The 2016 Conference on Volunteering and Service welcomed nearly 3,000 changemakers from 37 countries including the U.S., representing the nonprofit, government, and business sectors. During an amazing three days together, participants were inspired by voices like Lonnie Ali. We learned from social entrepreneurs like 13-year old Asia Newson and witnessed the world's biggest international fireworks display. We announced this year's Civic 50, recognizing the country's most civic-minded companies. We packed 5,000 backpacks for Detroit schoolchildren. And we heard from extraordinary actors and athletes, best-selling authors, and award-winning musicians.
Detroit proved to be fertile ground for sharing ideas, challenging ourselves and each other, and celebrating together. Read the highlights from 2016 Detroit »
Participants included inspiration leaders from the nonprofit sector making Service Unites so powerful. Special thanks to title sponsors The UPS Foundation and JPMorgan Chase - along with General Motors, Disney, the PepsiCo Foundation, Target, Bank of America, the Bob Woodruff Foundation, the Charles Mott Foundation, Corporation for National and Community Service, and Verified Volunteers. We also owe a very special thanks to our Detroit Hometown Host Committee.
Chairman, Points of Light
CEO, Points of Light
Chairman and CEO, UPS
President & CEO, Skillman Foundation
Co-Owner, Slows Bar BQ & Ponyride
President, Detriot Interfaith Outreach Network
Mayor, City of Detroit
Actor, Recording & Performance Artist
Actor, Author & Philanthropist
Former NFL Linebacker
CEO, Focus: HOPE
President/CEO, Muhammad Ali Center
President, Jordan Brand, a Division of Nike, Inc.
Co-Founder & CEO, Super Business Girl
Detroit's Youngest Entrepreneur
Executive Director & Co-Founder, Our Cities
Executive Director, Teach For America St. Louis
Director, General Motors
President, General Motors Foundation
Founder & CEO, The Empowerment Plan
Scholar, Philanthropist & Actress
White House Champion of Change for World Refugees
Special Assistant to the President, My Brother's Keeper at The White House
CEO, The Corporation for National and Community Service
Vice President, Relationship Manager, JPMorgan Chase Foundation
Founder, Make Sense
The 2015 Conference on Volunteering and Service, which took place in Houston Oct. 19-21, hosted 4,000 participants from over 50 countries and was a wonderful and powerful convergence of experts, innovators and influencers from the nonprofit, business and government sectors.
The highlights were many and the diversity of expertise and perspectives created a rich environment for learning and sharing. Participants included inspirational leaders from the nonprofit sector like Naila Bolus (Jumpstart), Anna Maria Chávez (Girl Scouts), and Michelle Nunn (CARE); extraordinary corporate leaders like David Abney (UPS), Cliff Burrows (Starbucks), Michael Groff (Toyota Financial Services), Kerry Sullivan (Bank of America), Mikaila Ulmer (11-year old CEO of Bee Sweet Lemonade), and Dick Williams (Shell); and public officials like Congressman Joaquin Castro and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi; chiefs of staff from three presidential administrations; and volunteer managers from hundreds of nonprofit organizations who wake up every day thinking about how to engage more volunteers and make a bigger difference in the world.
As we celebrated 25 years, we were honored to have President George H. W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush with us each day - from a powerful interfaith prayer service on Sunday to tweeting during Wednesday's closing celebration.
And it was great to spend time with a phenomenal group of artists, innovators and activists - including Grammy Award-winning poet J. Ivy, world-renowned chef José Andrés, Pulitzer-prize winning author Jon Meacham, musician and activist Kenna, Sugarland's Kristian Bush and country music artist and former Navy SEAL Pete Scobell.
Across a multitude of forums, workshops, and hallway conversations, we exchanged ideas and tools, celebrated success and challenged what's possible, imagined and innovated and inspired. We laughed, we sang, some of us rode a mechanical bull, and we set our sights on breaking a Guinness World Record for the number of children read to by an adult in a single day. In case you missed it, you can check out the full compendium of videos and session highlights on this page.
View the 2015 Conference video playlist.
