The Extra Mile

The Extra MileThe Extra Mile – Points of Light Volunteer Pathway is the only national monument that honors individuals who selflessly championed causes to help others realize a better America.

The Extra Mile illustrates stories of great Americans who, through their caring and personal sacrifice, reached out to others, building their dreams into great movements that help people across America and the world. The monument pays tribute to the millions of individuals who volunteer their time, energy and talent to make a difference in the lives of others.

From founders of major service organizations to civil rights leaders, the honorees embraced their power to create change in their communities and our country. Their legacies are enduring social movements that continue to engage and inspire us today.

President and Mrs. George H. W. Bush dedicated The Extra Mile on Oct. 14, 2005 by inducting the first 20 honorees. To date, 33 individuals have been honored with medallions along The Extra Mile, which will eventually stretch one mile and include 70 extraordinary service leaders.

Learn more about the history and the future of this special monument that pays tribute to individuals who have gone the extra mile for others.

Jane Addams
In 1889, with Ellen Gates Starr, Jane Addams founded Hull House in Chicago, one of the nation’s first settlement houses. It served as a community center for the poor and its success helped lead to the creation of hundreds of similar organizations in communities across the country. An active reformer throughout her career, Jane Addams was a leader in the women’s suffrage and pacifist movements. She was the first American woman to receive a Nobel Peace Prize in 1931. Read more on Jane Addams.
Edgar Allen
A life-changing experience led Edgar “Daddy” Allen to found an organization that became Easter Seals in 1919. From the construction of one hospital in Ohio, Easter Seals has grown to serve more than one million clients in every state and Puerto Rico. Easter Seals creates solutions that change lives and assures that children and adults with disabilities can live with equality, dignity and independence. Easter Seals services include programs for children, vocational training, and employment and medical rehabilitation. Read more on Edgar Allen.
Edgar Allen
Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus
Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus saw value and worth where others may not have – in the older members of our society. She knew that older Americans could contribute to the welfare of our country and affect positive social change in a democratic society. With these ideas in mind, Andrus founded the National Retired Teachers Association (NRTA) in 1947 and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) in 1958. Both have established the importance older members of our society make. The AARP has become a powerful presence, with more than 35 million members aged 50 and older.
Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus
Susan B. Anthony
Blessed with an industrious and self-disciplined spirit, Susan B. Anthony persevered through the prejudice and culture of her time to emerge as the architect of a movement which secured the passage of the 19th Amendment that gave women the right to vote. Her belief that U.S. citizenry entitled everyone to the same rights under the constitution formed her platform for lifelong activism. Read more on Susan B. Anthony.
Susan B Anthony
Roger Baldwin
Roger Nash Baldwin passionately believed in the protection of individual liberty. In 1920, Baldwin and his fellow reformers established the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to ensure that the Bill of Rights would be preserved for each new generation. As its founding director, Baldwin used his 30-year tenure to move the ACLU towards its place as the most renowned public interest law firm in America. Read more on Roger Nash Baldwin.
Clara Barton
Clara Barton lived a lifetime of tireless service to others. During the American Civil War, she became known as the “Angel of the Battlefield,” delivering supplies and caring for the sick and wounded. After the war, Barton organized a campaign to locate missing soldiers. Her enduring legacy was the founding, in 1881, of the American Red Cross, an organization whose name became synonymous with disaster preparedness, response and relief. Read more on Clara Barton.
Clara Barton
Clifford Beers
Clifford Beers is the founder of the modern day mental health movement. He established the International Committee for Mental Hygiene in 1931, known today as the World Federation for Mental Health. Beers courageously shared his own experience with mental illness in his autobiography, “A Mind That Found Itself.” This renowned book opened the nation’s eyes to the mistreatment of people with mental illness and led to the creation of modern treatment methods for mental health disorders.
Ballington & Maud Booth
Ballington and Maud Booth founded Volunteers of America in 1986 with the mission to reach and uplift all people. The Booths envisioned a movement that would care for the whole person – mind, body and spirit. Their vision lives on in a national organization that provides services to help children, the elderly, people with disabilities, the homeless and others in need. Maud Booth was the greatest single influence in securing political support for prison reform. She was also a founding member of the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA). Read more on Ballington and Maud Booth.
William D. Boyce
William D. Boyce used his childhood experiences and his success as an international publisher and businessman to create the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). Inspired by the good turn of an unknown English scout, W.D. Boyce brought scouting to the United States in 1910, making it possible for millions of young Americans to benefit from its values-based educational programs. Read more on William D. Boyce.
Wallace Campbell
