The Sun Shines Brightly on Volunteerism in Kentucky

This April, in honor of National Volunteer Month and Week (April 15-21, 2018), we’ll be featuring stories of how volunteers are impacting states and the ways in which state service commissions are harnessing the power of volunteers to meet critical local needs through the federal Volunteer Generation Fund (VGF) program. Learn more at statecommissions.org/volunteer-generation-fund.

Today’s spotlight is on the Kentucky Commission on Community Volunteerism and Service.

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Greetings from Kentucky! I’m Melissa Benton, the Volunteer Generation Fund Manager at the Kentucky Commission on Community Volunteerism and Service.

It is a beautiful April morning, the sun is raising and there is a scent of bourbon mash in the air. Walking into work this morning, I think of all the opportunities and possibilities that lay ahead – short and long-term goals, forging and fostering partnerships, civic engagement, promoting volunteerism in both urban and rural communities, building the capacity of organizations, data collection, on and on and on.

There is an excitement in the air, too. The Kentucky Commission on Community Volunteerism and Service (KCCVS) recently received a Volunteer Generation Fund (VGF) grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). VGF provides much needed resources to expand our mission, to promote volunteerism to solve problems and to meet the various needs in our communities. (Yes, it is a long name. We will be announcing an official name change very soon.)

We are collaborating with Points of Light Foundation and working toward our certification as a Service Enterprise Initiative Hub. This collaboration provides additional resources we are able to share with organizations including the Volunteer Management Training Series curriculum. Our VGF goals include networking with community organizations to provide resources to strengthen their capacity with volunteer management and to build a link with agencies who need volunteers with individuals or groups who are looking to volunteer.

We have also collaborated with Kentucky Campus Compact (KCC) to pilot an Alternative Service Breaks program. KCC is engaging Kentucky college students in meaningful community service projects in Kentucky. The projects include activities with community members and intergenerational service projects. Three projects have been completed with more are on the horizon:

Northern Kentucky University, Student Engagement: 30 college students traveled to Auixer, Kentucky (Floyd County) March 4 – March 6, 2018.  They served in partnership with Hand in Hand Ministries  to engage 50 community members in a series of service activities and reflection.  Service projects included home repairs, maintenance, or building ramps for the elderly in Floyd County.  Students conducted service activities for 8 hours each day, and participate in reflection conversations in the evening.  In preparation for the experience, the students participated in six servant leadership presentations.  They are also required to keep a journal throughout the experience. Hand in Hand provides the lodging, and Northern Kentucky University coordinated the travel, supplies, and food expenses.

Kentucky State University & Wesley Foundation: 20 HBCU college students engaged older adult residents in Grayson County, Kentucky in a series of service projects and reflection March 12 – March 16, 2018.  The goal was to facilitate inter-generational, interracial small groups of volunteers to do a variety of community clean up and community repair service activities.

Bellarmine University, Service & Leadership: 8 students traveled to David, KY (Floyd County) and conduct service activities in partnership with The David School.  They engaged community members during the trip.  Participants spent the mornings in the classroom alongside David School students, and afternoons doing repair and clean-up that the small school staff otherwise would not be able to accomplish. Each evening, participants visited with a local nursing home for reflection, visiting, and games.

In recognition and in honor of National Volunteer Week, we want to celebrate the accomplishments of the small rural communities not only in Kentucky but also across our country. Volunteers steeping up, identifying available resources, collaborating with local, state and federal organizations and persevering to meet the needs of their communities – their hometown, the place where they call home and want to live and to raise their families.

One such rural community is Booneville, in Owsley County, Kentucky. Booneville is about a 2-hour drive from Frankfort, our state capital. My favorite part of the ride is getting off I-64 and traveling on the “back roads”. My first trip to Booneville was several years ago to meet with Partnership Housing, a relatively new organization, that had started from the findings of the Owsley County Action Team.

