President George H.W. Bush’s legacy of service honored at the Houston conference on what would have been the President’s 100th birthday

Houston| Jun 19, 2024

Points of Light, a global non-profit founded by former President George H.W. Bush that inspires, equips, and mobilizes millions of people to take action that changes the world, held their annual Points of Light Conference last week – marking the former President’s 100th birthday. The conference, held in Houston from June 11-14, brought together 1,200 attendees from more than 30 countries including nonprofit, government, business, and civic leaders to gain and share the knowledge, resources, and connections needed to galvanize the power of people to create change.

The 2024 Conference was held against the backdrop of a U.S. decline in volunteerism – a decrease that the Conference attendees, Points of Light, and partners nationwide are working tirelessly to solve. In addition to discussing the state of volunteerism, the Conference explored topics ranging from the potential of leveraging AI for good, the state of “civic culture” in the U.S. and around the world, generational differences and motivators, innovative paths to encourage people to volunteer, and the ways that volunteerism is critical to bridging divides within communities and decreasing isolation and loneliness.   

During the Conference, leaders from 20 U.S. nonprofits met to specifically discuss the decline in volunteering in a conversation co-hosted by Points of Light, More Perfect, The George and Barbara Bush Foundation, Starbucks, and UPS. The convening was a first step in developing opportunities to collaborate and devise national strategies for increasing volunteerism in the United States. 

Volunteering isn’t just nice, it’s necessary. Volunteerism has a positive impact on the mental health of those who serve, it meets critical community needs, and it has the power to heal our societies by creating empathy and equity, bridging divides, and increasing meaningful connections,” said Jennifer Sirangelo, President and CEO of Points of Light. “In 2022, volunteerism dropped to its lowest rate in nearly three decades. Together, leaders from throughout the country met at the conference to share insights and implement the solutions we need to ensure communities can thrive by igniting a new spirit of volunteerism.” 

The conference concluded with a session honoring the lasting legacy of service of late President George H.W. Bush, who founded Points of Light while in office. Family members George P. Bush, chair of the Points of Light Board of Directors Neil Bush, and Pierce Bush were joined by former Chief of Staff to President Bush and Points of Light board member, Jean Becker, to spotlight the former president’s vision of a society characterized by compassion, volunteerism, and civic engagement. Sully H.W. Bush, the former President’s service dog, made a special appearance on-stage. June 12, 2024, marked what would have been the late President’s 100th birthday. 

“I think of Points of Light as the soul of America. Volunteers are ordinary people who reach beyond themselves to touch the lives of those in need, bringing hope and opportunity, care and friendship to our communities. These remarkable individuals show us not only what is best in our heritage but what all of us are called to become,” shared Jean Becker, former Chief of Staff, in quoting President George H.W. Bush.

“In its simplest form, what are points of light? It’s when ordinary people claim the problems of their community as their own and say ‘I can help,’” said Gregg Petersmeyer, member of the Points of Light Board of Directors and chair of America’s Promise Alliance.  

Conference speakers included emcee and hip-hop legend Bun B, along with representatives from Delta Airlines, UPS, KPMG, Johnson & Johnson, Southwest Airlines, Peace Corps, Citi, Microsoft Philanthropies, Discover, United Talent Agency, Rice University, AARP, AmeriCorps, Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star, Houston Zoo, Children’s Museum Houston, Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston, America’s VetDogs, National Park Service and more. 

Nearly 35 years ago, President George H.W. Bush founded Points of Light and signed the National and Community Service Act. His vision was for us to work side by side, giving as many people as possible the opportunity to serve. We mark what would have been the President’s 100th birthday and a life distinguished by his duty to serve,” added Sirangelo.

On Friday, June 14th of the conference, Rosie Rios, Chair for America250, announced Points of Light as the volunteering “National Resource Partner” for America250. America250 is the official nonpartisan entity charged by the U.S. Congress with planning the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

A full list of the 2024 Points of Light Conference speakers can be found here, and the agenda here.


Points of Light is a nonpartisan, global nonprofit organization that inspires, equips and mobilizes millions of people to take action that changes the world. Through our work with nonprofits, companies, and social impact leaders, we galvanize volunteers to meet critical needs. As the world’s largest organization dedicated to increasing volunteer service, we engage nearly 4 million volunteers across 38 countries to create healthy, equitable communities where all can thrive. For more information, visit pointsoflight.org.

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