million community volunteers.

In addition to responding to natural disasters, national service members provide preventative services. In homes across the country, Senior Corps members are helping elderly Americans to live independently. When a person becomes unable to stay in ones home, one goes into a nursing facility paid for by Medicare. This is an expensive and demoralizing experience for the individual. Senior Corps members allow people to stay in their home by bringing them food, coordinating their doctor’s visits, and being a companion. The government saves hundreds of thousands of dollars a year by investing in Senior Corps rather than paying for Medicare expenses.

AmeriCorps and Senior Corps are not a waste of government funds; rather they are smart financial decision that invests in people and local communities to solve our most pressing social problems. Most politicians get this, because someone (or many people) took the time to educate them.

While we understand the need to fix our nation’s finances, cutting national service will only make things worse. As with financial investing and business, you have to spend money to make money. You may not think this is the role of the government, but cutting national service will cost the government more in the end.

A lot of people have been posting on Congressman Stutzman’s Facebook and Twitter account sharing their experience of how national service programs are a financial asset to their community. I encourage you to do the same. We at ServeNext would also love to hear your stories so we can share them with others. Leave them in the comment section below or on our Facebook wall.

Posted in Advocacy and Policy, AmeriCorps, Corporation for National and Community Service, National Service, Volunteerism | Leave a Comment »

AmeriCorps MEMBERS are not VOLUNTEERS

Posted by Morgan St. Jean on February 6, 2012

I love to volunteer and have been doing it since I was a kid. But what I did after college as an AmeriCorps VISTA was not volunteering, it was a full time service commitment. Many of you may think I am drawing a false dichotomy. Other might be asking wait, doesn’t VISTA stand for Volunteers in Service to America? Technically, yes that is what VISTA stands for, but the name is misleading. We at ServeNext want to challenge the way the national service experience is described.

Morgan with a fellow VISTA member and two student volunteers at a MLK Jr., Day of Service they organized.

In these tough economic times there is a lot of talk about the need to cut government spending. Lawmakers are looking for easy cuts that make nice sound bites.  Case in point, Congressman Marlin Stutzman (IN-03) recently introduced the “Volunteer Freedom Act.” The bill would eliminate the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), which oversees AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, the Social Innovation Fund.

Why does Congressman Stutzman want to eliminate CNCS and national service programs? In his press release he says volunteers shouldn’t be paid. If you didn’t know anything about national service programs, saving $10 billion dollars in tax payer money by not paying people to volunteer sounds like a smart decision.

Of course, we know the huge impact these programs have on communities. So how can we convince Congressman Stutzman and others to support CNCS? Well, first we have to stop making it so easy to depict us as expendable.

We can do this by attacking two major assumptions: that we are just volunteers and that national service is just another inflated government program. This blog post focuses on the volunteer assumption, but look for a follow up blog on how national service actually saves money.

When a lot of people first hear about CNCS they make a false assumption that it’s just paying people to volunteer. This naturally leads to the question, why pay people to volunteer? If they really cared wouldn’t they just do it for free?

When I first heard this, my first instinct was to yell, “Yeah I was volunteering, but I worked really long hours and got paid way below minimum wage.” But then I realized that this just plays into their hand because it: a.) focuses the conversation on how much we get paid and b.) reinforces the idea that we are volunteers.

We need to make the conversation about how we are members, not volunteers. Serving in a full time AmeriCorps program is a big commitment. A lot of people are not comfortable calling it a job (I think it would really help our case if we did, but that’s a whole other discussion), but we need to communicate that it is more than a regular volunteer commitment.

Most volunteering is part time, a few hours a week or for some a few hours a year. Volunteers perform important work in their communities. But who organizes the volunteer opportunities, recruits volunteers, and train people to maximize their volunteer impact? Service members do!

There are many part  time national service programs, such as Senior Corps or Students in Service. But these programs ask a higher commitment  level than most volunteer opportunities. Organizations and communities benifit when people make a long term commitment and the service members take a lot from the experience.

As service members, individuals serving through CNCS perform both direct and indirect service and build the capacity of the organizations they serve with. By committing to the length of their term, national service members can engage in in-depth projects that really build the capacity of an organization and have lasting impact.