Owsley County is one of the poorest counties in the nation with one of the lowest median household income in the country. The median household income in $23,115. The majority of the housing stock is old and there are still homes that lack plumbing.
My first meeting with Partnership Housing was to discuss with them how to keep the doors open and to develop a plan for their success to meet the housing needs of their community. This meeting was primarily with their volunteer board who knew and understood what was on the line for their community. We discussed strategies, goals, and this proud AmeriCorps Alum, introduced them to AmeriCorps.

Cassie Hudson, executive director of Partnership Housing, stated that for almost seventy years no one was building housing in Owsley County. Under Cassie’s leadership and with Rachel Marshall, an AmeriCorps member, a positive change began to happen in Owsley County. Since 2012, Partnership Housing has built 39 homes, completed both minor and major rehabilitation projects on 200 units, and recently completed 6 rental units.

“National service and AmeriCorps has been crucial to Partnership Housing. We could not be where we are today in Owsley County without national service. We cannot do this alone. Partnership Housing was on the verge of closing down. We had bills to pay but no assets to pay them. AmeriCorps provided us a Member to do case management, conduct housing visits and identify individual needs. AmeriCorps provided us support to make our dreams and goals a reality. AmeriCorps program provided an opportunity for the member to see first-hand what was happening in the community – what is behind those closed doors. Roofs are leaking into their light fixtures; folks are wrapped in blankets because they have no heat. AmeriCorps provided us the opportunity to build up our organization and serve our community.”

Now let me introduce you to Charles E. Long, Mayor of Booneville and Cale Turner, Judge Executive of Owsley County. Mayor Long is the oldest and longest serving Mayor in the nation. I recently visited with Mayor Long to discuss volunteerism. He was very candid with me on the needs of Booneville. A World War II veteran, Mayor Long shared with me how he brought water and sewage to Booneville. Mayor Long laughed as he stated he “often wonders what did I get myself in to.” At 99 years old, he says, “I will serve as long as I am needed and can be of service to my community.”

Presenting Mayor Long with a Governor’s Citation for his service (Left to Right: Melissa Benton (Kentucky Commission on Community Volunteerism and Service), Cassie Hudson (Executive Director, Partnership Housing), Rachael Marshall (AmeriCorps Alum, Housing Coordinator and Counselor), Amber Henrion (AmeriCorps Member), and Mayor Charles E. Long (front).
Presenting Mayor Long with a Governor’s Citation for his service. Left to Right: Melissa Benton (Kentucky Commission on Community Volunteerism and Service), Cassie Hudson (Executive Director, Partnership Housing), Rachael Marshall (AmeriCorps Alum, Housing Coordinator and Counselor), Amber Henrion (AmeriCorps Member), and Mayor Charles E. Long (front).

Judge Turner was one of the many volunteers I meet to discuss the housing needs of their community. He has provided steadfast leadership to his community through his volunteerism and service. Judge Turners stated that, “In one of the most poverty ridden counties in the United States, you scrape together just enough money to get an organization incorporated. Without AmeriCorps, we would have never had the resources to get Partnership Housing off the ground. Neither county nor city government had to the money to support it. The rewards to this community with AmeriCorps have been immense. I do not think Partnership Housing would exist today if it had not been for AmeriCorps National Service. The collaboration with Partnership Housing and AmeriCorps has been one of the best things that has happened to Owsley County in my lifetime. We are changing lives every day. I hate to think what would have happened in this community without them.”

In my personal reflections, I often think about my own journey since my AmeriCorps service. I recall the AmeriCorps pledge, often honing in on “faced with adversity, I will persevere.” I think about Owsley County and the stigma they have carried for so many years. I have witnessed first-hand their perseverance as a community to solve their problems through volunteerism and service.

Today and this week, let us celebrate all the citizen volunteers who raise up to serve their communities, who identify community needs and work and serve together to strengthen our communities. There will be apathy but we must raise above it and take action. We will have conflict but we must celebrate common ground to move forward. And we must commit to serving our communities.

Happy National Volunteer Week, and let’s continue to shine the light on our citizen volunteers!

