The Points of Light Monument

The Points of Light Monument is a one-mile walkway in Washington, D.C., honoring actions and commitments to service that have transformed our nation and the world.

Through the monument, we honor civil rights leaders, including Susan B. Anthony, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and founders of some of the world’s most important social change institutions. In doing so, we tell the connected story of how the actions of these trailblazers turned into powerful movements that shaped history and continue to influence our world today.

On Oct. 14, 2005, President and Mrs. George H. W. Bush dedicated The Points of Light Monument, inducting its first 20 honorees. To date, 33 medallions have been placed, paying tribute to the work of 36 individuals. Located just blocks from the White House (starting at Pennsylvania Ave. and 15th St., NW), the pathway of medallions will eventually stretch one mile and include 70 medallions.

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... read more
Edgar Allen Medallion
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... read more
Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus Medallion
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... read more
Susan B Anthony Medallion
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.... read more
Roger Baldwin Medallion
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... read more
Clara Barton Medallion
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... read more
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... read more
Ballington and Maud Booth founded Volunteers of America in 1886 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... read more
William W.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... read more
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,... read more
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... read more
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... read more
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... read more
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,... read more
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... read more
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... read more
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... read more
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... read more
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... read more
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... read more
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... read more
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... read more
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... read more
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... read more
When Eunice Kennedy Shriver founded Special Olympics in 1968, she envisioned a program of athletic competition for people with mental and developmental disabilities that sidelined prejudice and substituted opportunity and understanding. Through her advocacy, she has brought to... read more
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... read more
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... read more
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... read more
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... read more
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-... read more
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... read more
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... read more

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