Cities of Service
New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, founding members of the Cities of Service coalition, joined Rockefeller Foundation President Dr. Judith Rodin to announce the winners of the first-ever Cities of Service Leadership Grants.
Ten cities were selected to receive $200,000 two-year grants, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, to hire a Chief Service Officer - a senior city official dedicated to developing and implementing a citywide plan to increase volunteerism and target volunteers to address their city's greatest needs. Due to the extraordinary response from cities to the first request for proposals - 50 cities applied to receive one of the ten grants - the mayors and Dr. Rodin announced that there will be a second competition in the coming months to award similar grants to an additional ten cities.
The announcement was made on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a national day of service, at the John Foster Dulles School of Excellence in Chicago, where more than 100 City Year Chicago high school students spent the day off painting hallways and murals, and re-organizing classrooms.
Cities of Service is a bipartisan coalition of Mayors from across the country, representing more than 38 million Americans in 80 cities, dedicated to engaging more Americans in service and channeling volunteers towards each city's most pressing challenges.
The cities selected to receive leadership grants are Chicago, IL; Detroit, MI; Los Angeles, CA; Nashville-Davidson, TN; Newark, NJ; Omaha, NE; Philadelphia, PA; Sacramento, CA; Savannah, GA; Seattle, WA. Each of these cities displayed a strong commitment to service and outlined thoughtful, thorough and creative approaches to expanding local opportunities for volunteers to make an impact.
"I can think of no better way to celebrate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and this national day of service than to invest in the capacity of cities to mobilize their citizens in innovative ways to solve our common problems," said Mayor Bloomberg. "As we work to help our neighbors and communities through the greatest financial crisis we've seen in a long time, we believe citizen service is needed now more than ever. These grants, funded generously by the Rockefeller Foundation, will help us develop new strategies to tap volunteers as a serious strategy to solve local challenges."
"The Rockefeller Foundation is proud to continue its long tradition of supporting innovative solutions for urban communities by announcing the inaugural Cities of Service Leadership Grants," said Rockefeller Foundation President Dr. Rodin. "In each of these ten unique and diverse cities, there will now be sustained opportunities to bring systematic change and greater impact to the way communities support each other. In these difficult economic times - reflected by the overwhelming response to this new effort - there is an urgent need in local communities for volunteers, and a great need for public-private partnerships that foster and support these efforts during such a critical time."
"Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. showed Americans the power of volunteerism. He also showed us that one person can make a difference," said Mayor Daley. "It is with this spirit that we accept the Cities of Service Leadership Grant. I am proud of the high level of volunteerism we already have in Chicago and this grant is going to help take our service to the next level. By focusing our initiative on our City's youth and those that need our help the most, we will help to secure a stronger Chicago for future generations. Volunteerism sends a powerful message - people helping people to make our cities better places to live, work and raise a family and that's the message Cities of Service carries around the nation. It is why the City of Chicago is pleased to be part of this great effort to bring new energy and new ideas to the service movement."
"I am honored that Detroit was one of the first recipients of the inaugural Cities of Service Leadership Grant," said Detroit Mayor Dave Bing. "This grant will allow us to bring together citizens and harness the can-do spirit of Detroiters in the name of volunteerism."
"I first learned of this funding opportunity when I joined Mayor Bloomberg in New York in September for the formation of Cities of Service," said Nashville Mayor Karl Dean. "These are tight times for city budgets. This grant will allow us to have dedicated staff for developing service opportunities, something we wouldn't have been able to do otherwise. I look forward to engaging our citizens to in our cities greatest needs and priorities, especially education."
"The City of Newark is honored to be selected as one of the first recipients of the Cities of Service Leadership Grant," said Newark Mayor Cory Booker. "Critical to the achievement of our civic goals is the leadership, involvement and service of our citizens. This grant will better help us to focus, coordinate, and inspire the service of our residents enabling our city to more boldly achieve our highest aspirations. We are grateful."
"The Chief Service Officer will be a valuable asset to our community," said Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle. "Through the work of the Chief Service Officer, Omaha will experience a boost in new community volunteers, retention of current volunteers, an increase in service projects, and improved living conditions and quality of life among our citizens."
"As tens of thousands of Philadelphians are hard at work at project sites across the city to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., this grant is one more thing to celebrate and is a great boost for service and volunteer efforts in Philadelphia," said Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter. "This funding allows us to implement a comprehensive civic engagement plan that will ensure volunteer efforts throughout Philadelphia are focused around our goals for a safer, greener, and better educated city. The grant is a tribute to what our city has already accomplished and we thank Cities of Service and the Rockefeller Foundation for this recognition and support."