Wallace Campbell, together with Lincoln Clark and Arthur Ringland, founded Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE) in 1945 to rush lifesaving assistance to the survivors of World War II in Europe and Asia. More than 100 million relief packages were delivered, embedding the phrase “care package” into the American lexicon as a term synonymous with helping people in need. Campbell’s 40-year association with CARE helped it evolve toward a model of self-sufficient programs that create lasting solutions to the problems of poverty. Read more on Wallace Campbell.
Rachel Carson
Rachel Carson’s philosophy of conservation and the desire for people to coexist peacefully with nature guided her contributions to the preservation of the environment, and the human race. Her love of nature and her eloquent literary style laid the groundwork for the modern day environmental movement. In 1962, she wrote “Silent Spring,” a passionate expose of the far-reaching indiscriminate use of pesticides. Her work became the catalyst for an environmental philosophy that sought to promote the respectful coexistence of mankind and the environment. Read more on Rachel Carson.
Cesar Chavez
Led by his desire to secure a better quality of life for migrant farm workers, Cesar Chavez helped found the United Farm Workers for America (UFW), the first effective farm workers’ union in the United States. Under his leadership of nonviolent protest, the UFW was able to secure improved wages and benefits, more humane living and working conditions and better job security for some of the poorest workers in America. Through his life of service, Chavez provided inspiration to countless others. Read more on Cesar Chavez.
Ernest K. Coulter
Ernest K. Coulter’s enduring contribution is the founding, in 1904, of the Big Brothers Big Sisters youth mentoring movement. Coulter lived a life of purpose and passion. Social welfare activist, journalist, lecturer, author, lawyer and advocate for children’s rights - Coulter offered a lifetime of service to others. Read more on Ernest Kent Coulter.
Dorothea Dix
Inspired by her social conscience, Dorothea Dix launched a self-financed career aimed at improving the lives of the mentally ill. Her mission to document squalid institutional living conditions and inhumane treatment built public awareness and redefined political thought, leading to better treatment practices. Read more on Dorothea Dix.
Frederick Douglass
Famed orator and writer Frederick Douglass was also a key architect of the movement that ended slavery, the very institution into which he was born. Even after his goal to abolish slavery was achieved, Douglass persisted in his struggle for equality. His work in the women’s rights and civil rights movements helped set the stage for further landmark change in this country. Read more Frederick Douglass.
Millard & Linda Fuller
Millard and Linda Fuller founded Habitat for Humanity, a Christian organization with “open arms” to all who want to be involved, to build affordable houses. Habitat for Humanity requires that the families who live in the homes participate in the building of them. Habitat has built more than 200,000 homes for families in more than 1,700 U.S. cities and 99 other countries. It is now the 15th largest home-builder in the U.S. and builds at least one house every 23 minutes of every day somewhere in the world. Read more on Millard & Linda Fuller.
Samuel Gompers
As founder and 37-year president of the American Federation of Labor (AFL), Samuel Gompers is credited with winning unprecedented rights and protections for the American worker. Never wavering in his belief that power for the worker lay in collective action and honest negotiation, Gompers experienced unequaled success in organizing millions of laborers into a single national organization. Read more on Samuel Gompers.
Juliette Gordon Low
Juliette Gordon Low founded Girl Scouts of the United States of America in 1912 for girls to develop and strengthen leadership skills; to provide support, kindness and compassion to those in need; and to prepare to serve as responsible citizens. Her efforts have enabled millions of girls, from 5 to 17, to enjoy fun, friendship and learning opportunities in a nurturing Girl Scout environment. She was an environmentalist, a crusader, a woman dedicated to the service of others. Above all, she was certain the future belonged to the young. Read more on Juliette Gordon Low.
Luther and Charlotte Gulick
Luther and Charlotte Gulick founded Camp Fire in 1910 as America’s first nonsectarian, interracial organization for girls. Boys joined in 1975. The organization provided opportunities and real-life lessons that contributed to the development of the “whole” person: giving service, pursuing knowledge, glorifying work and achievement, and being happy. Today, through programs such as the core after-school curriculum, youth leadership, in-school programming, service-learning, and camping and environmental education, Camp Fire USA helps build caring, confident youth and future leaders.
William Edwin Hall
William Edwin Hall served as the unpaid president of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America for nearly four decades. Through his leadership, it grew to become one of America’s pre-eminent charities, offering children a safe harbor and teaching them to become productive, responsible and caring citizens. His guidance and leadership took the organization from 43 Boys’ Clubs to more than 375 clubs and 350,000 members when he retired in 1954.
Paul Harris
Inspired by the simple idea of combining fellowship and service, Paul Harris pioneered the service club movement with the founding of Rotary International. Rotary fulfilled his dream of a worldwide organization of business and professional people serving their communities and promoting international understanding. Rotary continues to expand global horizons through its educational programs and offers hope through its humanitarian efforts and public health campaigns. Read more on Paul Harris.
Edgar J. Helms
Edgar J. Helms founded Goodwill Industries in 1902 to help people with disabilities and disadvantages fully participate in society by expanding their occupational capabilities. To accomplish this mission, Helms created an innovative system whereby Goodwill collects used items from the community and sells them in Goodwill stores to fund its employment, training and job placement programs. Read more Edgar J. Helms.
