Alan Khazei, City Year Co-Founder, Running for the Senate in Massachusetts — Election in Two Weeks

Update, Dec. 9: Although Alan Khazei gained the endorsements of many prominent people and even The Boston Globe, he was defeated at the polls during the Democratic primary Dec. 8th, by Martha Coakley, Massachusetts Attorney General. Khazei won 13 percent of the popular vote during yesterday’s election.

Among the hopefuls to fill Ted Kennedy’s long-held Senate seat is City Year founder Alan Khazei.

Alan Khazei, from his campaign website

Twenty years ago Alan Khazei and Michael Brown co-founded City Year, a national service corps that became a model for AmeriCorps in the early 90s. Today, Khazei is campaigning his heart out in Massachusetts to fill the Senate seat left empty on August 25th when Senator Ted Kennedy passed away from a brain tumor.

Khazei had worked closely with Senator Kennedy to create and garner Congressional support for several pieces of legislation for national service programs, including the National and Community Service Trust Act of 1990, AmeriCorps, Save AmeriCorps, and this year’s landmark Kennedy Serve America Act.

On other issues, Khazei stands with Kennedy’s positions as well, including his sense that No Child Left Behind — Continue reading

Alan Khazei’s Tribute to Senator Ted Kennedy

A letter from Be The Change’s Alan Khazei in tribute to Senator Kennedy who passed away Tuesday. Sign the Condolence Book for the Kennedy family.

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

Senator Kennedy at the Service America Act bill signing. Photo credits: Martin H. Simon-Pool/Getty ImagesOn behalf of ServiceNation, Be the Change and our extended community, I would like to express our profound sadness over the passing of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, as well as our deep appreciation for his life’s contribution and our most heartfelt sympathy to his extraordinary family.

Senator Kennedy is the true godfather of the service movement. Without his tireless commitment, this movement as it thrives today never would have come about. He indelibly changed the fabric of America by not just inspiring, but personally enabling millions of citizens to give their time and skills to improve their communities and country. Through his visionary and bipartisan leadership in authoring the National and Community Service Act of 1990, the legislation that created AmeriCorps in 1993, and most recently with his good friend Senator Orrin Hatch, the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act of 2009, he Continue reading

NCVS Opening Plenary Monday Night

Michelle Obama speaking at NCVS 09

Michelle Obama speaking at NCVS 09

The launch of the National Conference on Volunteering and Service Monday night brought a huge crowd of people out to hear First Lady Michelle Obama speak, among other familiar faces.

When I arrived, the throngs of people waiting in line to go through security matched the throngs of people already inside the hall, and everyone was waiting for Michelle Obama. Helping the time fly was comic/emcee Wally Collins who made fun of individual audience members between introducing musical acts like Sondre Lerche and the Glide Ensemble. Also in the lead-in to the main event, Shawn Rubin accepted the Eli Segal Award from AmeriCorps Alums, Alan Khazei of Be the Change, Inc., spoke introducing corporate sponsor Shannon Schuyler of PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

The highlight of the night didn’t come at the end, as I would have expected. Michelle Obama took the stage somewhere in the middle of the opening event, and everyone in the crowd cheered and stood if they could. Her words were inspiring of course, but I was more stunned by the simple fact of her presence—the President’s wife chose to spend time with us. She used to run a Public Allies AmeriCorps program—and said to start that she was with her people. What I liked the best about what she said was the reaction she and President Obama received when they each decided to forego lucrative careers for nonprofit jobs—Mrs. Obama at Public Allies and Pres. Obama at various nonprofits like the Developing Communities Project where he was a community organizer. She said, regarding people in our lives who dismiss our career choices: “But what these folks don’t understand is that the story of progress in this nation has always been the story of people who chose — in times of trial and struggle — to serve it.”