Mayor, City of Houston
Chairman, Points of Light
CEO, Points of Light
Chairman and CEO, UPS
Chief Service Officer, CaliforniaVolunteers
President, Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation
President & CEO, Jumpstart
President, The Travis Manion Foundation
Group President, U.S. and Americas, Starbucks
Grammy Award-winning founder, Sugarland
Senior Pastor, Windsor Village United Methodist Church
Executive Producer, 41ON41
Urban Revitalization Strategist, Peabody Award-winning Broadcaster
CEO, The Case Foundation
U.S. House of Representatives, Texas' 20th District
CEO, Girl Scouts of the USA
President & CEO, Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston
President, Voices for National Service
President & CEO, Edelman
President & CEO, Repair the World
CEO, Innovate at Work
President, University of Houston - Downtown
Director of Business Partnerships and Development, High School Inc.
Office of the Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff
President & CEO, Toyota Financial Services USA
CEO, Sterling Talent Solutions
CEO, 100 Men Reading 100
Pastor, Bethel Missionary Baptist Church
Executive Director, Get In Chicago
Grammy Award-winning Poet/Author/Actor
Award-winning Journalist, Communications Specialist, Thought Leader
SVP, American Red Cross
Author, "Soul of a Citizen"
Principal, Marvin Strategies
Executive Director, The Mission Continues
Chairman, McLarty Associates
CEO, Chicago Cares
Director, Civic Creatives
President & CEO, CARE USA
Senior Pastor, Lakewood Church
U.S. House of Representatives, California's 12th District
Director, Veteran Outreach, BP America
Chief Storytelling Officer & Co-founder, Free Range Studios
Chief Service Officer, National Conference on Citizenship
Co-founder & Director, iVolunteer
Former Navy SEAL, Country Music Artist
CEO, Corporation for National and Community Service
President, The Bank of America Charitable Foundation
Former Governor of New Hampshire, Chief of Staff for President George H. W. Bush
Executive Director, MIFUMI
President, YouthBuild USA
Founder, BeeSweet Lemonade
President, Shell WindEnergy
Global Moderator, Metropolitan Community Churches
Musician and Activist
Nearly 5,000 people crossed political, racial, religious, age and geographic boundaries to come together in a powerful way during the 2013 Conference on Volunteering and Service. Washington D.C. was the perfect background for attendees, political leaders, businesses, activists and service leaders to demonstrate our theme: Service Unites.
We're so grateful to title sponsor Chase - along with Target, Capital One, Disney, Gannett and UPS - for supporting the largest convening of volunteer, national service and civic leaders in the world and for helping to make it a huge success.
We hope you'll agree that we had a lot of great moments - from conservative political strategist Karl Rove dancing with liberal strategist Donna Brazile on the first day of Conference, to Governor Chris Christie's inspiring tribute to the volunteers from around the country and around the world who came - and keep on coming - to help New Jersey recover from Hurricane Sandy.
Other highlights at this year's event include:
The 2012 National Conference on Volunteering and Service, which took place in Chicago June 18-20, provided more than 5,000 citizen leaders with the opportunity to learn, connect and be inspired through more than 100 plenary sessions, workshops, special events, service projects and more. Convened by Points of Light, the Conference is the leading volunteer sector gathering, providing service-minded citizens with an environment to share and cultivate new ideas, discuss challenges and work together to create solutions through the power of people.
Five-thousand Conference attendees filled the opening plenary, "A New Generation of Service," returning to the city that hosted the first National Conference on Volunteering and Service in 1992. President Barack Obama highlighted the great American tradition of service shining in each and every service leader in the room and encouraged all to keep striving to create change. Former first lady Barbara Bush was joined by her grandchildren, Pierce Bush and Lauren Bush Lauren, along with other dignitaries including Dr. Jill Biden and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who stressed that it is impossible for government to reach its goals without the power of service. Actor and SixDegrees.org founder Kevin Bacon added star power to the lineup of presenters including U.S. Army veteran J.R. Martinez, MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry and Points of Light Chairman Neil Bush.