Melissa Benton is the Volunteer Generation Fund Manager at the Kentucky Commission on Community Volunteerism and Service. Created in 1994, the Kentucky Commission on Community Volunteerism and Service (KCCVS) manages Kentucky’s AmeriCorps national service programs. The commission is a statewide, bipartisan group of up to 25 members, appointed by the governor, with diverse service and volunteerism backgrounds. The KCCVS serves as a conduit for federal funds that support AmeriCorps programs in the commonwealth, encourage and recognize volunteerism and assist in service program development. KCCVS funding is provided by the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Kentucky General Assembly. The Cabinet for Health and Family Services is the parent agency for the commission, providing administrative support and oversight.

To learn more about Kentucky’s Volunteer Generation Fund activities, click here.

 

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Statement on the Loss of Jennifer Riordan

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Jennifer Riordan (right) receiving recognition from former New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions Deputy Secretary Joy Forehand at the conclusion of Jennifer’s service as our Commission Chair in June, 2017.

America’s Service Commissions joins the New Mexico Commission for Community Volunteerism in extending our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Jennifer Riordan, who passed away in a tragic accident on Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 on April 17, 2018.

Jennifer Riordan was a champion for national and community service and a Commissioner of the New Mexico Commission for Community Volunteerism. As Chair, Ms. Riordan stewarded the Commission through a number of administration changes and served as a trusted friend and mentor to both Commissioners and Commission staff.

Despite a highly demanding professional and personal schedule, Ms. Riordan made the effort to fully understand the streams of service and was a tireless and highly effective advocate in celebrating the accomplishments of AmeriCorps programs throughout New Mexico.

At the time of her tragic passing, Jennifer was planning to join the New Mexico Commission’s staff for the 2018 Points of Lights conference in Atlanta, as seeking the resources and allies to increase service, volunteerism and community engagement — especially among young people — were what motivated Jennifer through all aspects of her life.

The New Mexico Commission for Community Volunteerism deeply mourns her loss, and will find inspiration and comfort in her extraordinary legacy.

On behalf of the 52 state service commissions across the country, our hearts go out to Jennifer Riordan’s family, friends, colleagues and community.

Small-But-Mighty! Kansas Launches Three-Pronged Approach to Volunteer Generation Fund Initiative

This April, in honor of National Volunteer Month and Week (April 15-21, 2018), we’ll be featuring stories of how volunteers are impacting states and the ways in which state service commissions are harnessing the power of volunteers to meet critical local needs through the federal Volunteer Generation Fund (VGF) program. Learn more at statecommissions.org/volunteer-generation-fund.

Today’s spotlight is on the Kansas Volunteer Commission (KVC).

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Hello, everyone! My name is Jamie Crispin and I am the Outreach & Engagement Specialist at the Kansas Volunteer Commission (KVC) located in Topeka. My commission prides itself on being a small-but-mighty staff. I am sure many of you can relate. Our goals are all the same, right? We strive to increase volunteerism. We want to recruit the best organizations for the AmeriCorps State program. We aim to provide responsive and current training to our community partners. All the while, hoping we go another year without an IPERA audit. Eek, why did I say it out loud?

Sometimes, as a small-but-mighty commission, it seems there is always MORE we can do. We have big dreams, but a skeleton crew. We have big hearts, but restricted funds. So, what to do? Our solution! To write a competitive Volunteer Generation Fund (VGF) proposal and pray to the grant gods for their favor.

As the state service commission, we know the data shows more Kansans are volunteering. Our schools encourage a life of civic engagement, our businesses want to give back, and families are seeking volunteer opportunities together. Our state has a strong volunteering spirit and at the commission level we wanted to foster that spirit.
On the flip side, our nonprofits and especially volunteer centers are attempting to meet the increased demand. Their response is to foster new partnerships and expand their coverage areas to engage more volunteers. Of course, many of them are doing this with no change to their budget or staffing structure. The small-but-mighty staff syndrome seems to be an epidemic. As a result, we have been looking for a solution to change their flat lined funding.