Mrs. Obama also announced the launch of the United We Serve summer of service initiative, which will last through Sept. 11th of this year, which will make community service easy to do for anyone, and focus on health care, energy Continue reading

Service Nation Strategy Session in San Francisco as part of NCVS

Monday, Service Nation coalition members and others gathered for a luncheon at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, prior to the kick off of the National Conference on Volunteering and Service.

Overall the strategy luncheon was more luncheon than strategy, but I was glad to see an effort made to bring the Service Nation campaign spirit into the National Conference on Volunteering and Service gathering, which overall seeemed to involve more media attention and celebrity involvement this year than in the past.

Speakers included:

Alan Khaizei, founder of Be the Change, Inc, leader organizer of the Service Nation campaign, spoke—summarizing the Continue reading

New Podcast: Cross Sector Relationships, Corporate Responsibility and Citizen Service: An Interview with Alan Khazei and Shannon Schuyler

The New Service podcast from Idealist.org takes a look at a new national partnership.

Corporate social responsibility and citizen service are increasingly becoming two sides of the same coin, as more business-sectoemployees and clients demand opportunities to improve their communities as part of their workplace culture. Exemplifying the beneficial opportunities of cross-sector alliances is the new national partnership between the nonprofit Be The Change, Inc., and the business network Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC).

Alan Khazei

Alan Khazei

Today’s guests on The New Service podcast from Idealist.og are Be the Change, Inc’s Alan Khazei and PwC’s Shannon Schuyler. Link to the podcast.

Alan Khazei is the founder and CEO of Be the Change, Inc, the lead organizer of the Service Nation campaign that has galvanized support throughout the country for passage of the Kennedy Serve America Act. Alan is Co-Founder & former CEO of City Year, the youth service corps that helped to inspire the development of AmeriCorps.

Shannon Schuyler

Shannon Schuyler

Shannon Schuyler is the Managing Director responsible for PwC’s U.S. Corporate Responsibility. As such she is responsible for fostering meaningful partnerships with national non-profits, including a new national relationship with Be the Change, Inc.

The collaboration between Pricewaterhouse Coopers and Be the Change Inc is aimed at inspiring a new era of voluntary citizen service. PwC will also serve as a Lead Sponsor for ServiceNation’s participation in the upcoming National Conference on Volunteering and Service.

I spoke with Alan and Shannon about their evolving partnership, about how corporate responsibility strengthens communities, and about how groups can — and must — come together across sectors to solve our most pressing social problems.

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Serve America Act Passes the Senate

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

Today in the U.S. Senate, the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act passed, 79-19.picture-43

The legislation re-authorizes and expands domestic and international service opportunities for all Americans. See how your senators voted. Last week the companion bill passed the House.

Senator Orrin Hatch added an amendment at the last minute to re-name the legislation after Senator Edward Kennedy.

The bill was amended on the Senate floor and the legislation was expanded to include the following:

  • Baucus Amendment to express the Sense of the Senate that Congress should preserve the income tax deduction for charitable contributions and look for ways to continue to encourage charitable giving.
  • Burr Modified Amendment to improve the provisions relating to criminal history checks.
  • Warner Amendment to conduct a study regarding the establishment of a Volunteer Management Corps program.

The bill is expected to be sent back to the House of Representatives for quick approval of the Senate’s changes, with the goal of getting the bill to President Obama for signature next week.

Senator Mikulski said, “I want to thank Senator Kennedy, Senator Hatch and Senator Enzi for their hard work crafting this Continue reading

Update on Senate Discussion of the Serve America Act

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

In the Senate today, discussion got underway on the Serve America Act.

60 Senators are usually needed to vote “cloture” to allow discussion on a bill. According to Alan Khazei of Be The Change, Inc., and Service Nation, 74 Senators voted cloture, “an extremely strong bi-partisan vote, with 22 Republicans joining 50 Democrats and 2 Independents voting in favor.”

To find out if your Senators voted to allow the Serve America bill to proceed, check out this list of “Yea” voters: Continue reading