Service Nation Summit on Friday afternoon

After the Town Hall, Chris Dodd was to speak:

Michael Brown, co-founder of City Year, introduces RPCV Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT).

Chris Dodd, in his opening remarks, says that he has spoken with Ted Kennedy and that Kennedy apologizes for not being here. Dodd announces that he has signed on as a co-sponsor of the Servce America Act. Our candidates are stronger because they have served their country: McCain in the military, and Obama in his community. Their examples of service remind us that who or how or where you serve, but that you serve. Sited the value to his life and values of his own Peace Corps service. Founded the bipartisan National Service Congressional Caucus in the Senate and introduced the Summer of Service legislation. We can’t write a check at all of our problems, but we can invest more in service. We spend in Iraq on one day what we spend all year on AmeriCorps and Peace Corps. We must translate our ideas into action, and change our country. Talk about what we can and must do as a nation, and the role national service plays in helping us accomplish our goals.

In an interview after the speech, Dodd said that we aren’t emphasizing enough how well the investment national service programs leverages community volunteers and resources, and facilitates the growth of strong communities, that would be far more expensive without national service Corps members. When I asked him about the challenge of keeping the spotlight on national service, he said he was committed to doing his part in the Senate and pointed to his emphasis on the movement during his presidential campaign this year.

Also see Building Bi-Partisan Support, a panel discussion with Dodd, following Dodd’s speech.

Service Nation Town Hall Meeting

Follow tweets by RocchiJulia.

Moderated by David Gergen, Senior Political Analyst at CNN and advisor to Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and Clinton. In his opening remarks, Gergen says this is the most hopeful movement he’s seen since the civil rights movement.

Participants include Lt Gen Ben Freakley, Vanessa Kirsch (New Profit, Inc.), Mallory Josol (City Year and Jumpstart alum), Michelle Nunn (Hands On Network), Usher (er, well, of Usher!).

Kirsch was part of the founding of Public Allies. Says Eli Segal would be proud of the bipartisan support of national service we have been witnessing during the Summit. Emphasis on public-private partnership. We can actually solve problems with the human capital invested through national service! Teach For America used to be a small idea, and now tens of thousands of top college graduates are applying. Need to scale up national service to meet the desire to serve.

Gergen: how do you mobilize this many people to sign up? (Kennedy and Hatch’s Serve America Act would authorize the funding of 250,000 national service slots.)

Michelle Nunn says Kennedy-Hatch bill includes many different types of service: national service, community volunteering, international service. Coalition includes all sectors, faith-based groups, and more to work together to “make the bill a reality.”

Usher: Youth have always been on the fore-front of change. Youth leaders need a sense of ownership. Incentives may include scholarships. (Soft spoken but then says he’s nervous! Audience cheers him on.) Youth are engaged by leaders who lead example. Not “this is what you should do” but “this is what we will do together.”

Mallory Josol: (She is so young, and so, so well-spoken!) It’s important to have leaders call on youth to serve, but it’s more important to live the example. Youth will answer the call to service if they know about the opportunities. Need is all over the country, youth are all over the country. Josol says she is from a zip code “of need.” You don’t have to be wealthy to serve.

Lt. Gen. Freakley: Programs, civilian or military, offer youth opportunities to serve and to realize their potential. Not organized on the internet! Have to get into social networking! Bring military retirees into the process: they can plan, they can execute, they can train!

Gergen: Where does government fit in?

Kirsch: Middle way. Not about big government or just the private sector. Government, philanthropists both partners. Citizens elevate programs, government invests. AmeriCorps is a network of organizations, succeeding with capital invested from the government. Not “big government.” Most organizations that receive AmeriCorps funding are otherwise private-sector funded for the most part.

Freakley: Move youth from entitlement to empowerment. We adults have given them a sense of entitlement. When they feel empowered, they will serve.

Participant: It’s a religious experience being here. Largest coalition of bipartisan support for service. Serve America Act is an appropriations bill. May compete with labor bill. Can we build an even broader coalition so that we don’t do harm but instead to good?

Participant: The U.S. Public Service Academy be successful? Will it compete with military service academies?

Freakley: Need Public Service Academy to train people to serve in public sector and alumni who can speak out for service.

Harris Wofford steps up to the microphone on the ballroom floor: The reason Kennedy and Shriver were confident that Peace Corps could grow to 100,000 is because the original CCC employed 500,000. AmeriCorps is primarily a nonprofit sector endeavor. Seed funding from government.

Service Nation on Friday morning

John Bridgeland, President and CEO of Civic Enterprises kicks off the “party around service” with an enthusiastic crowd. Thanks leaders and organizers et al by name.

Film tribute to those whose lives were personally affected by the tragic events of Sept. 11th, 2001, created by the National September 11th Memorial and Museum.

