June 28, 2016
Contact: Aly Bullock
Service Year Alliance
Voices for National Service
Including Gen. Stan McChrystal, Jennifer Granholm, Jon Huntsman, Vanessa Kerry, and Joe Gebbia
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, leaders in the entertainment, technology, business, military, government, and nonprofit sectors joined together to endorse Service Year Alliance and Voices for National Service’s joint “Challenge to Presidential Candidates.” More than two dozen leaders — both Democrats and Republicans — signed on to the Challenge, which aims to make a year of service a common opportunity for young Americans.
“Increasing service year opportunities has the power to unify our country and become a living legacy of the next president,” said General Stan McChrystal, Chair of the Board of Service Year Alliance.“Now more than ever, America needs citizens of all backgrounds who are willing to come together and tackle the many problems facing our local communities.”
A service year is a substantial, full-time commitment that is supported with a modest living allowance. Today, there are approximately 65,000 full-time service year opportunities, including national service positions that receive federal funding through AmeriCorps, the Peace Corps, and YouthBuild.
“Not only do young people who do a service year make a real, measurable impact on the communities they serve — they also develop valuable leadership and professional skills,” said Shirley Sagawa, CEO of Service Year Alliance. “Through their service year, young people can gain a pathway to college or employment, and become the future leaders our country so desperately needs.”
In order to realize the potential of young Americans and unleash a powerful force for good, the Challenge calls on the next President to:
- Restore national service as a national priority by dramatically increasing the number of full-time service year positions through AmeriCorps, the Peace Corps, and YouthBuild;
- Establish service year opportunities as a pathway to higher education and careers by increasing education awards and loan forgiveness for those who serve; and
- Encourage states, communities, and nonprofit organizations to create service year positions to solve locally identified problems.
“From expanding the investment in national service to making a service year a pathway to higher education and careers to solving local problems — this Challenge calls on the next president to take a bold stand and answer the American people’s call to service,” said AnnMaura Connolly, President of Voices for National Service. “This wide-ranging group of endorsers exemplifies the overwhelming bipartisan support that expanding and investing in service year opportunities enjoys.”
Service Year Alliance is a bipartisan organization committed to making a year of full-time service — a service year — a cultural expectation and common opportunity for young Americans of all backgrounds. Expanding service years has the power to address our country’s most pressing challenges, change the lives of those who serve, and unite our nation. General Stan McChrystal serves as Chair of the Board of Service Year Alliance, which is a joint venture between Be The Change, Inc. and The Aspen Institute and is the result of a merger between the Franklin Project, ServiceNation, and the Service Year Exchange. Learn more at www.ServiceYR.org.
Voices for National Service is a diverse coalition of national service programs, state service commissions and individual champions, who advocate to ensure Americans of all ages have the opportunity to serve and volunteer in their community. Founded in 2003, Voices for National Service has built strong bipartisan support among our nation’s leaders and helped position national service as a viable policy solution to tackle unmet needs, expand opportunity, and leverage human capital. Learn more at www.voicesforservice.org.