I want to tell you a great story of how necessity created serendipity for us at Points of Light Institute. After the merger of the Points of Light Foundation and HandsOn Network in 2007 and the resulting move of the organization’s headquarters to Atlanta, the Washington, DC, office of Points of Light faced the challenge of excess office space.
During this time, a vision around creating a “Civic Engagement Hub” in the Points of Light DC Office emerged. The thought was that co-locating organizations with a common mission around civic participation could be both advantageous financially and programmatically for Points of Light and its subtenants.
The hope was this hub could be an environment where ideas could be exchanged, where partnerships around cutting edge advocacy and service initiatives could be formed, and where field-advancing summits could be held to highlight the evolving ways people are empowered to advance change in their communities. On top of this, we aspired to create new cost and operational efficiencies.
Through both informal networking and a dose of luck, our Washington office realized a portion of this vision earlier this year. In January, the National Conference on Citizenship became an official subtenant along with Mobilize.org, whose mission is to enable “democracy to work better by investing in solutions driven by the Millennial generation”. In addition, the Washington office is home to America’s Service Commissions, Be the Change‘s Washington staff, ServeNext and the Association of Nutrition Services Agencies.
Besides the natural conversations and visioning that occurs when like organizations coexist, this nascent civic engagement hub has had the first in a series of brown bag discussions which we hope to host quarterly. In March, we convened a discussion of the recent Supreme Court decision on campaign finance and its implications for our civic life as a nation. We offered this opportunity both to subtenants and to their partner organizations.
Later this month, Politics Under 30, whose mission is to help the young people of today become the political leaders of tomorrow, and Public Allies – DC, which advances new volunteer leadership to help communities, will join us, adding to the creative and service mission-driven mix. Let us know if you are interested in being a part of this Service and Civic Hub!
National Conference on Volunteering and Service
In just a few short weeks we will be creating a virtual civic hub of thousands in New York City at the National Conference on Volunteering and Service, the world’s largest gathering of volunteer and service leaders from the nonprofit, government and corporate sectors. From CEO roundtables to forums on social media for social good, from Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, attendees will find inspiration, thought leadership, and solutions, not to mention world-class entertainment at our gala evening event (after all, this is the home of Broadway!). We hope you can join us June 28-30! The conference Web site is here.
HandsOn Nashville Update
The numbers of volunteers mobilized by HandsOn Nashville for flood recovery continue to astound. In one month almost 16,000 volunteers have donated more than 66,000 hours, which are worth a projected $1.4 million. The action center has coordinated 881 project sites in that time. On May 26, The Tennessean, Nashville’s major newspaper, published a story headlined “HandsOn Nashville Rises to Challenge” about the tremendous efforts. Please click here to link to the story.
In addition, for the Congressional Record, Tennessee Representative Jim Cooper and Senator Lamar Alexander praised the volunteer effort coordinated by HandsOn Nashville. Rep. Cooper in particular saluted the HandsOn team and its “crucial contributions to the Nashville community.” We are gratified to see the amazing and sustained efforts by HandsOn Nashville recognized so prominently. The accomplishments of its volunteers for the Nashville area exemplify what our HandsOn Network is all about – equipping and mobilizing citizens to make a significant difference.
CEO, Points of Light Institute
Co-Founder, HandsOn Network