On Jan. 8, 1993, President George H. W. Bush submitted a report to the nation on his efforts to engage Americans in service. He called these volunteers “points of light.”
“This is my report to the Nation on the Points of Light movement. It outlines the movement’s purpose, its national strategy, the accomplishments of the last four years and the challenges of the years to come.
Points of Light are the soul of America. They are ordinary people who reach beyond themselves to touch the lives of those in need, bringing hope and opportunity, care and friendship. By giving so generously of themselves, these remarkable individuals show us not only what is best in our heritage but what all of us are called to become.
During the last four years, much energy has been devoted to encouraging, supporting, enlarging and multiplying Points of Light. I am convinced that the efforts of Points of Light are the source of our country’s greatness. They are the promise of America’s future.”
- President George H. W. Bush
From his first day in office, President Bush devoted very special attention to voluntary community service as a means of helping solve some of America’s most serious social problems. He was the first president in history to establish a White House office exclusively charged with this work, and none of his predecessors had engaged the “bully pulpit” so fully on the subject. His leadership resulted in the creation of the Points of Light Foundation, the Commission on National and Community Service, and the National Center for Community Risk Management and Insurance, as well as the recognition of thousands of volunteers whose stories were shared widely as examples to others. Between 1989 and 1993, the Points of Light movement became a defining mission of the Bush administration.
This level of presidential attention did not create the vast scale of service that has always been a part of American life, but did build on it. It is the Points of Light themselves – ordinary Americans from all walks of life using their time, talents, resources and voice to solve serious social problems – who are the power of the movement and the strength of the nation.
In 1998, Points of Light Foundation and the Corporation for National and Community Service reinstated the Daily Point of Light Award with a mission to honor those who take action to create change in their communities. Since then, Points of Light has inspired and recognized thousands for their voluntary service and celebrated the impact volunteers have on communities around the world. More than 5,000 Daily Point of Light honorees have been named to date.
Today, Points of Light – the movement, the organization, the honorees – is as important as it was 20 years ago as our nation confronts challenges in the economy, education, the environment and emergency response.
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