Founded in New York City on September 10, 2009 by 17 mayors from cities around the nation, Cities of Service is a bipartisan coalition of mayors who have committed to work together to engage citizens in a multi-year effort to address pressing city needs through impact volunteerism. The coalition includes more than 100 mayors, representing more than 49 million Americans across the nation.
Cities of Service supports mayors to leverage citizen service strategies, addressing local needs and making government more effective. All Cities of Service efforts are characterized by a concept called “impact volunteering” – volunteer strategies that target community needs, use best practices, and set clear outcomes and measures to gauge progress.
About Cities of Service Leadership Grants
In June 2010, the second round of Cities of Service Leadership Grants, funded jointly by the Rockefeller Foundation and Bloomberg Philanthropies, were awarded to Austin, TX; Atlanta, GA; Baltimore, MD; Baton Rouge, LA; Chula Vista, CA; Houston, TX; Little Rock, AR; Orlando, FL; Pittsburgh, PA; and Richmond, VA. As with the first round, these two-year grants enable cities to hire Chief Service Officers responsible for developing and implementing high-impact service plans.
The first round of Cities of Service Leadership Grants, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, were awarded in January 2010 to Chicago, IL; Detroit, MI; Los Angeles, CA; Nashville, TN; Newark, NJ; Omaha, NE; Philadelphia, PA; Sacramento, CA; Savannah, GA; and Seattle, WA. These ten cities launched high-impact service plans in September 2010.
The first high-impact service plan was developed by New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg when he created NYC Service and hired the nation’s first Chief Service Officer in 2009.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, along with several philanthropic, government, and business leaders, on Tuesday announced the launch of the city’s new strategic service plan to encourage more Atlantans to participate in focused community service activities.
Made possible by a Cities of Service Leadership Grant, funded jointly by the Rockefeller Foundation and Bloomberg Philanthropies, Forward Together outlines the Mayor’s vision to mobilize and channel volunteers towards what he describes as the city’s greatest areas of need -- developing our youth and beautifying our communities.
“The City of Atlanta has a strong tradition of service and community involvement, and I am confident that the launch of our new Cities of Service plan will lead to even more volunteerism and civic engagement,” Mayor Reed said.
“We look forward to opening ‘Centers of Hope’ across the city where young people can strengthen their academic and study skills, participate in sports and physical fitness activities, and develop important character traits. And I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and begin working with residents to clean up and beautify our neighborhoods as part of the “Love Your Block” program.”
Mayor Reed was joined by several speakers, including Atlanta City Councilwoman Keisha Lance Bottoms; Amy Phuong, Chief Service Officer for the City of Atlanta; Gina Simpson, President of Hands on Atlanta and Katy Elder, Senior Community Affairs Manager for The Home Depot Foundation.
“Without the collective support of various nonprofits, neighborhood leaders and community groups, this effort and the development of the city’s impact service initiatives would not be possible,” said Amy Phuong, Chief Service Officer for the City of Atlanta. “I appreciate the passion, civic pride and collaborative support we’ve received so far. Through continued strategic partnerships, I am confident that every citizen will have more opportunities to serve and give back in a robust way.”
The service plan comprises three Priority Impact Service and Infrastructure Initiatives aimed at realizing the goals of youth development and neighborhood revitalization, as well as creating a sustainable network of philanthropic organizations to promote targeted volunteer opportunities and efficiently enable citizens to serve.
The Centers of Hope provide an opportunity for public-spirited residents to get involved and volunteer as mentors, tutors, coaches and in other capacities that will support our youth. Additional volunteer opportunities will allow citizens to help beautify and improve the physical appearance at each center as well as within the surrounding neighborhoods.
Through partnerships with key organizations such as The Home Depot Foundation working in the revitalization and beautification space, the city launched the “Love Your Block” initiative. The “Love Your Block” initiative promotes community beautification by influencing citizens to lead neighborhood revitalization efforts and connecting volunteers with organizations already engaged in beautification projects in their area.
“The Cities of Service initiative is a meaningful investment in our city and a demonstration of the spirit Atlanta has shown for decades,” said Katy Elder, Senior Community Affairs Manager at The Home Depot Foundation. “We are excited to lend our support to the Mayor’s initiatives outlined in this plan, in particular a financial commitment to help local nonprofits and community groups revitalize Atlanta’s neighborhood blocks and green spaces.”
Representatives from Hands on Atlanta also attended the announcement to show their dedication to building communities around Atlanta and helping to meet the critical needs of the city through volunteer service and civic engagement.
“Hands On Atlanta’s partnership with the City of Atlanta is designed to mobilize thousands of volunteers,” said Gina Simpson, President and CEO of Hands On Atlanta. “The Forward Together website links to Hands On Atlanta’s website for easy access to meaningful service opportunities across the metro area.”
To make it easier for citizens to get involved, the city will partner with Hands on Atlanta and United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta to link citizens to volunteer opportunities through a city-led web portal, IAMAtlanta.org. Citizens will also be able to use this portal to learn more about the city’s strategic approach of using volunteer service to tackle pressing city issues and to register for specific city-led, impact service initiatives.
Attached, please find the “Forward Together” community service plan
More information about the coalition can be found at www.citiesofservice.org.