Michelle Nunn

Change Notes: Monday Will Be a Big Day for Service and for All the Nation's Volunteers

At 1:30 p.m. on Monday, President and Mrs. Obama will host President George H. W. Bush and Mrs. Bush at a special White House ceremony to honor the 5,000th person to receive the Daily Point of Light Award, which recognizes those who embrace the challenge of tackling a community need through volunteer service. I hope you'll join the fun and inspiration.

Change Notes: Every Day I Serve


Last year, on the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, Matt Segneri rose before dawn to help plant 3,000 flags in Boston honoring those lost. He joined hundreds of other volunteers from Points of Light's HandsOn Network affiliate Boston Cares. The event was held in total silence.

"It was a powerful shared experience on a sorrowful but inspiring day," he writes in a guest blog posted yesterday on Points of Light's website. "And it provided the spark that would change the next year of my life."

A Well-Deserved Reputation in Minneapolis

Minneapolis has long been considered a bastion of civic virtue, and for good reason. With the highest volunteer rate among large cities, the city understands the impact of giving back.

HandsOn Twin Cities – the longest operating volunteer center in the country – continues to find new ways to create change. I had the chance to meet with its board members and staff, led by Executive Director Kristin Schurrer, to learn more about their evolving work.

For those looking for innovative ideas, here are two: HandsOn Twin Cities will sponsor a speed-volunteering experience (think speed dating and you’ll understand the matching that goes on!) for 10,000 people at an event at the Mall of America. And the group will also launch a skills-based, done-in-a-day volunteer expo in the fall.

Not-So-Secret Salamanders in Milwaukee

Michelle Nunn continues her service tour with a stop in Milwaukee.

I must confess that my concept of Milwaukee was a bit trapped in old stereotypes. I was expecting a cold Midwestern city with musty factories and dusty breweries. That’s not what I got.

As we pulled in for a short visit, I was taken in by the fabulous lakefront parks, spectacular new Santiago Calatrava-designed Museum of Art, and the rivers winding through the cities with kayakers and scullers pulling into shore-side cafes and pubs. We discovered a Safe House spy restaurant with trapdoors and a password-only entry point that was great fun for kids and adults alike. It is a city of secreted charms. 

Business Behind the Scenes in Chicago

Michelle Nunn shares her experiences in Chicago on her Service Tour across country.

You can't help but marvel at Chicago in the summertime. On an evening stroll from the Museum Campus down the lakefront and up through Grant Park to the new Millennium Park, you see extraordinary cultural institutions, beautiful parks, a lively street life and wonderful restaurants.

But what isn’t so visible – a collaboration of business, civic and government leaders, all determined to take on tough city problems in smart, new ways – is just as noteworthy.

Here are three organizations that are engaging business in innovative ways:

Michelle Visits Battle Creek

Michelle Nunn makes a stop on her service tour at HandsOn Battle Creek.

When William Keith Kellogg established his foundation in 1930, he provided simple instructions: “Use the money as you please so long as it promotes the health, happiness and well-being of children.”

From the foundation’s inception, Battle Creek – founding home of the Kellogg Company and current home of the foundation – has enjoyed the bounty of W.K. Kellogg’s rich philanthropic tradition.

Here’s what impressed me most during my visit with Jim Pearl and his team at HandsOn Battle Creek.

Coney Island Hot Dogs…in Detroit

Michelle Nunn continues her cross-country trip and writes about her time spent in Detroit, Michigan.

The Lafayette Coney Island Hot Dog Stand in downtown Detroit hasn't changed much since it was founded in 1929. Menus aren’t really necessary – you can get hot dogs, chili, "loose" hamburgers and pie, and the servers take your order and yell to the kitchen how many "coneys" have been ordered.

Friday Volunteer News Round Up

Sunny dayWe hope you all had some holiday relaxation last week for the 4th of July. We've been in stormy weather all week in Atlanta. Hope you all have a sunny, beautiful weekend for volunteering! Happy Friday the 13th! Here are the news from the past couple of days:  

Change Notes: Congratulations to Wendy Spencer, CEO of CNCS

Change Notes


Last night, the U.S. Senate unanimously confirmed Wendy Spencer as the next CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). The Points of Light extended family is thrilled to have her stepping into this critical leadership role.

A Billion Plus Change Set to Mobilize Skills-Based Volunteers

Nonprofit, corporate and government leaders gather today in Washington, D.C.