To find the pulse of the state’s needs, we surveyed volunteer managers and volunteer center staff about the resources they were lacking. We collaborated closer with our hosting organization, Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE), knowing civic engagement was part of their strategic plan. We reviewed our State Service Plan to see how our priorities intersected with the above. After lots of brainstorming, we created three initiatives to generate more Kansas volunteers: 1) build capacity in volunteer connector organizations, 2) become a Service Enterprise Hub and 3) encourage school-based volunteering. We felt strongly that these initiatives would help the volunteer programs, but moreover, support the staff engaging those volunteers, too.

Well, the grant gods did look upon us with favor. On one fine day last year, KVC became one of 15 state service commissions to receive the VGF funding. For once, our small-but-mighty staff felt accomplished, progressive, and in-the-game! After high-fives and cheers all around, it was time to get down to business.

Fast forward to now, the KVC has awarded nearly $80,000 to four volunteer connector agencies in Kansas. For all four organizations, this money means hiring additional staff to do more good. In their words, this funding has filled a much needed gap and lifted some weight from their shoulders. To us, we know the volunteer connector agencies will have greatest reach in our state’s volunteerism. Recently, we conducted a day-long training with our subgrantees. Each presented on their organizations and VGF goals. We were overwhelmed by their passion, persistence, and commitment to their counties. We can’t say it loud enough. Great things are happening in Kansas, just watch!

Kansas is proud to be ranked #7 in volunteering among states according to the Volunteering and Civic Life in America report. But, as a state service commission, we have our hearts set on being in the top five. This change cannot happen without preparing our voluntary organizations for the challenge. Earlier this year, KVC was accepted by Points of Light to become the first Service Enterprise Hub in Kansas. The Service Enterprise Initiative (SEI) is a national change management program which helps organizations better meet their missions through the power of volunteers. Being an SEI Hub, means facilitating the evidence-based certification process for interested organizations. KVC will train, coach, and support organizations who want to adjust their internal culture to effectively engage volunteers. KVC is happy to report we will be recruiting our first EVER SEI cohort this year. Woot woot!

If you are wondering about the SEI impact, let me tell you this certification will change the volunteer landscape in Kansas. For those that need evidence, according to the Points of Light website, “Research shows that nonprofits that operate as Service Enterprises are equally as effective as their peers but at almost half the median budget, and are significantly more adaptable, sustainable and capable of going to scale.” SEI certified organizations will connect more volunteers to community problems. Organizations, nonprofits, schools, mentoring organizations will reimagine service and what it looks like for their mission. That means a better return on volunteer investment, and hopefully, getting Kansas in the top five states for volunteering. Fingers crossed!
We have made great progress on our VGF initiatives, but soon to emerge will be the promotion of school-based volunteering. KVC staff will communicate and train Kansas schools on how using community volunteers will meet their unique needs. KVC is certain our expertise and resources will give schools the nudge they need in the right direction to use volunteers both inside and outside the classrooms. Stay tuned for our progress.
In all, we would not have the impact or technical knowledge to support the Kansas communities without this VGF funding. This grant means so much to our commission, but it means so much more to the agencies, volunteers, and communities who will benefit from this grant award.

So, during this National Volunteer Week, I find myself reflecting on our small-but-mighty staff and how our vision has always been mightier than us. For that, we don’t apologize. We see overestimating ourselves as one of our strengths. As Dorothy said in the Wizard of Oz, “There is no place like home.” (And you thought we would finish this blog without a Wizard of Oz reference!) To us, there is no better way to tackle critical needs, but in local communities through local change makers.

As state commissions, we have the benefit of being part of a national network, but being rooted in our state networks. To all of those large-but-mighty and especially to the small-but-mighty staff, we say this, “dream big.”

May your vision always be bigger than your staff! Happy National Volunteer Week!

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KVC staff, Jamie Crispin and Destinee Parker, traveled to Atlanta to complete the Service Enterprise Hub Train-the-Trainer event at Points of Light office.
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The KVC staff bonded with the Kentucky commission staff members, Melissa Benton and Shannon Ramsey, at the Service Enterprise Hub training. Did you know that commissions that begin with the letter “K” have the most fun?!