National anthem! Melinda Doolittle from American Idol Season Six. BIG soft spot in my heart for Melinda Doolittle.

Vartan Gregorian, Service Nation Co-chair and President of the Carnegie Corporation speaks.  Giving is part of our culture. Low income families give four percent of income to charities. Three-quarters of Americans give an average of $1800. annually.  Democracy is not a spectator sport, we have to work to make it a success, we should praise people who serve as elected officials. Benefits of our society oblige us to return the favor. “It’s in giving that we receive” – St. Francis. Become a true citizen through giving. “Live out our passions lest we be judged as not having lived at all” (missed who the paraphrased quotation is from).

Laurie Tisch of the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund introduced NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Mayor Bloomberg speaks. “When you talk about volunteerism, America needs us,” including military service members who are putting their life on the line for us. We are the beneficiaries of their service. Their families suffer the loss. Service can respond to issues such as global warming. In NY they are planting a million trees. Converting city government, schools, own home to CFL bulbs.

First Lady Laura Bush speaks. Talks about engaging older adults volunteering by mentoring and tutoring youth. Cites examples of national service participants. “We can build an America with 100 million volunteers.” (I apologize for the brief paragraph but I inadvertently missed the first part of her talk. See the text from the White House Press Office. )

Hearing from representatives of different programs:

City Year Philadelphia alum Leon McClain speaks about regretful choices he made to give into peer pressure, and ended up with two bullets in his leg, but turned his life around when he joined City Year. Talks about a student Ray he worked with and the feeling of satisfaction he gets from knowing he made a difference.

Walter Atwood, alum of original Civilian Conservation Corps, upon which AmeriCorps*NCCC is based.

Antonio Ramirez, Youthbuild alum, crediting AmeriCorps with helping him become his family’s first Associates of Arts (AA) degree holder. Has an infant daughter, and he’s proud to be able to create a good future for her and his family.

Brianna O’Brien, Hands On Network staff who served in New Orleans after Katrina.

Carolyn Kennedy (daughter of the late President John F. Kennedy) introduced Orrin Hatch (R-UT). Kennedy’s uncle Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Hatch have worked together on issues for a long time in the Senate together.

Hatch officially announced the bill this morning at the Service Nation Summit and spoke touchingly of his work with Kennedy across the aisle. The senators have worked together for a long time and Hatch’s affection for his friend was obvious and endearing. (Kennedy was convalescing at home.)

In a statement that drew enthusiastic applause, Hatch announced that both Senators McCain and Obama have signed on to co-sponsor the legislation! To the bi-partisan crowd, all supporters of national service, the support of both Presidential candidates means a lot. Hopes are high for national service and the next administration. Other co-sponsors include Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS), and RPCV Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT).

In an interview with Hatch after his speech, he addressed a question about the cost to government of national service. The bill, he said, “should please those who are concerned about cost.” He cited the relatively low cost of supporting trained volunteers compared to the cost of allowing high schoolers to drop out, and ignoring young people who have lost their role models to prison and worse fates. Further, according to Hatch, elevating these youth, educating them, and connecting them with job skills will serve the economy well, as will the creation of jobs, including in the energy industry.

After the morning line up of speakers, the gathering broke into panel discussions. See the schedule here.

See Change/Wire (the Service Nation blog) for notes on the Lunch. Follow RocchiJulia on Twitter for tweets.

Forum’s starting!

Watch it here!

See photo of Columbia students watching on the lawn.

Read this article from Chronicle of Philanthropy about Presidential candidates, public service, and philanthropy.

Notes from the Forum:

Gov. David Patterson announced he would elevate the position of the state commission on voluntary action and service to a cabinet level post.

Liz Alderman and Jay Winnick (sp?) — relatives of people who died on 9/11 spoke.

John McCain is up! Judy Woodruff and Rick Stengel interviewing him on stage in arm chairs. McCain is pleased with the volunteer effort in the United States, and is “all for” making it easier. If companies want to offer paid leave for service he says okay, but he won’t force them to. Says military service was part of his family’s tradition. Grateful that his country saved him, so he owes his country. Private sector should expand its own service opportunities, instead of relying on the government to expand its opportunities. Community service of anyone is admirable.

Obama now! Nation yearns to serve, and government should tap into that desire. Kids should connect to service opportunities early to develop citizenship. Support more military ranks, better military pay, and keep the GI Bill alive. “Lift up” opportunities to serve without partisan politics. Says young people yearn to serve and should be supported through civic education and opportunities to serve in youth. Change happens from the bottom up: we roll up our sleeves and create positive change. JFK answered the idealism of his time by creating Peace Corps, and Clinton by creating AmeriCorps.