These are my thoughts.  What do you say when someone calls corps members volunteers? How do you describe your experience? We would love to hear your thoughts and ideas on how to respond to politicians assumptions about CNCS. You can either comment below or post on our facebook wall.

Also, if you want to share your story with Congressman Marlin Stutzman he has both facebook and twitter.

Posted in Advocacy and Policy, AmeriCorps, Corporation for National and Community Service, National Service, Volunteerism | Leave a Comment »

President Obama announces new interim CEO of CNCS

Posted by Zach Maurin on May 27, 2011

Patrick Corvington, current CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, sent an email to the field announcing his interim replacement. Corvington is leaving for another job in the nonprofit sector. Here’s his message:

Message from Patrick A. Corvington

CEO, Corporation for National and Community Service

Friday, May 27, 2011

Dear Colleagues,

We are very pleased to announce that President Obama has designated Robert Velasco, II, as Acting CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service.  Robert will serve in this position as the President works to identify a permanent CEO to be nominated and confirmed by the Senate.

Robert has done an outstanding job serving as our Chief Operating Officer, where he has managed agency operations, implemented changes to increase efficiency and accountability, and developed the infrastructure to carry out the Serve America Act and fulfill the President’s vision for national service.  Since February, Robert has also served as Chief of Program Operations, where he has provided strong leadership to support our thousands of grantees in the field who are delivering high-quality programming to meet local needs.

Robert is a seasoned manager with the necessary experience, judgment, and leadership ability to ensure that we continue to bring national service to higher levels of impact, innovation, and effectiveness.  Robert came to CNCS with more than 15 years of executive branch experience managing large complex programs and organizations, including multiple positions at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  He has led management reform efforts, and he has experience in implementing national policy frameworks and working with regional offices and state and local governments to implement programs.

On a personal level, Robert has experienced first-hand the impact of service and its ability to change lives, including his own.  His volunteer experiences catalyzed his own pursuit of a career in public service, and he strongly believes in the power of service to transform lives and communities.

With his extensive experience, knowledge of CNCS, and management ability, Robert will be a strong leader during the transition, effectively managing CNCS, maintaining the President’s priorities and continuing to ensure that service plays an important role in addressing some of our nation’s toughest challenges.

Robert is taking the helm as CNCS is poised for greater impact and success, with well-run programs, an impact-focused Strategic Plan, a strong network of state service commissions, thousands of results-driven grantees that include some of America’s most entrepreneurial organizations, key partnerships in the nonprofit and corporate sector, a high-performing workforce, and a widespread culture of impact and accountability.

On a final note, I want to thank all of you for your commitment to service and for the privilege of working with you for the past 15 months.  I have never met such a dedicated and mission-driven group of people.  The national service field is having a positive and lasting impact on millions of people’s lives, and that impact will only grow in the future.  It has been a great honor to work with all of you to advance the cause of national service, and I look forward to continuing that work.

Thank you, and best wishes to Robert and all of you as you make service an even greater part of the solution to our challenges and the fabric of our nation.

All the best,

Patrick A. Corvington

CEO, Corporation for National and Community Service

Posted in Advocacy and Policy, Corporation for National and Community Service, National Service | Leave a Comment »

The Week in Service Highlights

Posted by ServeNext Staff on March 17, 2011

Things have been pretty busy here at ServeNext! In the midst of the Save Service campaign we also hosted our first retreat for our new class of ServeNext Organizers.  It is an awesome group of 15 tremendous leaders from around the country who are deeply passionate about service and ready to take their commitment to the next level by leading grassroots advocacy in their districts/states.  It was a great weekend here in DC and their leadership is critical right now for the service movement.

Remember, the fight to save service continues in the federal budget for FY2011 and soon FY2012.  For updates, visit our action page or the Save Service page.

Here are some recent happenings in the service community:

1.) Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist, has started a new site just for nonprofits called craigconnects which works to connect nonprofits to one another and gain supporters. For more information, read the full article from the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

2.) The Huffington Post just published a great blog post by Rich Tafel, the president of Public Squared. Titled “At the Table, Off the Menu: Nonprofit Advocacy in the Age of Budget Cuts”, the post gives suggestions to nonprofits working in the current fiscal environment.