Jamie Crispin is passionate about developing volunteer engagement leaders. As an AmeriCorps Alum and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer she understands the impact of volunteerism in our communities and on our personal development. Mrs. Crispin has over ten years’ experience engaging volunteers and recently earned her Certification in Volunteer Administration (CVA). Currently, she is the Outreach and Engagement Specialist at the Kansas Volunteer Commission. In her spare time, she chases after her two sons and enjoys listening to true crime podcasts.

Since 1993, the Kansas Volunteer Commission (KVC) has been promoting volunteerism by administering the AmeriCorps Kansas programs, strengthening volunteer centers, and supporting mentoring organizations through funds, training and technical assistance.

To learn more about Kansas’s VGF program and subgrantees, click here.

BREAKING: Congress Expands Funding for National Service and State Commissions in FY18 Omnibus Bill

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March 23, 2018

UPDATE: President Trump has signed the FY18 Omnibus Bill providing expanded funding for AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, state service commissions, and the Corporation for National & Community Service! See below for more information on what the FY18 Omnibus contains.

Original Post:

March 21, 2018

Washington, DC

Today, Congress released the text of a $1.3 trillion fiscal 2018 omnibus bill. The legislation is expected to pass both chambers of Congress by the end of the week ahead of a deadline to keep the government open past Friday.

It includes more than $80 billion in new defense spending and $63 billion in nondefense spending for most of the federal government.

CNCS received a total of $1,063,958 Billion in funding, an increase of $33.6 million over FY 2017 funded levels.

Here is the breakdown of CNCS funding:

State Commission Grants:   $17,538,000
AmeriCorps State & National:   $412,010,000
AmeriCorps VISTA:  $92,364,000
AmeriCorps NCCC:  $32,000,000
Senior Corps:   $202,117,000
Innovation, Demonstration & Other:   $7,600,000
— including Volunteer Generation Fund    $5,400,000*
Evaluation:  $4,000,000
National Service Trust:     $206,842,000
Salaries and Expenses:     $83,737,000
Office of the Inspector General:    $5,750,000

Total CNCS Funding:    $1,063,958,000

*Congress directed $5.4 million of the Innovation, Demonstration & Other budget to be spent on Volunteer Generation Fund (VGF).

AmeriCorps State & National and state service commissions received significant increases. AmeriCorps was increased by $26 million, while State Commission Grant received an historic $17.538 million — a $1 million increase. The Commission Investment Fund increased by $1 million to $8.5 million, and the Volunteer Generation Fund received an historic $5.4 million, an impressive increase of $1.6 million, thanks to the hard work of national service champions and groups which included ASC, the state service network, our new States for Service (S4S) Coalition.

The Explanatory Statement directs CNCS to provide not less than $8.5 million for training and technical assistance activities for State Commissions, to expand the capacity of current and potential AmeriCorps programs, particularly in underserved areas.

If you would like to read more, you can view the Bill Text here (see p. 1016 regarding CNCS) and the Explanatory Statement regarding CNCS here (p. 70).

With Congress directing $1 million for training funds to commissions and the $1 million increase to the State Commission Grant, Commissions received an increase of $2 million for FY 2018 above FY 2017.

Additionally, and as a direct result of the work of ASC, the state service network, and our new States for Service (S4S) Coalition, the legislation includes a new general provision to allow CNCS to establish a new and widely anticipated 1,200 hour service position, including a proportional reduction in the education award. This will provide AmeriCorps programs increased flexibility, and more closely align member service positions with the needs of local communities.

 

We are incredibly grateful for the rock solid support and continued investment for service by the Congressional Appropriations Committee leadership and their staff; especially Senators Cochran, Leahy, Blunt, and Murray; and Representatives Frelinghuysen, Lowey, Cole, and DeLauro.

We will continue to update you as this bill moves through Congress and then ultimately to the President’s signature by the end of the week.

