Conference Celebrates Change Makers Across the Globe
At the Sparking a Global Service Movement plenary at the Conference on Volunteering and Service yesterday, social entrepreneurs, government leaders, corporate innovators, and nonprofit activists from more than 50 countries joined to celebrate the good they can do together.
“When groups like this convene, we have the power, the know-how, experience and passion to tackle tough global problems,” said Tracy Hoover, Points of Light’s CEO. “And we know how to do it creatively.”
Like yesterday’s U.K. Points of Light award honorees, twin sisters Sarah Hope and Victoria Bacon, who met on stage with U.S. Daily Point of Light Award honoree Stephanie Decker. The three women are giving child amputees around the world the self-confidence they need to just be kids. The women promised to collaborate in the future.
“Us coming together to help so many children across the world I think is the most awesome thing of all,” Bacon said.
Collaboration was a call to action.
“The job facing concerned global citizens today is simply too big for any of us on our own,” said David Abney, CEO of UPS, sponsor of the conference.
Correspondent Randall Pinkston of Al Jazeera America moderated a panel discussion about expanding the global service movement. Ray Chambers, United Nations Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Financing the Health Millennium Development Goals for Malaria; Michelle Nunn, president and CEO of CARE USA, and former Points of Light CEO; and Atuki Turner, founder and executive director of MIFUMI, described how volunteers are increasing the power and capacity of people to lift themselves up around the world.
Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi later talked about human rights around the world and the duty Americans have to help: “In our country we have been blessed with security and opportunity, and therefore, responsibility.”
The day opened with many attendees exploring how national service members, nonprofits, the business community and young people themselves are catalyzing opportunities that can help lead to success, at the Individuals, Cities and National Service Advancing Youth Opportunity Forum, sponsored by Citi. This session featured leaders from ServiceWorks – a national program powered by Points of Light, Citi and AmeriCorps – and other innovative programs that serve “opportunity youth,” young people ages 16 to 24 who are not in school or employed.
“They’re not disconnected, they’re lost,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “It’s not a youth problem, it’s an adult problem. We as adults have to intervene and take part and be leaders.”
The Faith, Poverty and the Role of Service Forum brought together leading voices to examine how faith communities help the impoverished find assistance and sustenance. Joel Osteen, pastor of Lakewood Church, urged the attendees to use their gifts to help others: “God’s dream for your life is so much bigger than your own.”
In taking questions from the audience, the panelists – Martin B. Cominsky of Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston, Imam Eugene Farooq of Masjid Warithuddeen Mohammed, the Rev. Dr. R.B. Holmes, Jr. of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church and the Rev. Elder Dr. Nancy Wilson of Metropolitan Community Churches, along with author Paul Loeb – demonstrated range of compassion and engagement the faith community can provide.
The Business Track highlighted the innovations that are shaping and driving the future of corporate volunteering. The Business Track Opening unveiled the power and possibilities of the future of corporate service – from remarks from Mikaila Ulmer, a dynamic 11-year old social entrepreneur and CEO of Bee Sweet Lemonade, to IMPACT 2030, a global effort to mobilize the resources of businesses to help achieve the new Sustainable Development Goals, to companies leveraging their expertise and capacities to build stronger communities.
A panel of CEOs led by Richard Edelman, CEO of the Edelman public relations firm, offered its best advice for Points of Light for its next decade: collaborate, engage all sectors, extend your reach and make your people proud. Panelists included David Abney from UPS, Michael Groff from Toyota Financial Services, Dick Williams from Shell, Kerry Sullivan from Bank of America and Cliff Burrows from Starbucks.
The Innovations in Capacity Building luncheon, sponsored by JPMorgan Chase & Co., presented business and nonprofit leaders, who discussed the elements of building nonprofit capacity, from leadership and strategic planning to human capital and organizational culture.
And at the AmeriCorps Alums Town Hall, national service alums celebrated the 21st anniversary of AmeriCorps, while looking forward as alum leaders toward making communities safer, stronger and healthier.
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