This week, New York’s Mayor Bloomberg announced that Diahann Billings-Burford will be New York’s first Chief Service Officer.
The initiative promotes volunteering and service, with the goals of making New York “the easiest place in the world to volunteer,” finding ways for volunteers to address the impacts of the economic downturn, and”setting a new standard for how cities can tap the power of their people to tackle our most pressing challenges.”
Billings-Burford’s work will include implementing the agenda spelled out in the NYC Service Report (PDF).
One new project — sponsored by Big Brothers Big Sisters — is a campaign to bring 2000 new mentors into 51 high needs middle schools through Middle School Mentors. Mentors would spend eight hours a month with a middle school student, “being their friend in school and out of school.”
Billings-Burford will also oversee the new NYC Civic Corps that will launch in July. NYC Civic Corps will dispatch small teams of AmeriCorps VISTAs to local nonprofits and government agencies to build “sustainable-impact volunteer programs.” The program recruits college grads of all ages.
According to Bloomberg and to the New York Times, Billings-Burford’s new position is the first of its kind, though California and New York governors have elevated the heads of their states’s volunteering and service commissions to cabinet-level posts.