Friday, September 12, 2008

Sen. Kennedy and Sen. Hatch Introduce Serve America Act of 2008 at Service Nation Summit

This morning at the Service Nation Summit, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA), represented by his niece, Caroline Kennedy, announced that they are introducing the Serve America Act of 2008. Barack Obama and John McCain have both agreed to co-sponsor the bill. They will be joined by Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS), Senator Hilary Clinton (D-NY) and Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT).

Some of the elements of the Act are:
  • Build on the AmeriCorps and create new "Corps" focused on areas of national need. Ask 175,000 Americans to give a year of service through these Corps.
  • Improve opportunities for low income young people to be of service in their communities.
  • Establish a tax incentive for employers who allow employees to take paid leave for full-time service.
  • Enhance incentives for retirees to give a year of service through the Corps, and establish "Encore Fellowships" to help retirees who wish to transition to longer-term public service.
  • Establish a "Volunteer Generation Fund" to help nonprofit organizations recruit and manage more volunteers.
  • Establish a Commission to study and improve how the federal government, nonprofits, and the private sector work together to meet national challenges effectively.
  • Establish a network of "Community Solution Funds," venture capital funds for the nonprofit sector to support innovation in the sector.
  • Support short-term international service opportunities and strengthen the Volunteers for Prosperity program, which supports short-term international service opportunities.
Pretty cool, huh? If you think this is a good idea, let your Congressperson know.


  1. Anonymous3:07 PM

    Why would low income people serve the community for no money? They need to be paid a salary and it should be equal to the regular work force. It doesn't make sense to serve without making money equal to the regular work force.


  2. Anonymous5:56 AM

    The Serve America Act is a great step forward -- expanding AmeriCorps and offering more opportunities for young people to serve is a great idea. But there's something missing...There's no bold, exciting institution that will capture the imagination of young people and help them rethink the entire idea of "service" the way the Peace Corps did in the 1960s.

    I don't understand why Sens. Kennedy and Hatch chose not to include a provision to build the U.S. Public Service Academy as the civilian counterpart to the military academies. There's a grassroots movement behind this idea, and it would energize the service movement.

  3. Anonymous - My understanding was that one of the purposes of the Act was to provide service opportunities for all people regardless of age or income. It is possible that there would be a job training element. Also, I think the idea was that instead of having wealthy people come in and "help" a low income community with a service project, the community would be working with each other on say, building a community garden. I'm sure you could contact Sen. Kennedy or Hatch's office for more information.

    e pluribus unum - Sen. Clinton, who is one of the Senators involved with the Serve America Act, is working with Sen. Arlen Spector (R-PA) on the United States Public Service Academy

    I don't know why it wasn't included in the Act. I'm sure you could contact her office for more information.

  4. Anonymous2:23 PM

    Britt, thanks for this. I'm concerned that the New Corps will bring in a flood of people who did not support the President. How do we get it through to some people that times have changed and everybody needs to get onboard. I think, mandatory political training. National Service in many countries provide examples of ensure unit cohesion.


If you are having trouble commenting, please let me know.