 

Tom Branen
Chief Policy Officer
America’s Service Commissions

ASC Congratulates Board Chair Elizabeth Darling on Presidential Nomination for Role of Commissioner, Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF)

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WASHINGTON, DC – America’s Service Commissions (ASC), the national association of state service commissions which leads, supports and elevates the state service network, congratulates Ms. Elizabeth Darling on her recent nomination by President Trump as Commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Ms. Darling is a longtime member of ASC and has served as Chair of ASC’s Board of Directors since September 2017. As President and CEO of OneStar Foundation, Texas’ state service commission, Ms. Darling has spent the past nine years focused on the needs of her home state and local Texas communities, including youth development engagement and strategies as related to AmeriCorps programming and education. Before coming to OneStar, Ms. Darling served as COO of the Corporation for National and Community Service in Washington, D.C.

“All of us at ASC are thrilled to learn of Liz Darling’s nomination as Commissioner of ACYF and enthusiastically applaud the President’s choice,” said Kaira Esgate, CEO of America’s Service Commissions. “Liz has been a smart, strategic, and influential leader within the state service commission network for many years, and will be a strong leader for youth and families once confirmed.”

Upon her confirmation by the United States Senate, Liz would oversee the $18 billion portfolio of programming related to child abuse and neglect prevention, foster care, youth development, adoption, runaway and homeless youth, teen pregnancy prevention, and family violence prevention, as reported by the Nonprofit Times.

Liz will continue to serve in her role as OneStar Foundation President/CEO in Austin, Texas until her confirmation.

Read the White House Press Release: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/president-donald-j-trump-announces-key-additions-administration-32/

Read the related Nonprofit Times article: http://www.thenonprofittimes.com/news-articles/trump-nominates-onestar-ceo-to-head-hhs-agency/

View OneStar Foundation’s Announcement: http://onestarfoundation.org/special-announcement-from-onestar-foundation/

Eight States Selected to Receive Afterschool Grants from ASC, Mott Foundation

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New program development initiative will expand afterschool opportunities through AmeriCorps

For Immediate Release

Contact: Emily Steinberg, (202) 813-0807
esteinberg@statecommissions.org

Washington, D.C. — Eight states will be better poised to expand out-of-school time opportunities for youth at a statewide level, thanks to a grant of $250,000 from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. The grant, awarded to America’s Service Commissions (ASC), will support a multi-year initiative to identify how the state service commission network can expand afterschool opportunities through national service, such as AmeriCorps. ASC is a nonprofit, nonpartisan association of the 52 Governor-appointed state service commissions across the United States and its territories that administer AmeriCorps*State grant and other volunteer-related funds.

As part of the initiative, ASC has selected eight state service commissions to receive $12,500 mini-grants. Funding will support staff and consultant time to develop a better understanding of the local afterschool landscape and identify potential paths for developing national service programming that will expand the quality and quantity of afterschool opportunities in their respective states.

The eight states selected to receive this funding include:

In total, ASC will provide these eight states with $100,000 in Mott funding for afterschool program development.

ASC will provide hands-on support to the selected states with monthly learning community calls, ongoing coaching, and a yearly convening for commissions receiving grants. In year two, five additional states will be selected to participate.

“We are thrilled to get this funding out there — to the states —to ensure that real program development can start happening at the local level,” said ASC CEO Kaira Esgate. “With Mott Foundation’s generous support and strong connections to the world of afterschool networks, we are confident that we can make a real difference for a lot of young people through AmeriCorps and national service programming.”

In addition to supporting states, ASC will work with the National Network of Statewide Afterschool Networks and other key stakeholders to develop new strategies around afterschool program development over the next two years.

Through this effort, ASC believes that the project will lead to an increased understanding between state service commissions and statewide afterschool networks about how to leverage national service and AmeriCorps resources in support of high-quality afterschool opportunities nationwide.

For more information on this initiative, visit statecommissions.org/afterschool.

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About America’s Service Commissions
America’s Service Commissions (ASC) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing and promoting the 52 state service commissions across the United States and territories with the mission to lead and elevate the state service network. State service commissions are governor-appointed public agencies or nonprofit organizations made up of more than 1,000 commissioners, private citizens leading the nation’s service movement and administering 80 percent of the federal AmeriCorps funds to address pressing community needs. Learn more at statecommissions.org.

