In response to the Kennedy Serve America Act that will take effect October 1, the Corporation for National and Community Service is holding listening sessions — Katrina Mathis wrote about these this past week — and launching a few conference calls and an online discussion board where you can share your thoughts.
To achieve the goals of the Serve America Act — including expanding opportunities for all Americans to serve; focusing on important national outcomes; serving as a catalyst for social innovation; and supporting the nonprofit sector — the Corporation is swinging open the door to hear as many ideas as possible, in order to glean the best ideas and thoughts from around the country, from people on all sides of the national service table. The Corporation is the federal agency that oversees Senior Corps, Learn & Serve America, the AmeriCorps family of programs, and the new programs established by the Serve America Act.
The discussion board allows you to offer your own ideas and feedback, check out what other people have to say (scroll down to under the comment box), and vote for ideas that resonate with you. Unlike some social networking sites, you don’t get to see how many votes each post has gotten.
The suggested discussion board topics include the following — and each comes with guiding questions to help you get started:
- Expanding Opportunities to Serve
- Combining Assets for Greater Impact
- Demonstrating Impact
- Spurring Innovation and Supporting the Nonprofit Sector (New Initiatives)
- Achieving Growth through Simpler Grantmaking
Whether you are a prospective, current, or former corps member, a program director, or parent, your voice is valuable. Make it heard! If you are shy, you can remain anonymous.
If you have something to say that’s off-topic, you are asked to email someone at the Corporation through the Contact Us page rather than use the discussion board vehicle. Other ground rules of the discussion board include refraining from spamming and from making personal attacks; reading and supporting comments others have posted (and avoid restating ideas if someone’s already written it); and protecting your own privacy. The Corporation says it won’t respond to comments, but will consider the input in drafting proposed rulemaking, developing their new strategic plan, and creating guidelines for new and existing programs.
Also note the upcoming conference calls:
The Corporation has also scheduled three listening session conference calls in early June, each to be held from 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Eastern Time. Please click on the links below to register to participate and to reserve a slot to speak.
The efforts the Corporation staff is making to receive feedback and guidance from the public is promising, and indicates a commitment to openness and transparency that the Obama administration has been striving for all around. It’ll be exciting to watch the conversation and see what ideas rise to the top and become part of the implementation. Maybe yours!