June 16, 2012

National Conference on Volunteering and Service Begins in Chicago This Sunday

Thousands Will Participate in World’s Largest Gathering of Volunteer and Service Leaders

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

The National Conference on Volunteering and Service begins in Chicago this Sunday June 17, 2012. From June 17-20, Chicago will serve as the host for the world’s largest gathering of volunteer and service leaders and conference attendees will get on-the-ground exposure to Chicago’s robust social service community through special events and service projects held in neighborhoods throughout the city.  

This year’s Conference for the first time offers a Youth Summit, convened by generationOn, bringing together 250 young people from across the world for an afternoon of leadership building, discussion and a hands-on service project in one of Chicago’s communities. Registration for this Youth Summit is free and can be done online at http://www.volunteeringandservice.org/.

“Our city has a remarkable history of combining service with innovation,” said Mayor Emanuel. “We’re proud to host this year’s conference to facilitate conversation about not only what has worked in the past, but to discuss innovative solutions for the future of civic engagement and volunteering.”

Thousands of service sector leaders will participate in workshops and plenary sessions to discuss best practices and creative ideas to spur civic engagement across the globe. The Conference brings together international leaders to learn from others’ diverse experiences in promoting service, civic engagement and volunteerism in various settings, discuss common challenges and generate new ideas and solutions. The Conference is a program of the volunteer organization Points of Light.

This year, former first lady Barbara Bush and founder of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy will speak at the opening plenary session. Featured speakers include: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan; White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships Executive Director Joshua DuBois; Chicago Bears star Israel Idonije and founder of the Israel Idonije Foundation; Kate Maehr, CEO of the Greater Chicago Food Depository; J.R. Martinez, an Iraq War veteran and actor; Kevin Bacon, actor, musician and founder of SixDegrees.org; Governor Pat Quinn; and Mayor Emanuel.

“Hosting the National Conference on Volunteering and Service is a unique opportunity to showcase Chicago and its rich history of service community,” said Chicago Chief Service Officer Jenne Myers. “We hope that the thousands of leaders who come together to discuss the future of civic engagement and service will learn from each other and also from the thoughtful, innovative work our city’s nonprofits and social service organizations are doing every day.” 

The Conference is convened by Points of Light, a leading volunteer organization with more than 20 years of history serving communities across the country and a mission to connect the brightest and most cutting-edge civic entrepreneurs to generate change and make a meaningful difference in people’s lives.

“Our goal is to activate 21st century volunteers, helping them use their time, talent, voice and money to build strong, vibrant communities in vibrant, participatory societies,” said Michelle Nunn, Points of Light CEO. “This Conference strives to accelerate progress by convening and connecting the brightest and most cutting-edge civic entrepreneurs for change.”

In 2010, Chicago launched One Good Deed Chicago, a City-sponsored campaign promoting volunteerism and furthering civic engagement by residents. It includes a volunteer-matching site OneGoodDeedChicago.org, where hundreds of Chicago-based nonprofits have connected with Chicagoans looking to give back to their communities.

The 2011 Conference was held in New Orleans and hosted more than 4,000 attendees. New York City, Atlanta and San Francisco have hosted the conference in previous years.

About Points of Light

Points of Light is the leading volunteer organization with more than 20 years of history and a bipartisan presidential legacy. Their mission is to inspire, equip and mobilize people to take action that changes the world. They connect people to their power to make a meaningful difference by providing access to tools, resources and opportunities to help volunteers use their time, talent, voice and money to meet the critical needs of our communities. They are organized into three divisions: Programs, Civic Incubator and Action Networks, which include HandsOn Network, the largest network of 250 local volunteer centers across the country and around the world; generationOn, the youth service movement that ignites the power of kids to make their mark on the world; AmeriCorps Alums, the national service alumni network that activates the next generation of service leaders; and Points of Light Corporate Institute, their enterprise that enables companies to engage their employees and customers in service. For more information, visit www.pointsoflight.org.