Service Nation and MTV to Co-Host Inaugural Ball

Service Nation and MTV will co-host the Be The Change Inaugural Ball on January 20, 2009, the day President-Elect Barack Obama becomes president.

Service Nation, the campaign to increase support of national service, and MTV will partner to host a ball that celebrates the turnout of youth during the recent election. According to the MTV press release:

A record 24 million people between the ages of 18 and 29 voted in the 2008 presidential election, accounting for 18 percent of the 133.3 million voters who hit the polls. It marked the third major election in a row with increased youth-voter numbers, and for the first time in 20 years, the number of young voters surpassed the number of voters over the age of 65.

The event will take place in Washington, D.C.’s Reagan Building and International Trade Center. Guests will include celebrities, government leaders, and young volunteers. You’ll be able to watch the event on

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AmeriCorps Project Co-Founder Named CNN Hero of the Year

Thanksgiving night, Anderson Cooper will name Liz McCartney, co-founder of the St. Bernard Project in New Orleans, CNN’s Hero of the Year. The Project credits the involvement of AmeriCorps members with its success.

The following is copied directly from the press release issued by the Corporation for National and Community Service that funds and governs AmeriCorps programs:

Ms. Beatrice and a relative

Ms. Beatrice and a relative

Washington DC — Liz McCartney, cofounder of a Louisiana nonprofit that engages volunteers and AmeriCorps members to rebuild homes destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, was named the 2008 CNN Hero of the Year at a ceremony Saturday night in Hollywood.

McCartney received $100,000 to continue the project’s work in rebuilding homes in St. Bernard Parish. McCartney had already received $25,000 for being one of 10 finalists.

The “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute” ceremony, hosted by AC 360 host Anderson Cooper and featuring musical performances by Christina Aguilera, Alicia Keys, and John Legend, will be broadcast on CNN at 9 p.m. EST on Thanksgiving.

“To the country and the world, I ask you to please join us,” said McCartney in her acceptance speech. “Together we can continue to rebuild families’ homes and lives. If you join us, we’ll be unstoppable.”

The top ten finalists were selected from more than 3,700 nominations by a panel that included Magic Johnson, Kristi Yamaguchi, Deepak Chopra, and Desmond Tutu. McCartney was chosen as CNN Hero of the Year after six weeks of online voting in which more than 1 million votes were cast.

Liz McCartney, CNN Hero of the Year 2008

Liz McCartney, CNN Hero of the Year 2008

McCartney formed the St. Bernard Project two years ago with her boyfriend Zack Rosenburg after the couple came to the New Orleans area to volunteer in the wake of Katrina.  Shocked by the widespread destruction, they quit their professional jobs in Washington D.C. and moved to Louisiana.

The project has mobilized more than 9,000 volunteers to renovate and reconstruct 151 homes for residents of St. Bernard Parish.  It has relied heavily on the intensive service of AmeriCorps members to do construction work and manage volunteers. In the past two years, 260 AmeriCorps members have provided more than 80,000 hours of service, trained and managed more than 8,000 volunteers; supervised and worked side-by-side with volunteers to rebuild 120 families’ homes; provided more than $1 million worth of in kind volunteer supervision and labor; and helped raise more than $2 million in funds.

“We would not be where we are today without our partnership with AmeriCorps. This award is a tribute to all of our efforts,” McCartney said yesterday.  “Our relationship with AmeriCorps has been a very powerful and effective force for the community.”

The project works with families to do reconstruction work that’s needed to allow them to move back in. This varies from house to house but typically includes mold remediation, rewiring, plumbing, insulation, sheetrock, cabinetry, installing appliances and cabinets, and other tasks. It takes an average of 12 weeks and $12,000 to rebuild a home.

“I am surrounded by the people who are the real heroes, the people of St. Bernard who have put up with so many challenges and are still fighting for their community. The problems are big but the solutions are readily available. This award is great for the community because it will put St. Bernard and the New Orleans area in the national spotlight and show that we are making progress but still need volunteers,” McCartney said.