About Charles Stewart Mott Foundation
The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, established in 1926 in Flint, Michigan, by an automotive pioneer, is a private philanthropy committed to supporting projects that promote a just, equitable and sustainable society.  It supports nonprofit programs throughout the United States and, on a limited geographic basis, internationally.  Grantmaking is focused in four programs: Civil Society, Environment, Flint Area and Education. In addition to Flint, offices are located in metropolitan Detroit, Johannesburg and London.  With year-end assets of approximately $2.7 billion in 2016, the Foundation made 405 grants totaling more than $121 million.  For more information, visit www.mott.org.

ASC Joins #GivingTuesday, Pledges to Unite States in Service

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For Immediate Release                   
November 20, 2017
Contact: Emily Steinberg, (512) 961-1702, ESteinberg@statecommissions.org

Washington, DC — America’s Service Commissions (ASC), the national association of the 52 state service commissions across the country, has joined #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide.

Occurring this year on November 28, #GivingTuesday is held annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving in the United States and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday to kick off the holiday giving season and inspire people to collaborate in improving their local communities and to give back in impactful ways to the charities and causes they support.

On November 28, ASC will raise donations in support of its mission to unite states in service. The nonprofit will ask its supporters to make a gift of $20 in honor of its 20th anniversary.  Together, these gifts will help support state service commissions and their AmeriCorps programs across the country that are addressing America’s most critical needs at the state and local level. As the nonprofit association representing the 52 state service commissions, ASC plays a key role in building the capacity of the state service network and ensuring strong bi-partisan support of our work.

Those interested in joining America’s Service Commissions’ #GivingTuesday initiative can visit www.statecommissions.org/donate.html.

“We believe whole-heartedly in the mission of #GivingTuesday,” said Kaira Esgate, CEO of America’s Service Commissions. “As an association focused on capacity building and civic engagement, we understand the need for individual citizens to get involved in supporting the causes they care about — both through volunteerism and philanthropic giving.”

The organization 92Y − a cultural center in New York City that, since 1874, has been bringing people together around its core values of community service and giving back − conceptualized #GivingTuesday as a new way of linking individuals and causes to strengthen communities and encourage giving. In 2016, the fifth year of #GivingTuesday, millions of people in 98 countries came together to give back and support the causes they believe in. Over $177 million was raised online to benefit a tremendously broad range of organizations, and much more was given in volunteer hours, donations of food and clothing, and acts of kindness.

“We have been incredibly inspired by the generosity in time, efforts and ideas that have brought our concept for a worldwide movement into reality,” said Henry Timms, founder of #GivingTuesday and executive director of 92Y. “As we embark on our sixth year of #GivingTuesday, we are encouraged by the early response from partners eager to continue making an impact in this global conversation.”

For more details about the #GivingTuesday movement, visit the #GivingTuesday website (www.givingtuesday.org), Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/GivingTuesday) or follow @GivingTues and the #GivingTuesday hashtag on social media


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About America’s Service Commissions
America’s Service Commissions (ASC) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing and promoting the 52 state service commissions across the United States and territories with the mission to lead and elevate the state service network. State service commissions are governor-appointed public agencies or nonprofit organizations made up of more than 1,000 commissioners, private citizens leading the nation’s service movement and administering 80 percent of the federal AmeriCorps funds to address pressing community needs. Learn more at statecommissions.org.

About #GivingTuesday
#GivingTuesday is a global giving movement that has been built by individuals, families, organizations, businesses and communities in all 50 states and in countries around the world. This year, #GivingTuesday falls on November 28. #GivingTuesday harnesses the collective power of a unique blend of partners to transform how people think about, talk about, and participate in the giving season. It inspires people to take collective action to improve their communities, give back in better, smarter ways to the charities and causes they believe in, and help create a better world. #GivingTuesday demonstrates how every act of generosity counts, and that they mean even more when we give together. To learn more about #GivingTuesday participants and activities or to join the celebration of giving, please visit: www.givingtuesday.org