Other highlights included Target's "Solving America's Education Crisis" plenary with Soledad O'Brien, Arne Duncan and Alberto Carvalho; Chase's "Seeds for Change" service program that included four community garden builds; Billion + Change's "Inspiring Change through Skills Based Service"; "Exploring Service for Military Members and Families" with ITT Exelis, youth making their mark, HandsOn Action Center storytelling, awards presentations and so much more.
Thousands of thought leaders, social entrepreneurs and change makers gathered in New Orleans for the 2011 National Conference on Volunteering and Service. Attendees were transformed; inspired, equipped for greater impact and mobilized by new tools and resources.
We were joined by a stellar lineup of speakers, award winners and other special invited guests including civil rights activist Ruby bridges, media personalities Deborah Roberts and Soledad O'Brien, comedian John Oliver, political commentators James Carville and Mary Matalin, and many others. Like our attendees, they represented a wide variety of sectors, backgrounds and perspectives on service.
The 2011 National Conference on Volunteering and Service honored the individuals, organizations and programs that are proving that service solves problems. Now more than ever, people are at the heart of community change and must champion efforts in their communities to solve problems. Our conference theme "Champions of Service" recognizes that everyone can be a champion in their community by mobilizing the energy, ingenuity and compassion of citizens to lead the way for a better future.
The 2010 National Conference on Volunteering and Service was an overwhelming success, with more than 5,000 participants and an incredible group of presenters from the nonprofit, corporate and government sectors.
The 2009 National Conference on Volunteering and Service, June 22 - 24, 2009 in San Francisco, California, was a demonstration of civic. energy. generation.
The 2009 conference far exceeded attendance goals and inspired all, thanks to the outstanding support of sponsors. The co-convening organizations especially thank the California Host Committee and Title Sponsor Target, along with Civic Energy Sponsor Shinnyo-en Foundation and Presenting Sponsors the Entertainment Industry Foundation, The Home Depot Foundation and UPS.
The star-studded opening plenary session included a keynote address by First Lady Michelle Obama, as well as comments by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, First Lady Maria Shriver, Matthew McConaughey, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Arianna Huffington and an inspirational performance from Jon Bon Jovi. Clifford the Big Red Dog also made an appearance, and actress Kerry Washington representing the L'Oreal Paris Women of Worth Awards program spoke during pre-show festivities. Thanks to BusinessBoomer, the opening general session and other significant moments were streamed live on the Internet for the world to see and be inspired.
Monday, June 22, 4:30 PM - 6:30 PM
Sponsored by Shinnyo-en Foundation
First Lady Michelle Obama kicked off the opening plenary session with a keynote address, confirming the Presidential Administration's commitment to service and announcing the United We Serve initiative. Obama explained that United We Serve is a sustained effort to expand the size and impact of volunteer efforts in America. United We Serve kicked off at the conference and runs for 81 days through a new National Day of Service and Remembrance on September 11. She also announced an initiative of the Entertainment Industry Foundation: during the week of October 19, plots and themes on ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC television programming will center on volunteering to inspire Americans to serve.
Other highlights from the opening plenary of the conference include comments by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, First Lady Maria Shriver, Matthew McConaughey, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Arianna Huffington and an inspirational performance from Jon Bon Jovi. Clifford the Big Red Dog also made an appearance, and actress Kerry Washington representing the L'Oreal Paris Women of Worth Awards program spoke during pre-show festivities. Thanks to BusinessBoomer, the opening general session and other significant moments were streamed live on the Internet for the world to see and be inspired.
"This is the key point I want to make today — that this new Administration doesn't view service as separate from our national priorities, or in addition to our national priorities — we see it as the key to achieving our national priorities. We believe that the only way to build that new foundation for our economy is to establish a new role for service in this country."
— First Lady Michelle Obama
HandsOn Network introduced Get HandsOn, the network's strategic response to the President's call to service and United We Serve. Through the initiative, HandsOn Network aims to recruit and mobilize a corps of 500,000 volunteer leaders and engage people of all generations in two million impact-driven projects. The goals of the campaign are to reduce the drop-out rate by leveraging the power of service in every school, reduce the carbon footprint though neighborhood-based conservation and restoration projects; and support economic security for families by facilitating access to resources and dollars.
