In 2008, Points of Light became one of the co-conveners of Service Nation, a coalition of service and volunteer organizations that formulated and championed the passage of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act signed into law by President Obama in 2009. Points of Light was a central player, both in creating critical aspects of the bill and lobbying for its enactment. In particular, the organization provided the framework for the Volunteer Generation Fund and the National Service Reserve Corps.
Since the bill’s passage, Points of Light has made its legislative focus securing robust appropriations for all federal, national and community service programs, with particular focus on AmeriCorps and the Volunteer Generation Fund. More recently, the proposed elimination of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) by the House of Representatives meant that the organization’s advocacy efforts concentrated on building grassroots and Congressional support for CNCS.
We have also rallied around efforts to exempt the Eli Segal AmeriCorps education award from federal taxation and to promote service learning, parental engagement and community involvement policies in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary School Act (No Child Left Behind).
As part of its core mission, Points of Light will continue to strive to be both a thought leader and an advocate for public policies that advance civic strategies directed toward national needs. We support government policies dedicated to:
1) Encouraging volunteerism and civic engagement.
2) Promoting the creativity and energy of citizens in public problem solving.
3) Giving individuals the tools and resources to be active citizen.
Among the programs and policies that will remain as high priorities on the Points of Light federal agenda are as follows:
- All federal national and community service programs, especially the Volunteer Generation Fund and AmeriCorps
- Service learning/youth civic engagement initiatives either funded or supported by government entities
- Disaster response and the role of federal agencies and their nonprofit partners in managing spontaneous volunteers
- Specific issues relating to our impact work in education (parental engagement and community involvement provisions within the reauthorization of Elementary and Secondary School Act/No Child Left Behind, for instance), the environment, the economy and emergency preparedness and response
- Veterans, military families
- International service
- Internal volunteer programs within federal agencies