At the CNN Heroes ceremony, the top 10 finalists were introduced by celebrity presenters including actors Cameron Diaz, Salma Hayek, John Krasinski, Forest Whitaker, Meg Ryan, Terrence Howard, Lucy Liu, Jessica Biel, Kate Beckinsale and Selena Gomez.  The CNN Heroes campaign salutes everyday people accomplishing extraordinary things in their communities and beyond.  For more information about CNN Heroes, visit

The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that improves lives, strengthens communities, and fosters civic engagement through service and volunteering. Each year, the Corporation engages four million Americans of all ages and backgrounds in service through its Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America programs. For more information, visit

See the original The New Service post about Liz McCartney as a Top Ten Hero from Oct. 24.

In NYC? Find a Child from Every Country to be Photographed

A nonprofit in New York City is looking to photograph kids from every country. So far, photographer Danny Goldfield has snapped photos of kids from 156 countries. Kids must live in New York City now.

See the remaining countries and how to volunteer — check out the New York City Children website, or email dannygoldfield [at]

Check out the video introducion of the project from GOOD Magazine. How Would You Change the U.S.?

The social networking site (not to be confused with Obama’s transition site asks you to submit and vote for the best ideas to change the United States.

Here are some of the top national and public service ideas afloat.

uspsalogoVote for the U.S. Public Service Academy, a four-year, federally subsidized, civilian counterpart to Westpoint and the other military academies. Students would attend cost-free in exchange for a commitment to a few years of public service post-graduation. Spearheaded by Echoing Green Fellow Chris Myers Asch, and backed already by many government leaders. (Listen to the podcast on the idea.)

Vote for a national service program to improve local infratructure. “A large yet light and fast corps of workers – not unlike President-elect Obama’s campaign infrastructure – mobilized to solve such regional blights could have a huge impact on our economy, our environment, our education, and our civic engagement and empowerment, all from the ground up.” Submitted by librarian and media ecologist Terence Fitzgerald.

Abigail Falik

Abigail Falik, Founder of Global Citizen Year

Vote for Global Citizen Year, “The world urgently needs globally engaged American leadership.  Poverty, disease and climate change affect us all, threatening global security, prosperity and survival.  Yet Americans remain dangerously uninformed and unengaged in global issues….By recruiting and training a diverse corps of emerging leaders, and supporting them as apprentices with development organizations across Asia, Africa and Latin America, we’ll ensure that many more students have the global fluencies and civic savvy they need to approach their lives with passion, perspective and purpose. ” Global Citizen Year is already incorporated as an organization, headed by Abigail Falik, with plans to launch its first corps during the fall of 2009.

Atlas Corps logoVote for a two-way international service corps. “For 47 years Americans have had the opportunity to volunteer abroad with the Peace Corps and other programs, however it is almost impossible for someone overseas to volunteer in the U.S. The U.S. Government should support a global, two-way, service corps, such as Atlas Corps, where nonprofit leaders from abroad can volunteer in the U.S. and U.S. nonprofit leaders can volunteer abroad.” Submitted by Scott Beale, the founder of Atlas Corps.

Vote for incorporating social entrepreneurship into the national service plan. “While many students will be thrilled with the loan-repayment and service opportunities provided, and will rush at the ability to as teachers in under-privelleged schools or as Peace Corps volunteers abroad, the social entrepreneurs among the undergraduate crowd need support for their style of making change as well. This group are the synthesizers that see gaps in current nonprofit service provision and create new, innovative approaches to change. Unfortunately, there is almost no regularized funding available for student social entrepreneurs to translate their student work into full time careers and full-scale nonprofits. Social venture funding is needed.” Submitted by Nathaniel Whittemore, a Chicago-based social entrepreneur.

Vote to Expand AmeriCorps. “The benefits of giving Americans a chance to serve their country radically outweigh the costs.  In addition, service is a wonderful way to give young people the resources they need to go to college.  President Obama should keep his promise to expand AmeriCorps to 250,000 members a year by immediately pushing to increase its funding, instituting a “health corps” and a “green corps,” and giving a major speech in which he personally solicits young people to make a commitment to filling these slots.  More than ever, Americans desire the opportunity to serve their country; President Obama must make that a priority immediately.” Submitted by UPenn law student, activist, and AmeriCorps Alum Adam Schwartzbaum.

The top ten ideas overall, submitted in a wide range of categories, will be presented to President-Elect Obama on inauguration day (January 20).

Voting will take place in two rounds — round one ends on December 31. The top ideas from each category will make it to round two. Read more about the Ideas for Change in America.