January 1987

Community advocates found New York Cares.

January 1989

President George H.W. Bush’s inaugural address invokes the vision of a “thousand points of light,” and invites the nation to take action through service to their fellow citizens.

January 1990

President Bush establishes the Daily Point of Light Award for individuals making a difference. During his administration, President Bush formally recognizes more than 1,000 volunteers as “points of light.” He advocates that “points of light” demonstrate how “a neighbor can help a neighbor.” The award is now administered by Points of Light.

May 1990

Marian L. Heard named founding president and chief executive officer of the Points of Light Foundation.

May 1990

In response to President Bush’s call to action, Points of Light Foundation is created as an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization to encourage and empower the spirit of service. The new nonprofit extends President Bush’s vision, understanding that “what government alone can do is limited, but the potential of the American people knows no limits.”

January 1991

The Points of Light Foundation merges with the National Volunteer Center Network.

February 1992

Hands On Atlanta, New York Cares and Greater DC Cares found CityCares (later named HandsOn Network) as an umbrella organization to provide a national network for sharing resources.

January 1993

President Bill Clinton signs the National and Community Service Trust Act, which initiates the founding of AmeriCorps, a national service program that engages Americans in voluntary action to address the country’s most critical issues.

January 1994

The Corporation for National and Community Service officially begins operation. CNCS is a federal agency that engages millions of Americans in service through Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America.

June 1997

Presidents unite and challenge the nation to think anew at The Presidents’ Summit for America’s Future. Presidents Bush, Clinton, Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford, and First Lady Nancy Reagan, convene to discuss the nation’s pressing social issues and discuss about their role in meeting the needs of the country and world through voluntary action.

January 2001

The United Nations proclaims the Year of the Volunteer. Points of Light Foundation joins nearly 1,000 national and international partners participating in the year of service and engages its large network of individuals, groups and corporate partners in service to others.

January 2002

President George W. Bush creates USA Freedom Corps in his 2002 State of the Union address to build on the countless acts of service, sacrifice and generosity that followed Sept. 11, 2001.

January 2004

CityCares changes its name to HandsOn Network. The name change recognizes the development of HandsOn Network into an international organization.

January 2005

AmeriCorps Alums, a network of national service alumni with more than half a million national service members, joins HandsOn Network. AmeriCorps Alums connects, equips and engages national service alumni to foster leadership, drive and potential.

February 2005

HandsOn Network Corporate Service Council is established with 29 founding corporate leaders of Fortune 500 companies. The council has grown to include more than 90 companies representing our nation’s most powerful businesses and industries.

September 2005

Volunteers mobilize after Hurricane Katrina to assist with disaster relief and recovery. After Hurricane Katrina, Presidents George H.W. Bush, Clinton and George W. Bush engage Americans in disaster recovery. To meet the needs of those impacted by the Gulf Coast disaster, HandsOn Network establishes an action center in Biloxi, Mississippi, called HandsOn Gulf Coast (now Hands On Mississippi). Months later, HandsOn Network established HandsOn New Orleans to assist in the recovery efforts.

January 2007

Points of Light Foundation and HandsOn Network merge to become Points of Light, creating the largest volunteer management and civic engagement organization in the nation.

January 2008

ServiceNation, an unprecedented coalition of service and volunteer leadership to inspire a new era of voluntary citizen service in America, launches. Points of Light joined organizing committee members including Be the Change Inc., City Year and Civic Enterprises.

March 2009

President Barack Obama signs the historic Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act heralding in the next phase of the nation’s renewed call to service.

June 2009

President Obama announces United We Serve campaign to engage more Americans in service. Members of President Obama’s administration participate in service projects and advocate service as a solution to our nation’s most pressing issues.

November 2009

Points of Light hosts Presidential Forum on Service, uniting President Obama and President George H.W. Bush. The forum recognizes the 20th anniversary of President Bush’s invocation of a thousand points of light and celebrates the volunteer sector’s tremendous gains during the past two decades under Points of Light’s leadership.

January 2010

Points of Light launches generationOn, a new enterprise focused on igniting the power of all kids to create meaningful change in the world. Through generationOn, Points of Light engages the next generation of volunteers to make their mark on the world through voluntary action.

January 2010

The world rallies to assist Haiti following a deadly earthquake. President Clinton and President George W. Bush unite in a bipartisan effort to engage Americans in service and raise funds for Haiti, asking the nation to partner with them to provide compassionate assistance to the impoverished nation.

February 2011

President George H.W. Bush, a catalyst in the creation and expansion of Points of Light, is honored by President Obama with a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

March 2011

The Points of Light Tribute honors President George H.W. Bush. On March 21, 2011, Points of Light hosts “All Together Now: A Celebration of Service,” a historic, once-in-a-lifetime tribute to President and Mrs. George H.W. Bush for their leadership in founding and advancing the modern day service movement. The event celebrates the power of voluntary action and its essential role in solving our national challenges while calling on all Americans to find ways to give back.

January 2012

Points of Light continues its mission with a global focus to redefine volunteerism and civic engagement for the 21st century by enabling people to use their time, talent, voice and money to make a positive impact.

January 2013

Release of Five-Year Reflections on the Merger of Points of Light Foundation and HandsOn Network.

July 2013

President Barack Obama and President George H.W. Bush joined dozens of service leaders from throughout the country at a White House ceremony on July 15, 2013, to present the 5,000th Daily Point of Light Award to Floyd Hammer and Kathy Hamilton of Union, Iowa.

July 2013

Michelle Nunn announced on July 23, 2013, that she was stepping down from her job as CEO of Points of Light to run for the U.S. Senate from Georgia. Neil Bush, chair of the Points of Light board of directors, announced the same day that the board appointed Tracy Hoover as Points of Light’s president. Hoover had previously served as the organization’s chief of staff and chief operating officer.

February 2015

On Feb. 11, 2015, Points of Light Board Chair Neil Bush announced Tracy Hoover, who had served as Points of Light’s president for the previous 18 months, as the organization’s new chief executive officer. He also announced that former CEO Michelle Nunn – who was on a leave of absence to run for U.S. Senate – would return to the organization as a member of its board.

June 2015

Points of Light celebrated 25 years – marking the milestone with the 2015 Conference on Volunteering and Service, which took place in Houston. The event brought together 4,000 participants from more than 50 countries and was a wonderful and powerful convergence of experts, innovators and influencers from the nonprofit, business and government sectors. President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush joined the celebration, participating in a powerful prayer service and a Read Across the Globe marathon.

July 2017

The Points of Light board of directors appointed Natalye Paquin to the role of president and CEO. In the announcement, board chairman Neil Bush said, “We are pleased to welcome Natalye Paquin as the new CEO of Points of Light. She brings extensive experience in nonprofit leadership, education and civil rights to the role, as well as a skilled hand at working with large networks and volunteer organizations – all key to the Points of Light mission. Her undisputed passion for good, demonstrated leadership skills and commitment to action make her an exceptional choice to lead and build on the legacy of Points of Light as an organization that gets things done.”

October 2017

In an historic moment that included all five former U.S. presidents, Points of Light recognized five individuals for their volunteer efforts during a series of hurricanes along the Gulf Coast. Points of Light Chairman Neil Bush along with President and CEO Natalye Paquin presented five Daily Point of Light Awards during the “Deep From the Heart: The One America Appeal” benefit concert. They were joined on stage by Presidents, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter.