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Obama to Sign Landmark National-Service Measure on Tuesday - Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act
Chronicle of Philanthropy ^ | 4/20/2009

Posted on 04/21/2009 12:30:37 AM PDT by bruinbirdman

The nonprofit world will take a break from its economic woes and celebrate a big political victory on Tuesday when President Obama signs landmark legislation that boosts national service, volunteerism, and innovative social projects.

The president, fulfilling a campaign pledge to greatly expand government programs to get Americans to serve their country by doing good, is set to sign the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act during his first 100 days in office — a timeline that pleases national-service advocates for its symbolic significance.

The signing ceremony will take place at the SEED School of Washington, D.C., an inner-city charter boarding school, in the company of dozens of nonprofit leaders who united to push the legislation forward and members of Congress who shepherded it to passage with exceptional bipartisan support.

The event is expected to pay special tribute to Sen. Edward Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, a leading sponsor of the bill, who is now ill with a brain tumor. Senator Kennedy forged a partnership with Sen. Orrin Hatch, Republican of Utah, to champion the bill — and the Utah senator easily persuaded the Senate to name the bill after his Democratic colleague.

The signing of the act is the second key commitment to nonprofit groups that Mr. Obama is following up on. Last week, the White House confirmed that the Office of Social Innovation, a unit that will focus on ways to get nonprofit groups and other organizations involving in solving the nation’s problems in new ways, will be headed by Sonal Shah, a former Google executive.

Forces Behind the Legislation

The Serve America Act is a victory for two coalitions of nonprofit groups that zeroed in on the 2008 presidential campaign in a bid to get lawmakers to expand the country’s national-service programs and provide money for entrepreneurial approaches to social problems.

America Forward — a coalition of more than 70 groups that started in 2007 and includes civic-engagement organizations like America’s Promise Alliance, Citizen Schools, Public Allies, and Year Up — urged all of the candidates to introduce “social investment” funds to help nonprofit groups expand innovative and proven strategies for tackling poverty, school achievement, and other issues. Mr. Obama endorsed the idea and the Serve America Act includes a new Social Innovation Funds pilot program with similar goals.

That program emphasizes the importance of documenting which methods work, which distinguishes this legislation from earlier national-service bills, says Vanessa Kirsch, president of New Profit Inc., a group in Cambridge, Mass., that manages America Forward.

“Each generation and each president has put a mark on service,” she says. “The unique and defining arc that Obama is putting on is a focus on results and impact.”

A separate coalition, ServiceNation, emerged in 2008 to press presidential candidates to expand the country’s national-service programs, which had not been updated since 1994, when President Clinton signed a bill creating AmeriCorps into law.

Arguing that Americans were looking for ways to help the country, especially following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the coalition persuaded both Mr. Obama and his Republican rival, John McCain, to attend a high-profile forum in New York on the seventh anniversary of the attacks to discuss their notions of “service.”

Both candidates agreed to support legislation to expand national-service and volunteer programs, thus sealing the bipartisan approach to the effort. Republicans have been generally more skeptical than Democrats about national service, some arguing that the spirit of volunteerism is best nurtured without government intervention.

But Senator McCain sees the issue through the prism of his military service, a perspective that ServiceNation has worked to nurture by involving military leaders in all of its activities.

Once Mr. Obama, who worked for nonprofit groups early in his career, won the presidency, the national-service movement benefited from two White House advocates. Michelle Obama — who opened the Chicago office of Public Allies, which trains AmeriCorps members for nonprofit and public-service jobs, in the 1990s — said she would work to promote national service as first lady. (See an article from the Chronicle’s archive about Public Allies and how it play a role in influencing the national-service plan.)

Advocates like Civic Ventures, a nonprofit group that promotes “meaningful” work opportunities for oder people, also tapped into the growing movement to get baby boomers to put their expertise to work for the public good. Such groups persuaded Congress to create new programs to encourage people age 55 and above to volunteer for nonprofit groups, including Silver Scholarship Grants and Encore Fellowships.

ServiceNation — which now counts almost 200 members, led by the groups Be the Change, City Year, Civic Enterprises, and the Points of Light Institute — does not consider its work done now that the Serve America Act is about to become law.

The goal is “not just to fight for the legislation, to get the money, but to make sure the programs work,” says Alan Khazei, founder of Be the Change, in Cambridge, Mass.

Money to Be Committed Later

While the Serve America Act outlines federal programs that can now expand or start operating, Congress still has to allocate money to pay for them. That can be tricky give the federal government’s pressure to cut the federal budget deficit. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated the new activities could cost close to $6-billion over five years.

President Obama proposed in February increasing the budget of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the agency that operates national-service programs, to $1.13-billion in 2010 — up from almost $890-million this year. But Sandy Scott, an agency spokesman, said the administration is now reviewing the numbers, which may need to be increased to pay for the legislation’s new programs.

The corporation is also still waiting for the president to appoint a new chief executive to replace David Eisner, who stepped down in November.

The Serve America Act does not take effect next October 1, but nonprofit groups and state national-service agencies are now brainstorming about how to take advantage of it.

The Washington State Commission for National and Community Service, for example, is thinking about planning a “service summit” to bring together nonprofit groups, volunteer centers, foundations, and others to discuss the best way to use volunteers to respond to local needs in areas like health care, weatherization of housing, and rising unemployment.

“How can service be the strategy by which we enable the community resiliency to develop in places that are very, very hard hit?” says Bill Basl, executive director of the Washington commission and chair of the American Association of State Service Commissions.

