The Corporation for National and Community Service has announced that it will lead a national, twelve-week initiative developed by the Obama administration to stimulate economic growth and encourage community service through volunteerism. The initiative, United We Serve, will be leveraged by a number of foundations and organizations around the country, including the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, which has announced grants totaling $1.6 million to encourage grassroots efforts in several states.
Scheduled to run through September 11, which has been designated a national day of service, the initiative will target four key areas in which President Obama has said sustained volunteer work can have a continuing effect on communities: education, health, energy and the environment, and community renewal. Through the United We Serve Web site, individuals can find service projects in their communities using the open-source All for Good application, which was developed with donated employee time from Google, the Craigslist Foundation, YouTube, and other groups.
Expanding on the administration's call to service, the Kellogg Foundation will partner with nonprofits and state service commissions in New Mexico, Mississippi, Michigan, and New Orleans to distribute $400,000 to local grassroots organizations. Other organizations, including America's Promise Alliance, the United Way of America, and YWCA USA, have committed to help recruit and engage volunteers, while MTV, the Huffington Post, and YouTube will utilize All for Good to help broaden the initiative's reach.
"This summer, I'm calling on all of you to make volunteerism and community service part of your daily life and the life of this nation," said President Obama in a YouTube video announcing the launch of the initiative. "And when I say 'all,' I mean everyone — young and old, from every background, all across this country. We need individuals, community organizations, corporations, foundations, and our government to be part of this effort."