Can AmeriCorps Members Raise Funds for Haiti?

AmeriCorps State and National members are typically limited in the amount of fund raising they are allowed to do during hours they count towards their 1700 hours.(AmeriCorps VISTA members are not restricted and often hold grant writing and other development positions.)

Today, Nicola Goren, Acting CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, issued a statement indicating that national service members may be permitted to take part in fundraising for the Haiti earthquake relief effort “within certain limits” and “as supplemental to the core program activity:”

We have been asked whether it is permissible for national service programs to participate in fundraising and other community outreach efforts in support of Haiti earthquake relief.  Within certain limits to be discussed with Corporation program officers, it is generally permissible for national service participants to support this activity as supplemental to the core program activity.  We are putting together more detailed answers to frequently-asked questions for programs considering ways to contribute to the relief effort, to be posted and updated as needed.  Please forward any questions you have to your program officer so that we can provide specific guidance.

I’ll update this post when more details are available.

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CNCS Chief Nominee Corvington Clears Committee

Corvington, Obama's pick to lead CNCS

Patrick Corvington, Barack Obama’s pick to become the C.E.O. of the Corporation for National and Community Service, was approved by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee earlier today.

His nomination may see the floor of the Senate as early as next week — if he’s supported there, he’ll be able to start his new job early in the new year.

It’s been over a year that David Eisner left his position at CNCS, when his Chief of Staff Nicola Goren stepped up to serve as Acting C.E.O. Last month Eisner assumed his new role at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, as its new President and CEO.

Corvington, who has been working in leadership development and nonprofit capacity building at the Annie E. Casey Foundation has a strong record of interest in next-generation social change leadership—for example, co-authoring studies Ready to Lead: Next Generation Leaders Speak Out and Next Shift: Beyond the Nonprofit Leadership Crisis, and supporting the work of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network.

Groups he’s been involved with like the social innovation fellowship Echoing Green and the nonprofit education organization American Humanics have soundly endorsed Obama’s choice to head CNCS. Read the CNCS press release announcing his nomination earlier this year.

In addition to overseeing the work of AmeriCorps programs, the Corporation may soon take on new responsibilities outline in the Kennedy Serve America Act that was signed into law earlier this year and is making its way through the Continue reading

September 11 Tribute Reminds Us of Endless Ways to Serve

Idealist’s Joanna Eng — who usually blogs at the Idealist in NYC blog — graciously attended last Friday’s September 11th event and permitted me to cross-post her account of the event.

The Roots

Photo from Be the Change Inc's Flickr Feed

Last Friday, a rainy and significant day, I was in attendance as 26 speakers and entertainers—including Hillary Clinton, David Paterson, Caroline Kennedy, Gavin DeGraw, and the Roots—came to the Beacon Theater on Friday evening to commemorate the newly-deemed September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance. The audience was mostly families of 9/11 victims, as well as many other people involved in service (including a large number of red-jacketed City Year corps members).

Besides being a tribute to 9/11 heroes and their families, the whole event was a reminder of the many ways to serve.

To fit the theme, the night started with a quick and simple “service in your seat” activity: While waiting for the program to begin, audience members inscribed inspiring notes to public elementary school students, who would be receiving donated books from Target.

When the program began, we were reminded of the variety of impromptu acts of service, big and small, that took place on Continue reading

Government Leaders Mark September 11th with Service

President Obama has declared today as Patriot Day and National Day of Service, and senior administration officials, including Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden, cabinet secretaries, and the heads of the Corporation for National and Community Service and Peace Corps will take part in service projects.

In a proclamation issued yesterday, President Obama remembers the events of September 11th:

Through the twisted steel of the twin towers of the World Trade Center, the scarred walls of the Pentagon, and the smoky wreckage in a field in southwest Pennsylvania, the patriotism and resiliency of the American people Continue reading

Obama Nominates CNCS Board Chair to Serve as Ambassador to Spain and Andorra

Solomont speaking at the Service Nation luncheon in June, <br>photo by Be the Change Inc

Solomont at Service Nation luncheon in June, photo by Be the Change Inc

The Corporation —which has been lacking a permanent CEO since November—may soon lose its board chair as well.

Alan Solomont, Chair of the board of the Corporation for National and Community Service, was nominated today to serve as the United States Ambassador to Spain and Andorra.

According to a statement today from Acting CEO of the Corporation Nicola Goren:
Alan has provided extraordinary leadership to the Corporation and the larger service movement since his original appointment to the Board by President Clinton in 2000 and his reappointment by President Bush in 2007.  His guidance as Board Chair has been especially helpful during the transition and in our series of early successes in the Obama Administration including the passage of the Recovery Act and Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, the formulation of the FY 2010 budget, the record turnout on the King Day of Service, the launch of United We Serve, and other milestones.
According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, if Solomont leaves the Corporation’s board, the board would have seven vacancies on its 15-member board.

Volunteering Up in America (Slightly)

From VolunteeringinAmerica.gov

From VolunteeringinAmerica.gov

A study published by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) yesterday details the latest volunteering trends.

Volunteering in America 2009, the latest version of an annual report that looks at volunteerism in the United States, shows a slight increase in the number of volunteers in 2008. A companion website also called Volunteering in America offers links to summaries of the report and a look at volunteering trends in the 50 states and nearly 200 cities.

Last year, a million more people age 16 and older volunteered (without pay) at organizations than in 2007.  61.8 million people (26.4 percent of the adult population) volunteered 8 billion hours of their time through organizations.  CNCS 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