"Today's announcement is a significant win," said Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson. "A Chief Service Officer will be a vehicle for Sacramento to further its volunteerism efforts, and continue to showcase our city as a national model for service in this country. Most importantly, this grant will allow Sacramento to take service to the next level to help solve some of the most pressing issues and challenges facing our city. We are thankful to the Cities of Service and Rockefeller Foundation for this generous grant."
The Cities of Service Leadership Grants will allow each city to hire a Chief Service Officer, a senior city official dedicated to developing and implementing a citywide plan to increase volunteerism and targeting volunteers to address their city's greatest needs. To develop their local plans, mayor's offices will convene strategic committees of service experts and stakeholders, conduct assessments of existing service levels, and identify collaborative partnerships to deepen the effects of local volunteerism. Each city will launch its comprehensive service plan by this fall.
As part of the application process, cities were asked to identify how they would conduct an assessment of existing service levels, produce a coordinated citywide plan to increase service, engage local universities, and appoint a Chief Service Officer who would report directly to the mayor or another high-ranking official in the administration. Applications were limited to members of theCities of Servicecoalition, to cities that have more than 100,000 residents, according to the 2000 census, and to cities that have at least one community college or four-year public or private university. In total, 50 cities applied for a leadership grant. A selection committee was established to review the applications and make the selections.
As part of each application, cities were asked to submit at least two high-priority issue areas they will target with increased service. Each winning city listed education as a high priority, and Cities of Service will develop best practices and resources to help cities target that area.
Due to the extraordinary response from cities to the first request for proposals, the Mayors and Dr. Rodin announced that there will be a second competition in the coming months to award similar grants to an additional ten cities. The second round of leadership grants will be funded jointly by the Rockefeller Foundation and Bloomberg Philanthropies. Information on how Cities of Service coalition members can apply for the second round of leadership grants will be made available at www.citiesofservice.org by the end of January 2010.
About Cities of Service
Founded in New York City on September 10, 2009 with 17 founding member cities, Cities of Service is a bipartisan coalition of mayors who have answered the historic Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act's call to action. Cities - often at the front lines of our nation's most pressing challenges - are perfectly positioned to work together to engage millions more volunteers in service and develop strategies to increase the amount and impact of local service efforts. All coalition members have signed a "Declaration of Service," committing to work together to lead a multi-year effort to expand community service and volunteerism by:
Developing a comprehensive service plan and a coordinated strategy focused on matching volunteers and established community partners to the areas of greatest local need;
Working with other mayors and elected officials to advance strategies and best practices that accelerate the service movement and produce measurable results;
Encouraging other mayors to join this national effort to engage our citizens; and ensuring that the voice of cities is heard in federal legislative, policy and program discussions related to service, which will help the country achieve the ambitious goals of the Serve America Act.
The coalition has rapidly grown since its inception in September and now includes 80 Mayors representing more than 38 million Americans in 80 cities across the nation. The coalition includes seven of the 10 largest cities in the country and 28 of the top 50 largest cities.
The Cities of Service coalition includes the following cities: Akron, OH; Allentown, PA; Annapolis, MD; Arlington, TX; Atlanta, GA; Austin, TX; Baltimore, MD; Baton Rouge, LA; Birmingham, AL; Boston, MA; Bowling Green, KY; Brownsville, TX; Buffalo, NY; Catoosa, OK; Chandler, AZ; Charleston, SC; Chattanooga, TN; Chicago, IL; Chula Vista, CA; Cincinnati, OH; Corpus Christi, TX; Davis, CA; Denver, CO; Detroit, MI; Dublin, OH; Eugene, OR; Flint, MI; Fort Wayne, IN; Grand Rapids, MI; Harrisburg, PA; Hattiesburg, MS; Jackson, MS; Jacksonville, FL; Lancaster, CA; Lexington, KY; Los Angeles, CA; Meridian, MS; Mesa, AZ; Milwaukee, WI; Muskegon, MI; Nashville-Davidson, TN; New Bedford, MA; New York, NY; Newark, NJ; Oakland, CA; Omaha, NE; Palm Bay, FL; Panama City, FL; Pawtucket, RI; Philadelphia, PA; Phoenix, AZ; Pittsburgh, PA; Placerville, CA; Portland, OR; Providence, RI; Reading, PA; Riverside, CA; Roseville, CA; Sacramento, CA; Saint Paul, MN; Salt Lake City, UT; San Antonio, TX; San Francisco, CA; San José, CA; Santa Cruz, CA; Santa Fe, NM; Santa Rosa, CA; Savannah, GA; Seattle, WA; St. Louis, MO; Stockton, CA; Trenton, NJ; Tucson, AZ; Utica, NY; Ventura, CA; Vicksburg, MS; Virginia Beach, VA; Washington, DC; West Palm Beach, FL.
More information about the coalition can be found at www.citiesofservice.org.