Proposal to End National Service Threatens Backbone of America’s Community Volunteering Programs and Service Ethic

ATLANTA (May 25, 2017) – The leadership of Points of Light, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service, called on President Donald Trump to think about the thousands of faith- and community-based organizations in every city in America before eliminating the national service infrastructure that supports those organizations.

Each year, more than 62 million Americans volunteer to improve their communities. Their work supports local efforts to provide food, clothing, shelter, education, youth engagement opportunities, medical services, community development, job training, addiction counseling, prisoner re-entry support, disaster response and much more.

“National service members support Americans donating their time and talent to community problem-solving. They provide volunteer training, supervision, programming and recruitment that allows millions to effectively create change,” said Tracy Hoover, CEO of Points of Light.   

Citing national service members’ role in mobilizing millions of volunteers to respond in the wake of disasters ranging from Hurricane Katrina to the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, Hoover said, “national service has become the backbone of community service across America.”

Our country’s modern national service programming began when President George H.W. Bush created the White House Office of National Service. This federal investment has had bipartisan support in Congress and from every subsequent president.  

Points of Light is built on the legacy of President Bush’s call, in his 1989 inaugural address, for every American to become part of the country’s community service tradition, one of the “thousand points of light.” In June, saving America’s community volunteering infrastructure will take center stage when Points of Light convenes the largest annual gathering of service leaders in the world, at the Conference on Volunteering and Service. Hosted in Seattle this year, Points of Light will deliver one message: “national service is essential to sustain America’s community service ethic.”

Hoover concluded, “proposals to dismantle national service cut the heart out of a culture and an ethic of volunteering and service that has been one of America’s most sustaining virtues and that the rest of the world strives to emulate. That’s particularly self-defeating at a time when our volunteering and nonprofit sector is being called upon to shore up our national safety net. We can’t let this happen.”

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About Points of Light

Points of Light – the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service – mobilizes millions of people to take action that is changing the world. Through affiliates in 250 cities and partnerships with thousands of nonprofits and corporations, Points of Light engages 4 million volunteers in 30 million hours of service each year. We bring the power of people to bear where it’s needed most. For more information, go to www.pointsoflight.org.

Contact:
Diane Quest
Chief Marketing and Communications Officer
dquest@pointsoflight.org
404-979-2929