Volunteer Houston Takes the Stage: Meet Our Points of Light Conference 2024 Co-Hosts

Mar 26, 2024

As we gear up to host the Points of Light Conference 2024 in Houston, we’re looking forward to all the ways this year’s event will be uniquely impactful. The conference is a global celebration of volunteerism, service and the power of people to create meaningful change, from June 11 through 14 at the Marriott Marquis Houston.

At the forefront of this exciting event stands Volunteer Houston, a program of Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston. With five decades of service to its name, Volunteer Houston is ready to welcome attendees while showcasing its vital work connecting volunteers with organizations throughout the Houston area.

We sat down with Martin Cominsky, president and CEO of Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston, and Andrea Shiloh, vice president of volunteerism and civic service and director of the Vic Samuels Center for Volunteerism and Civic Service, to hear about their planning efforts. They shared their insights into why Volunteer Houston chose to co-host this year’s conference, the unique aspects of the 2024 event and how the organization envisions its lasting impact on the community.

Theme: Leading Change Together

Both Martin and Andrea expressed immense excitement at the prospect of co-hosting the Points of Light Conference.

Conference Co-host Martin Cominsky, CEO and president of Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston.

“We’ve long been a leader in volunteerism and civic service,” notes Martin Cominsky. “This conference is a chance to celebrate not only the 50th anniversary of Volunteer Houston, but the 100th anniversary of President George H.W. Bush and the thirtieth anniversary of AmeriCorps.”

Andrea Shiloh elaborates, “Points of Light is a beacon in a world that can be very dark… it’s about collaboration, innovation and transformative change. That transformative change component is going to make the future, not only of our city but the future of our country, so much more solid, so much more certain.”

The conference theme, “Leading Change Together,” perfectly aligns with the mission of both Volunteer Houston and Interfaith Ministries. The organization’s work in Meals on Wheels, refugee resettlement, fostering interfaith relations and promoting volunteerism are all powerful examples of uniting diverse individuals and groups to create positive outcomes.

“There’s no better way in our mind to bring people together of different backgrounds, different faiths, except to work side by side in service,” Martin explains.

Unique Features of the 2024 Conference

Points of Light Conference Co-Host
Conference Co-host Andrea Shiloh, vice president of volunteerism and civic Service as well as the director of the Vic Samuels Center for Volunteerism and Civic Service.

Andrea and Martin highlight several aspects that set the 2024 conference apart:

  • Dynamic Lineup: Attendees can look forward to an impressive range of speakers at the 2024 conference. Along with captivating keynotes, over 70 workshops delve into diverse topics within the civic engagement space, promising to offer valuable insights and actionable strategies for attendees to take home and share with their communities.
  • Discovery Green Food Truck Festival: Wednesday night promises a vibrant celebration at Discovery Green. This event will be filled with entertainment, lively camaraderie and a delicious taste of Houston’s diverse food scene. Get ready to mingle with fellow changemakers and savor the flavors that make Houston a culinary destination.
  • Exploring Houston: Thursday night opens the door to cultural exploration in Houston! Take advantage of free museum visits to immerse yourself in art andhistory. Or opt for discounted theater tickets and experience the city’s thriving arts scene. This is the perfect opportunity to discover the hidden gems and cultural richness that Houston has to offer.
  • Collaboration Beyond the Conference: The connections and collaborations forged at the Points of Light Conference are designed to have a lasting impact. This convening isn’t just about the days spent in Houston; it’s about the networks formed and the ripple effects of positive change that extend far beyond the conference halls.

Both Martin and Andrea envision the conference having a lasting impact on Houston and fostering connections that extend beyond the event itself.

“I certainly believe it’s an opportunity for us to deepen existing relationships and build new ones,” says Andrea.

Martin adds, “We see it as a leveraging opportunity to bring people from around the world to see the good here, but also for Houstonians to see the global interest in this topic and the importance of this work in our own city.”

Tips for Attendees

To make the most of the conference experience, Andrea and Martin offer these essential tips:

  • Network, Network, Network: Use the forthcoming conference app and actively engage with fellow attendees from different communities and backgrounds.
  • Balance Learning Opportunities: Take advantage of both structured workshops and informal networking events throughout the conference.
  • Bring a Sweater: Yes, Houston is hot in the summer, but most venues are air conditioned. Things can get chilly indoors, so bring a layer!

Mark Your Calendar

As Volunteer Houston celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2024, Andrea proudly describes their work: “It’s about making sure that when all is said and done, those who have a purpose and passion have an opportunity to do that in a way that is meaningful and impactful to them.”

The Points of Light Conference is your chance to cultivate that meaning and impact in your own sphere. To register or find out more information, visit the 2024 Points of Light Conference page. Stay tuned for more updates on the exciting events and initiatives planned for the 2024 Points of Light Conference, co-hosted by the incredible team at Volunteer Houston.

Thanks to our presenting sponsor, UPS; platinum sponsor, Delta Airlines; silver sponsors, AARP Foundation, Allstate and Lowe’s; our bronze sponsor, GM; and supporters Altria and Liberty Mutual Insurance. Learn the value of partnering with Points of Light at the 2024 Points of Light Conference and find out how you can join the movement.

Points of Light

We are champions of civic engagement with a mission to inspire, equip and mobilize people to take action that changes the world.