It’s been a great first week. I’ve had the opportunity to meet our extraordinary staff and to hear directly from some of them in my first of many small listening sessions. I met with the Inspector General and received a number of in-depth briefings – and I’m even starting to find my way around the office.
I also held an “all hands” meeting with Corporation staff where I outlined the four focus areas I see for the Corporation as we move ahead. I wanted to take a minute to share them with you (to see a video clip from the meeting, click here):
- Service as a Solution: We know that service works, that it solves local problems. Our challenge is to bring service to scale, and to target it on addressing key national issues – preventing dropouts, expanding health access, building a green future, fostering economic opportunity. That’s what the Serve America Act has called for, and that’s what we need to do. As we do that, we also need to find better ways to demonstrate our impact – not just how many are serving, but how lives have been changed.
- Expanding Opportunities to Serve: While service is a strong tradition in our nation, and while volunteer rates are up, about three-quarters of Americans don’t volunteer. Significantly expanding service will require connecting with citizens from all communities, backgrounds, and perspectives. We need to provide easily accessible service opportunities to fit their needs and communicate in ways that connect with our intended audiences.
- Building Enduring Capacity: In order to increase impact, we need to build the capacity of individuals, organizations and communities. Building capacity – sustainable capacity – is about much more than money. It’s also about training, streamlining, leadership development, sharing best practices, and giving our field tools they can use to become more effective at addressing pressing challenges through service.
- Embracing Innovation: All across America, groups are finding solutions to local problems, and the challenge is to scale these opportunities to achieve our national priorities. We need to invest in models that work, find new ways of doing business, and serve as a source of ideas for local communities.
In the weeks and months ahead, I’m looking forward to learning more and listening a lot. I hope to get out into the field soon – and often – so I can see our programs in action and hear from you. In the meantime, thank you for the work you are doing everyday to make your communities and our nation stronger.
CEO, Corporation for National and Community Service