National Service – Just Do It!

by Mark Feldman

national_service_volunteer_corporateIt has been a big week for national service and volunteerism!

In an important move for both the national service and the corporate social responsibility communities, yesterday President Obama nominated Nike Foundation President, Maria Eitel, to head the Corporation for National Service. When confirmed, she will bring her extensive global business, philanthropy, and CSR experience to running the nation’s domestic service programs, including AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and Learn & Serve America.

Since she has been instrumental in crafting and managing Nike’s corporate responsibility strategies, we hope she’ll find new ways to encourage companies to partner with national service programs and engage their employees.

She’ll inherit this position just as programs like AmeriCorps are poised to grow exponentially.  Earlier this week the President signed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act.  Although the funding still needs to be authorized by Congress, this legislation will take national service to historic levels.  Details can be found at Service Nation; select highlights include:

  • Grows the number of AmeriCorps volunteers nationwide to 250,000, up from 75,000.
  • Establishes 4 new service corps to address key needs in low income communities – Clean Energy Corps, Education Corps, Healthy Futures Corps, and Veterans Service Corps.
  • Establishes Youth Engagement Zones to empower low-income high school students and out-of-school youth in volunteer efforts.
  • Creates 2 fellowships to support social entrepreneurs, boomers and retirees, the private sector and Americans from all generations into service.

In releated news, our recent causenation post on corporate volunteerism talks about the increasing corporate enthusiasm for service and new investments businesses are making.

National service – just do it!