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After calling for legislation to encourage a renewed spirit of national service, President Obama signed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, H.R. 1388 exactly one year ago today.
The Serve America Act increased opportunities for Americans by expanding AmeriCorps positions from 75,000 to 250,000 by 2017, for programs such as City Year, and increasing the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award to $5,350. The Act also established a Volunteer Generation Fund, authorized Nonprofit Capacity Building grants, expanded the Veterans Corps, and created a Social Innovation Fund, to support innovation and strengthen the nonprofit sector.
While many Americans remember Senator Kennedy for his passionate fight for universal health care, ServiceNation will honor his legacy of service. ServiceNation asked the public to submit short videos on how their service has been inspired or affected by Senator Kennedy and will add it as a response to the short tribute video they created below. ServiceNation also asked the masses for their ideas and suggestions to drive the conversation among service leaders during a strategy session that is taking place today. This citizen-centered approach will allow the public to provide feedback on the question of “what’s next” for National Service. This is your chance to pose questions and themes for discussion in honor of the first anniversary of the passing of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act.
In response to the major national push for public service, city mayors around the United States created the bi-partisan coalition, Cities of Service, to get Americans volunteering. Working to engage citizens to solve local problems, Cities of Service has announced the second round of Cities of Service Leadership Grants, funded jointly by the Rockefeller Foundation and Bloomberg Philanthropies. The coalition includes 80 Mayors, representing over 43 million Americans. Find out if your mayor is a member of Cities of Service, then contact him or her to find out how you can get involved!
Michelle Holleran is an intern at the Case Foundation