Points of Light, the GE Volunteers Foundation and the Corporation for National and Community Service Bring Communities Together to Honor the Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. Through Volunteer Service
Organizations Mobilize Hundreds of Thousands on the 50th Anniversary of the 1965 Voting Rights Act
#MeetupMonday, Sunday Suppers Encourage Face-to-Face Conversations
ATLANTA, Jan. 16, 2015 – Points of Light, with support from the GE Volunteers Foundation and the Corporation for National and Community Service, and in partnership with nonprofits and hundreds of local volunteer action centers, will mark the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service by mobilizing hundreds of thousands of people across the country in volunteer service projects and discussions of critical community issues.
The volunteer projects complement hundreds of America’s Sunday Suppers that will be held across the country. Inspired by the legacy of Dr. King – and his desire to bring people with diverse backgrounds together for thoughtful conversation – Sunday Suppers provide opportunities for people to come together over a meal, talk about critical issues and discuss ways they can volunteer to meet urgent community needs.
To make Sunday Suppers easier, Points of Light – with the Independent Television Service, the Family Dinner Project and celebrity chefs – created a Cooking and Conversations Guide. The guide includes questions and links to videos designed to spark conversations, along with recipes from famous chefs, including Ming Tsai, author and host of “Simply Ming”; James Beard winners Anne Quatrano and Linton Hopkins; “Top Chef” All-Star Richard Blais; and Ford Fry, Eater Atlanta Chef of the Year in 2014.
To start more face-to-face conversations, Meetup, Points of Light, the Corporation for National and Community Service, America’s Promise Alliance and Citizen University launched #MeetupMonday, which will help people get together to “talk about America – the struggles we face today and the our dreams for tomorrow.” The free version of Meetup’s paid platform will enable diverse groups of citizens across the nation to organize #MeetupMonday events in their communities on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and beyond. For details, click here.
In addition, the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that leads the MLK Day of Service, awarded $125,000 to Points of Light – the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service – to support volunteer projects at nine nonprofits that will engage more than 50,000 volunteers. Highlights are below.
- Global Citizen (Philadelphia) will organize a jobs and opportunities fair, and a training for volunteers who will help low-income citizens with tax preparation throughout the year.
- Phi Beta Sigma (Memphis, St. Louis, Charlotte, N.C.) will launch its “I Am My Brother’s Keeper” initiative by engaging its members in Sunday Suppers and service projects in three cities.
- HandsOn Northeast Ohio (Cleveland) will provide medical, employment, financial and educational support – along with basic supplies – to 1,200 people who are homeless or in transition.
- Hands On Birmingham (Alabama) will support 48 service projects and host an America’s Sunday Supper for veterans.
- Hands On Atlanta will run a “stuff the bus” campaign, collecting and delivering donated school supplies to schools that need them, and host a Sunday Supper.
- Georgia Tech will host an MLK student celebration and engage students in service projects across Atlanta.
- HandsOn Superior California (Sacramento) will engage community volunteers and AmeriCorps members in spreading the word about free tax preparation services.
- Volunteer Center of Greensboro (North Carolina) will bring a volunteer fair and 25 service projects to the Four Seasons Mall to engage shoppers in helping others.
- New York Cares (New York City) volunteers will run service learning projects for students, financial literacy support for parents, and revitalization projects for schools and community centers.
In Washington, D.C.:
- Points of Light, the George Washington University, Serve DC: The Mayor’s Office on Volunteerism and Jumpstart will engage 200 volunteers in creating literacy games and assembling literacy kits for use with youngsters in three early childhood organizations and schools in Washington. (GWU, The Marvin Center, 12:30 to 2 p.m.)
- With support from HP and Points of Light, the Taproot Foundation and five local chapters of the Project Management Institute will host the Project Manager’s Day of Service ScopeAthon, the largest pro bono service event in the D.C. metro area. More than 300 professional project manager volunteers will provide $200,000 worth of consulting to local nonprofits. Throughout the day, project managers will work with nonprofit staff to identify organizational problems, help them identify solutions and develop work plans that will allow them to complete projects on time and on budget, ultimately enabling them to increase their impact. (Sheraton, Tysons Corner, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
In New York City:
AmeriCorps members and volunteers from Corps 18, 826NYC and ServiceWorks (which is powered by AmeriCorps, the Citi Foundation, Points of Light and, in New York City, The Door) will gather at University Settlement Cornerstone at Campos Plaza Community Center, a sub-site of The Door, to participate in a beautification project, a student supplies drive and a financial literacy workshop.
On Jan. 15, with support from Target, generationOn, Points of Light’s youth service initiative, brought hundreds of volunteers to PS/MS 57 to help students with service projects, including making musical instruments for a special needs preschool and packing healthy breakfast kits for food-insecure families.
Scores of other volunteer action centers and Points of Light affiliates will activate volunteers on the King holiday, including:
- Hands On Nashville, which will team up with the Nashville Fire Department to provide fire safety and prevention education.
- Jersey Cares, which will engage volunteers to lead civil rights workshops in schools, serve hot meals, beautify parks and spend time with seniors.
- Boston Cares, which will engage 600 volunteers in assembling beds for homeless toddlers, creating lap desks for students who need a space to do their homework and sewing quilts for children transitioning out of homelessness and into their new homes.
- United Way of Larimer County (Fort Collins, Colo.) will join with Kaiser Permanente employees to create first aid kits that will be donated to homeless families and adults.
“It’s been a hard few months in this country, as people of all races grapple with how far we’ve come and how much farther we have to go to reach the beloved community that Dr. King talked about,” said Tracy Hoover, president at Points of Light. “We hope millions will volunteer, then host or join Sunday suppers that bring people together across all that divides us.”
It’s not too late to participate in MLK Day of Service activities. Visit MLKDay.gov and PointsofLight.org/MLK, where you can find a volunteer opportunity or pledge to host a Sunday Supper. And check out #MeetupMonday here.
About Points of Light
Points of Light – the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service – mobilizes millions of people to take action that is changing the world. Through HandsOn Network affiliates in 250 cities and partnerships with thousands of nonprofits and corporations, Points of Light engages 4 million volunteers in 30 million hours of service each year. We bring the power of people where it’s needed most.
About the GE Volunteers Foundation
The GE Volunteers Foundation is the philanthropic organization of GE. For over 50 years, it has invested in programs based on a fundamental premise: a quality education ushers in a lifetime of opportunity, which helps build a strong and diverse workforce and citizenry. The need for a quality education has never been more urgent, especially for individuals from under-represented and disadvantaged backgrounds. GE Foundation continues to address this societal and economic imperative by supporting high-impact initiatives that improve the access, equity and quality of public education in GE communities around the world.
About the Corporation for National and Community Service
The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, the Volunteer Generation Fund, and the Social Innovation Fund, and leads President Obama’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve. CNCS leads the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service and supports grants to mobilize hundreds of thousands of Americans in service on MLK Day. Visit our website at NationalService.gov.