Kennedy-Hatch Serve America Act

Update, April 21, 2009: President Obama signs the Serve America Act into law. To take effect October 1, 2009.

Friday, Sept. 12, Senators Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced new legislation called the “Serve Amerca Act” to expand national and community service opportunities. After the bill was introduced in the Senate, it was referred to the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee.

The legislation will seek to expand the number of national service participants to 250,000 (175,000 more than can be currently funded).

Themes include expanding opportunities for people to serve at every stage of life, and to use service to meet specific national challenges like natural disaster preparedness and response, high school drop out prevention, energy conservation and environmental stewardship, and health care and more jobs access for people with low-incomes. It includes the creation of a reserve corps of national service alumni who can be mobilized in the wake of a natural disaster.

The act seeks specific opportunities to serve for students, working adults, retirees, and “Americans of all ages.” A new benefit for older participants would be an education award transferable to grandchildren. Currently AmeriCorps members must use their Eli Segal Education Award on their own tuition or student loans.

The bill, if passed, would support social entrepreneurship through establishing a commission to look at cross-sector solutions to social problems, and to apply effective business practices in the nonprofit sector by establishing venture capital funds to increase its talent pool and efficacy.

Finally, the bill seeks to expand Volunteers for Prosperity, which fosters short-term international volunteer opportunities for United States professionals to serve in developing countries.

(The information here is a summary of a press release from Senator Kennedy‘s and Senator Hatch‘s offices.)

Update from the Service Nation Summit, Sept. 12, 2008:

Orrin Hatch officially announced the new Serve America Act bill this morning at the Service Nation Summit and spoke touchingly of his work with Ted Kennedy “across the aisle.” The senators have worked together for a long time and Hatch’s affection for his friend was obvious and endearing. (Senator Kennedy was convalescing at home.)

In a statement that drew enthusiastic applause, Hatch announced that both Senators McCain and Obama have signed on to co-sponsor the legislation! Other co-sponsors include Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY), RPCV Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT), Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS), and Senator Gordon Smith (R-OR). To the bi-partisan crowd gathered for the Summit, all supporters of national service, the support of both Presidential candidates means a lot. Hopes are high for national service and the next administration.

In an interview with Hatch after his speech, he addressed a question about the cost to government of national service. The bill, he said, “should please those who are concerned about cost.” He cited the relatively low cost of supporting trained volunteers compared to the cost of allowing high schoolers to drop out, and ignoring young people who have lost their role models to prison and worse fates. Further, according to Hatch, elevating these youth, educating them, and connecting them with job skills will serve the economy well, as will the creation of jobs, including in the energy industry.

Read the Press Release.

Read the executive summary of S.3487, The Serve America Act.

Read the entire bill (PDF) written by Emma Vadehra.

Read the opinion piece by Senators Kennedy and Hatch in TIME Magazine.

Service Nation Approved Bloggers List

(Update 9/20/08, see this post from Henri Makembe’s blog for more bloggers.)

My first official media team volunteer duty at the Service Nation Summit (okay, after schlepping some boxes and touring the primary event spaces for tonight and tomorrow) is checking in the Be the Change, Inc. approved bloggers for the Forum tonight.

I may blog some as I am able, but in case you want to follow events, I will update the list of bloggers as they check in. Note: not 100% of bloggers checked in with me — others may be blogging not on this list. Doesn’t mean they are unauthorized.

Kate from Be the Change, Inc. is here: Change/ Wire. Follow BetheChangeInc on Twitter, and follow Kate, rightplace.

Britt Bravo is here: Blogher.com and Have Fun – Do Good. You can follow Britt on Twitter. You can also follow Britt-inspired Changeblogs on Twitter.

Alison Fine arrived: afine.us and afine on Twitter.

Liza Sabater checked in: Awearness, and blogdiva on Twitter.

Christina Kerley got in: She blogs at CK’s Blog and Spare Change. ckEpiphany on Twitter.

Roger Carr just walked in! Everyday Giving, and rogercarr on Twitter.

Columbia Graduate School of Journalism students are blogging at Obama and McCain at Columbia. Follow them on Twitter: J_School.

Lara Galinsky just arrived! Spark*Blog on Echoing Green. Friday Echoing Green will be updating on Twitter.

Alan Wolk! Blogging at Toadstool, and Tweeting at awolk.

The FLiP team arrived: Divine Tabios, Elisabeth Anderson, and Daniel Blaine. They are not tweeting!

RocchiJulia is tweeting! She will blog at Social Citizens.

Ray Skwire is here. Will blog tomorrow about tonight at PhillyBits.

And Friday morning I am seeing (in addition to those above):

Daniel Parr from Conservation Nation! Not tweeting.

I am again tweeting from AmyPotthast!