Melvin Jones
Believing in the power of cooperative altruism, Melvin Jones helped shape Lions Club International into the largest network of services clubs in the world. The organization is committed to assisting the visually impaired and supporting sight conservation worldwide. Using the motto, “We Serve,” Lions Clubs seek to improve the lives of the needy and offer young people the chance to catch the spirit of service. Read more on Melvin Jones.
Helen Keller
A blind and deaf writer and activist, Helen Keller was the guiding force behind the American Foundation for the Blind. Keller devoted her life to expanding possibilities for people who are deaf-blind, blind or have low vision. She also campaigned for women's suffrage and workers' rightsRead more on Helen Keller.
Eunice Kennedy Shriver
When Eunice Kennedy Shriver founded Special Olympics in 1968, she envisioned a program of athletic competition for people with mental retardation that sidelined prejudice and substituted opportunity and understanding. Through her advocacy, she has brought to millions of lives what all people deserve: A chance to experience self-worth, a chance to connect with their fellow man a chance to live without walls. Read more on Eunice Kennedy Shriver.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
In founding the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave momentum to the civil rights movement. Dr. King’s persistent efforts, inspiring oratory and non-violent protests, despite physical attacks, death threats and retaliatory violence, brought America closer to his dream of equality for all. Read more on Martin Luther King, Jr.
John Muir
John Muir, a conservationist, preservationist, explorer, writer, inventor, farmer and naturalist is credited, along with Theodore Roosevelt, as being the father of our national parks system. He was also one of the founders of the Sierra Club, one of the largest conservation advocacy groups in the United States. Through his publications and other advocacy, Muir helped educate leaders, and the American public, about the need for preservation of wild lands and the animals that inhabit those areas. This advocacy initiated the conservation movement in the United States. Read more on John Muir.
Mary White Ovington and William Edward Burghardt (W.E.B.) Dubois
Mary White Ovington and William Edward Burghardt (W.E.B.) DuBois were the two principal founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909. Ovington was one of the people that issued “the call” to civil rights activists of the time to form the organization. DuBois was among the most influential black leaders of the 20th century. He helped form the “Niagara Movement” as a way to work for an end to segregation, discrimination and the denial of voting and civil rights.
Robert Smith and William B. Wilson
United in their search for sobriety, Dr. Bob and Bill W. established Alcoholics Anonymous in 1935 allowing men and women to share with one another their experience, strength and hope in order to carry the message of recovery to alcoholics seeking help. Their belief and experience would provide the basis for AA and, most importantly, the concept of the Twelve Step program. This program, also embraced by other groups such as Narcotics Anonymous and Gamblers Anonymous, represents hope for all those who have a desire to address their addiction. Read more on Robert Smith and William B. Wilson.
Ruth Standish Baldwin and Dr. George Edmund Haynes
Harriet Tubman
Harriet Tubman escaped a life of slavery only to return south, at her own peril, time and again, to lead more than 300 fugitive slaves through the Underground Railroad to safety and freedom. After the Civil War, Tubman raised money to clothe and educate newly freed African-American children and established a home for and indigent African-Americans. Read more on Harriet Tubman.
Booker T. Washington
As an influential African-American, living in a time of escalating segregation, Booker T. Washington negotiated a course between accommodation and progress in advocating greater civil rights for blacks. His philosophy of “request” not “protest” allowed him to gain the respect of presidents and politicians. Washington believed education was a cornerstone for the advancement of blacks and his efforts to raise money for his beloved Tuskegee Institute helped secure its well-deserved reputation as a leading educational institution for African Americans. Read more on Booker T. Washington.
Ida Wells-Barnett
Ida Wells-Barnett crusaded aggressively for civil rights her entire life and was unafraid to exercise those rights when custom ran contrary to the law. Involved in many civil rights causes, she played leadership roles in the women’s suffrage movement and in the founding of the NAACP. Ida Wells-Barnett became the era’s most outspoken crusader for ending the practice of lynching African-Americans. Read more on Ida Wells- Barnett.

Educational Resources

The purpose of The Extra Mile is to educate and inspire all those who follow its one-mile route through Washington D.C. The Extra Mile aims to put the idea of volunteerism into the hands of effective people so it can be part of an ongoing dialogue and educational program. Through The Extra Mile we will deepen the understanding of volunteerism and its ability to help meet basic human needs and to stimulate as many conversations about those issues as possible.

The vision of The Extra Mile aims to encourage the growth of volunteerism, inspire young people to become the future leaders of the charitable community and encourage our culture to redefine the meaning of “role models” for our youth.

We will soon offer service-learning programs that will carry this important teaching tool and resource to young Americans. These programs will enable them to learn the history of charity, philanthropy and volunteering through the life stories of the Extra Mile honorees and the movements they founded.

Check back with us to learn about these future initiatives that will include:

  • Curriculum materials for schools
  • Interactive learning experiences
  • Program partnerships