History of the Community Blueprint

In January 2010, an “America Joins Forces with Military Families” retreat was held at the White Oak Plantation in Florida. The gathering was attended by a group representing 55 nonprofits, veterans and military support organizations, government agencies, faith-based groups and senior U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Labor and Defense offices. During this retreat, the group discussed the challenges facing America’s military and their families, and how the public and private sectors could work more effectively together to address these needs. The group was aware of the many great things happening in local communities to address specific issues, but there were still gaps in services, duplication in other services and communities weren’t working together to leverage assets to meet the needs. At the conclusion of this retreat, also known as White Oak I, the idea of creating a Blueprint for communities was formed. Leaders in the room vowed to work collectively to develop this “community blueprint.”  

From March to September 2010, the small group of leaders recognized that they needed to add more smart stakeholders to the effort – to provide direction, vision and help breathe life into this idea. As a result, three “convenings” were held at The American Red Cross where discussions continued around the structure of a Community Blueprint. Interested members from White Oak I continued to meet and work together to take ideas and insights from the larger group convenings and consolidate them into a defined structure.

In the spirit of adding more structure around the effort, in January 2011, this smaller group of leaders formed the Community Blueprint Advisory Council.

By February 2011, the Council quickly recognized that the Community Blueprint was an entity with national scalability and promise, which led the Council to begin a search for an organization that could take it on and move it forward. In June 2011, Points of Light was chosen as the new permanent home. The mission at Points of Light is about putting people at the heart of social change and its expertise is around community engagement and volunteerism. These characteristics were seen as vital to the success of the grassroots driven effort called The Community Blueprint.

In an ongoing process, the Advisory Council and Points of Light staff took the feedback and insights of more than 75 organizational representatives and began developing tools and resources that would become the foundation of content for the Community Blueprint. This was done with the wonderful support of AmeriCorps VISTA members, (provided by the American Legion Auxiliary Call to Service Corps, with support from the Corporation for National and Community Service).

Welcome home soldiers

In February 2012, the Community Blueprint continued to gain momentum during the White Oak II retreat, where leaders once again joined together for a weekend of thought leadership and discussion. Additional partnerships and linkages were made and the Community Blueprint once again was recognized as a strong path forward for supporting local communities in addressing the needs of our military community. 

From June 2011 until June 2012, Points of Light staff, along with input from the Advisory Council and continued assistance from the VISTA members, worked to define and refine this powerful initiative. At the National Conference on Volunteering and Service in June, the Community Blueprint and Points of Light hosted the first Community Blueprint Summit to highlight discussions and collaboration around the efforts to help veterans, military and their families. 

In August 2012, Points of Light created a new department under the Programs division – military initiatives. The Community Blueprint is the cornerstone of the military initiatives being developed by Points of Light.  

The Community Blueprint continues to grow and be refined within Points of Light – by working to cultivate promising practices happening inside communities, maintaining situational awareness in this space both nationally and inside local communities, and working to activate its networks leveraging the framework and tools.

The Advisory Council remains intact and continues to provide guidance and support to Points of Light military initiatives.

  • Meet The Community Blueprint Advisory Council and learn about their organizations.