Meanwhile, some national-service advocates are hoping the bipartisan response to the Serve America Act will rub off on other issues. “This offers a little bit of a roadmap for the other challenges this Congress and president need to address,” says Mr. Eisner.

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events; US: Massachusetts
KEYWORDS: 111th; bho44; bhobillsigning; tedkennedy
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To: bruinbirdman

Time for combat veterans to get in line, grab the obuma bucks, pay yourself $100,000 per year and go to conservative areas and start training the anti-obuma militia, courtesy of your confiscated your tax dollars.

Two can play this game.

61 posted on 04/21/2009 4:54:42 AM PDT by sergeantdave (obuma is the anti-Lincoln, trying to re-establish slavery)
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To: bruinbirdman

We used to have a free country. Remember that?

62 posted on 04/21/2009 4:55:35 AM PDT by Aquinasfan (When you find "Sola Scriptura" in the Bible, let me know)
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To: trumandogz

Right. That’s another bill. HR 1444. That’s where they will force YOU to start working for them.

63 posted on 04/21/2009 4:57:42 AM PDT by bergmeid
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To: tina07
F*** U Obama ZerO...just like I yell at the tv every time his stinking face appears in the commercial for this crap.............

That's funny, that's the same reaction I have. BTW, has Zero ever done volunteer work? Or is that for the proletariat? And by "voluntary" I mean working without compensation.

64 posted on 04/21/2009 4:58:26 AM PDT by Aquinasfan (When you find "Sola Scriptura" in the Bible, let me know)
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To: Ezekiel



65 posted on 04/21/2009 4:59:05 AM PDT by Quix (POL Ldrs quotes fm1900 2 presnt:
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To: ChiMark

Sounds like something to do for Liberal Arts majors who can’t make it in the food service sector.

66 posted on 04/21/2009 5:00:19 AM PDT by CholeraJoe (Saiga 12 shotgun - When the Zombies see it, they'll sh*t bricks.)
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To: 21twelve
Uuuhhhmmm? I thought the folks in these things were volunteers?

You're using the old definition. That definition has changed.

67 posted on 04/21/2009 5:01:07 AM PDT by Aquinasfan (When you find "Sola Scriptura" in the Bible, let me know)
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To: bruinbirdman

Brown Shirts, united under the ever expanding money wasting programs.

The only thing Obama seems to be good at, is throwing away America’s hard earned and future Wealth.

68 posted on 04/21/2009 5:05:08 AM PDT by chatham
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To: bruinbirdman

Brown Shirts, united under the ever expanding money wasting programs.

The only thing Obama seems to be good at, is throwing away America’s hard earned and future Wealth.

69 posted on 04/21/2009 5:05:22 AM PDT by chatham
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To: trumandogz

Friday, Jan 30th, 2009

The Defense Department has established a “civilian expeditionary workforce” that will see American civilians trained and equipped to deploy overseas in support of worldwide military missions.

The move is seen by some as an initial step towards fulfilling president Obama’s promise to form a civilian national security force as powerful as the U.S. military.

The intent of the program “is to maximize the use of the civilian workforce to allow military personnel to be fully utilized for operational requirements,” according to a Defense Department report.

The program was officially implemented one week ago, on the 23rd January, when Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England signed Defense Department Directive 1404.10 (PDF), which provides a summation of the duties the workforce will undertake.

The directive, which is effective immediately, states that civilian employees of the DoD will be asked to sign agreements stating that they will deploy in support of military missions for up to two years if needed.

Workforce members, who are divided into different designations under the directive, will serve overseas in support of humanitarian, reconstruction and, if necessary, combat-support missions.

70 posted on 04/21/2009 5:08:56 AM PDT by Rannug
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To: Carley
"Everyone is to drive off a bridge and leave their companion to drown act!"

May I leave a stranger to drown, or does it have to be my illicit lover?

71 posted on 04/21/2009 6:25:55 AM PDT by TheOldLady
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To: rlmorel

Now you’re saying Mussolini was his father? Not Frank Davis or Malcolm X? ;-)

The number of people who can be morphed into this man is astonishing. It doesn’t look like a particularly common face, but I guess that it is.

Great job, rlmorel

72 posted on 04/21/2009 6:41:30 AM PDT by TheOldLady
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To: bruinbirdman

That’s shocking.

73 posted on 04/21/2009 6:42:55 AM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: TheOldLady

Since the left is so fond of ‘choice’

I’ll leave the choice of who drowns up to you.

74 posted on 04/21/2009 7:14:28 AM PDT by Carley (MOANING IN AMERIKA)
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To: TheOldLady
Here are another few that I created...the matchup of the eyes was very creepy on the Guevara one...


75 posted on 04/21/2009 8:18:22 AM PDT by rlmorel ("The Road to Serfdom" by F.A.Hayek - Read
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To: Right Wing Assault

Great! They’re all lined up for somebody, if you know what I mean.

76 posted on 04/21/2009 8:33:02 AM PDT by HotLead61 (Death as a Free Man is much preferred to "life" as a slave)
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To: bruinbirdman

“To Serve America” is a cookbook!

77 posted on 04/21/2009 8:35:00 AM PDT by MortMan (Power without responsibility-the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages. - Rudyard Kipling)
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To: rlmorel

Gee, no change to the eyes at all. Really creepy.

“Hello, I’m Do.” Equally creepy

78 posted on 04/21/2009 9:32:26 AM PDT by TheOldLady
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To: Carley

Gee, thanks! ;-)

79 posted on 04/21/2009 9:39:57 AM PDT by TheOldLady
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To: MortMan

“it’s a cook book” lol

80 posted on 04/21/2009 4:36:40 PM PDT by crop circles
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