Service Nation Campaign

Service Nation is a 12-month non-partisan grassroots and grass top political campaign intent on pushing the issue of National Service to the forefront of American life and convincing the next President and Congress to put into law a Voluntary National Service Act in 2009.

The secondary goal of Service Nation is to set America on a trajectory to become a nation of comprehensive and voluntary national service by 2020.

Who is Service Nation?

At the top, Service Nation is comprised of prominent Military, Civic, Academic, and Social Justice leaders.  These leaders include but are not limited to R. Sargent Shriver, Alma Powell, former Senators Harris Wofford and Gary Hart, former Montana Governor Mark Racicot, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, former Indianapolis Mayor Stephen Goldsmith, former Surgeon General Richard Carmona, academics like John Dilulio (University of Pennsylvania, wrote most high schools’ civics textbook), David Gergen (Harvard), Gene Nichol (President of the College of William & Mary), Mark Gearan (President of Hobart and William Smith Colleges), and writers like Michael Gerson, Rick Warren, Caroline Kennedy, Samantha Power, and TIME Magazine Editor Rick Stengel.  The Campaign also includes many active and retired general/flag grade military officers.

At its nerve center Service Nation is coordinated by Alan Khazei and the hard-working and talented people of “Be The Change.”  Its nerve endings are 99 different organizations from across the country including Americans for a National Service Act.

At its roots, military, civil service, and social service veterans who have proven through action their dedication to serving America carry the message of Service Nation.

The last and most important component of Service Nation is YOU.

Talking Points of the Service Nation Campaign

1. It is a unique moment for the idea that citizen service can unite Americans in common cause, help address specific social challenges, and be at the core of a new era of civic engagement: both presidential candidates believe deeply in service; post-9/11, Americans (particularly Millennials and retiring Boomers) want opportunities to serve their communities and country; and national service programs from City Year to Teach For America are establishing a record of impact that can be scaled. 

2. Americans have enormous untapped creativity and energy when it comes to solving our problems, and shared sacrifice for a common purpose has been the hallmark of our greatest generations. 

3. Service Nation is a national and bipartisan campaign that has brought together 100 organizations (ranging from the AARP to the National Council of La Raza, from the American Jewish Committee to the American Red Cross), with a collective reach of some 100 million Americans (full list of coalition organizations is located at: http://www.bethechangeinc.org/servicenation/about_us/media_kit#comm)

4. The ServiceNation coalition was convened by Be the Change, Inc. (CEO: Alan Khazei, www .bethechangeinc.org); City Year (CEO: Michael Brown, www.cityyear.org); Civic Enterprises (CEO: John Bridgeland, www.civicenterprises.net); Points Of Light Institute (CEO: Michelle Nunn; www.pointsoflight.org)

5. The goals of Service Nation are: to expand voluntary community and national service opportunities for all Americans; use proven service strategies to create targeted service corps that will take on some of our most chronic social challenges (like the high school dropout crisis); and inspire Americans to make service a core ideal of citizenship.  Service Nation does not support mandatory service requirements.

6. The ultimate vision of Service Nation is an America in which, by 2020, 100 million citizens will volunteer time in schools, workplaces, and faith-based and community institutions each and every year (up from 61 million today), and that increasing numbers of Americans annually will commit a year of their lives to national service.

7. Service Nation will launch with a bipartisan summit in New York City, Sept. 11-12, which will bring together hundreds of leading Americans to lay out a bold policy blueprint, promote new service legislation from Senators Kennedy and Hatch that will bring forth a new era of citizen service in America, and promulgate a Declaration on Service which any and all Americans can sign to show their support for the idea that citizen service can strengthen our democracy and help build a better future.

8. The Summit will also provide an opportunity for leaders from various sectors to announce and highlight new service commitments such as the Duke Engage Service Program, Gov. Schwarzennegger elevating his service director to Cabinet Status, The AARP launching a major new service initiative by its millions of members, and the Case Foundation announcing a major new billion dollar pro bono commitment by a number of companies that it is helping to organize.

9. Summit Leadership Council link: http://www.bethechangeinc.org/servicenation/summit/leadership

10. To kick off the summit, Service Nation has invited both Senators McCain and Obama to a presidential forum on service the night of September 11, to be moderated by TIME Managing Editor Richard Stengel.  Senator McCain has confirmed he will participate, while Senator Obama is considering the invitation.  The purpose of the forum is to allow both candidates to discuss their views on citizenship and service in the post-9/11 world, and lay out their ideas for the role of service in America going forward.

11. 9/11 is very significant as a historic catalyst in helping to re-ignite the urgency and importance of service in America, demonstrating in a very dark moment in our history the hope and opportunity that can exist when Americans are united in the spirit of service and compassion.

12. On September 12, the summit will be opened by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and brought to a close by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, the first governor to make a volunteer service commissioner a cabinet level post.

13. Two weeks later Service Nation will engage tens of thousands of Americans in hundreds of events across the country in a National Day of Action to celebrate service and showcase its potential.  Any citizen can create their own event or attend an existing event by signing up on the Service Nation website at www.servicenation.org.

14. Following the Day of Action, Service Nation will lead supporters of citizen service in a year-long campaign to inspire America to become a nation of service.

15. As part of that campaign, the leaders and citizens of Service Nation will call on the next president and Congress to enact by September 11, 2009 the legislation needed to bring about a new era of voluntary citizen service in America

How do I get involved in Service Nation?  

1.  Educate yourself on National Service issues.  Read the information on this website.  Peruse the links in the script.  Visit the “Be The Change” website.

2.  Sign-up to join the Service Nation Campaign. 

3.  Sign the online National Petition (link to be provided soon).

4.  Sign-up for our e-mail updates.

5.  Tell your family, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances about Service Nation and direct them to our website.

6.  Get directly involved.  Join Americans for a National Service Act.  Ask about establishing an ANSA Team in your community.  Talk to your Congressional Representative about the Voluntary National Service Act of 2009.

7.  Volunteer for National Service (link to be provided soon), and encourage others to follow your example.