3.)In the wake of the tsunami and earthquake in Japan, the urge to help is overwhelming, but many worry about where there money is actually going. Saundra Schimmelpfenning, the founder of The Charity Rater, LLC offers 15 great strategies for effective giving in the aftermath of a tragedy.

4.) This year, the National Conference on Volunteering and Service is June 6-8 in New Orleans Louisiana. This past week on the National Service blog, Delores Morton who provides strategic direction for the conference talked about some exciting developments for this year.

5.) Yesterday, Google launched a new application process for nonprofits who are looking for access to their free suite of programs including up to $10,000 a month in advertising on Google AdWords, free or discounted Google Apps to cut IT costs and operate more efficiently, premium features for YouTube and mapping technologies to raise awareness of your cause. Idealist provides a comprehensive overview on their blog.

Have a great week and stayed tuned for more highlights!

Posted in Advocacy and Policy, Highlights, National Service | Leave a Comment »

Remembering R. Sargent Shriver

Posted by Zach Maurin on January 27, 2011

By Laura Alexander, ServeNext.org

When I joined the ServeNext team in October of last year, I had just returned from serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Tanzania.  As is the case with so many volunteers, the experience changed both my life and the lives of the people I served.

photo

So my mind immediately went to the Peace Corps when I heard the sad news of Robert Sargent Shriver’s recent passing. I, like so many Americans, am familiar the crucial role he played in shaping the Peace Corps as an organization, a mission, and an experience. As a returned volunteer, I am especially grateful for this contribution.

What I didn’t realize is that Sargent also founded many other service organizations that have been providing contributions to communities for decades and serving as examples to more recent social entrepreneurs. The list of organizations is surprisingly extensive, including VISTA, Head Start, Community Action, Foster Grandparents, Job Corps, and many more.

I try to live my life according to Sargent’s rules. Though I never had the privilege of meeting him, he made a significant impact on my life not only through his many pioneering contributions to the service world, but by being an example of a life dedicated to public service.

GOOD Magazine did a nice slideshow of pictures and quotes.  Below are additional reflections from a number of leaders:

Most of all, his passing should remind us of the service to which he dedicated his life and be a call to action for all of us.  As Sargent Shriver said, “Serve, serve, serve.  Because in the end, it will be the servants who save us all.” – Patrick A. Corvington, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service

Over the course of his long and distinguished career, Sarge came to embody the idea of public service. Of his many enduring contributions, he will perhaps best be remembered as the founding director of the Peace Corps, helping make it possible for generations of Americans to serve as ambassadors of goodwill abroad. His loss will be felt in all of the communities around the world that have been touched by Peace Corps volunteers over the past half century and all of the lives that have been made better by his efforts to address inequality and injustice here at home. – President Barack Obama

Hearing the entire Shriver family talk about the love affair between their mother and father brought a tear to my eye.

Hearing about Sarge’s fight for civil rights with Martin Luther King, Jr.; his work on the War on Poverty; his founding of The Peace Corps; his work with Special Olympics; and on and on was truly magical.

President Clinton gave a warm address. He interned for Sargent Shriver and helped to run his campaign for VP back in 1972. As did our Vice President Joe Biden who spoke with passion about what the Shriver family meant to him on a personal basis. – Ted Leonsis, DC community leader and businessman, who attended the memorial service

Wherever there was injustice or need, Sargent Shriver wanted to be there, rolling up his sleeves to help people reach their full potential, regardless of whether they were poor, living with disabilities or relegated to the margins of society. His relentless and optimistic spirit inspired countless Americans to take their passion and find ways to act on it for the common good. – AnnMaura Connolly, Voices for National Service and City Year

As he was to thousands, he will always be my inspiration and role model. He confronted the evils of deprivation – discrimination and poverty. He created living institutions that have and will continue to raise up this nation and help to fulfill the promise of America.

No words can express how much I – along with countless others – will personally miss him. Sarge has a special place in this nation’s history and our tears are those of gratitude for being one of his “kids.” He was the real definition of love, commitment and dedication. A unique person – always looking to the future, never dwelling on the past and forever generous in spirit. – Mickey Kantor, Former U.S. Secretary of Commerce

Picture: Peace Corps Director Sargent Shriver spent four days in Nepal visiting Volunteers.  Courtesy of Peace Corps Flickr account.

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