Wednesday, June 24, 3:30 PM - 5:30 PM
Sponsored by UPS
Conference attendees were treated to a panel moderated by David Gergen, professor of Public Service and Director of the Center for Public Leadership, Harvard Kennedy School, and CNN Senior Political Analyst, during the closing plenary session. Panelists Megan Smith, Vice President New Business Development, Google; Sonal Shah, Director of the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation, The White House; Dr. Robert Ross, President and CEO of The California Endowment; and Sean Parker, the Founding President of Facebook, engaged in a lively dialogue. Additionally, environmentalist, businessman and author Paul Hawken shared his predictions about the future of the environmental and social justice movements. The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus provided entertainment, and Karen Baker, Secretary of Service and Volunteering for the State of California; Harumitsu Inouye, CEO of Shinnyo-en Foundation; Kelly Cafarelli of The Home Depot Foundation; and Andrew Plepler, Foundation President, Bank of America, made remarks. Nicola Goren and Michelle Nunn provided closing commentary for the conference and shared the exciting announcement of New York City as the location for the 2010 conference.
Points of Light Institute was also excited to announce a late-breaking partnership at the conference that will enable HandsOn Network to mobilize for United We Serve at a tremendous scale. With their experiences, resources and online learning platform, University of Phoenix will partner with HandsOn Network to transform the capacity of people to take action and self-organize during United We Serve and beyond. As the premiere partner of HandsOn University, University of Phoenix will sponsor the first-ever Get HandsOn Summit in November 2009, an event that will involve volunteer leaders from across the country.
Immersion learning sessions offered conference attendees the opportunity to venture into San Francisco for first-hand service learning experiences in a city familiar with innovation. Participants traveled to venues including Golden Gate National Park, Glide Memorial United Methodist Church and Goodwill Industries to explore topics such as integrating people of all generations and backgrounds in volunteerism, leveraging social media and best practices in aligning with national brands.
Before the conference even began, nearly 300 volunteers collaborated with the local community, First Lady Michelle Obama and California's First Lady Maria Shriver to re-build the playground of Bret Harte Elementary School in San Francisco. The project, sponsored by CaliforniaVolunteers, honored the life and legacy of Cesar E. Chavez. It was Shriver's 31st playground build in the state of California, and the finished project will be the nation's first fully intergenerational playground, providing a space for people of all ages to come together and play. In addition to play equipment, the completed outdoor area will include a community garden, a greenhouse project, an outdoor classroom and a mural of Cesar Chavez. Chavez's granddaughter also addressed the crowd to honor her grandfather's legacy.
Following the opening plenary, attendees headed to Fort Mason for "Cheers to YOU!," a kick-off celebration sponsored by Target. Attendees were treated to performances by eight-time Grammy award-winning artist Chaka Khan and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, acclaimed international ambassadors of American culture, while enjoying great food and a chance to network with new friends.
For the first time in the history of the National Conference on Volunteering and Service, attendees had the privilege of attending a film festival as part of the conference program. The Way We Get By and American Idealist: The Story of Sergeant Shriver, two award-winning, service-oriented films, were screened during the civic. energy. generation. Film Festival. As a surprise for attendees, Jerry Mundy, a volunteer featured in The Way We Get By, and producer Gita Pullapilly greeted guests following the screening.
The exhibit hall is an important, interactive arm of the conference that brings attendees together with exhibiting organizations to unite for a cause, to network for progress, to learn and to exchange knowledge of their own areas of the service sector.
The 2009 exhibit hall, "The Cisco Energy Exchange," included:
The 2008 National Conference on Volunteering and Service was a major success as more than 4,500 change-makers came together in Atlanta to explore ways to expand the ranks and effectiveness of volunteers across the United States. During the three-day conference, attendees shared best practices, connected with peers, and learned the latest information on volunteer management and civic engagement. With 175 workshops, six immersion-learning sessions, several special events, a large interactive exhibit hall, and two community "hands on" service projects, there was something for everyone at conference!
The theme of the 2008 conference, "The Urgency of Now," served as an ever-present reminder of the need for bold civic action. With energy and enthusiasm, attendees learned that "now" is a time of big challenges for our nation and our world. With these challenges comes a time of profound opportunity. With growing recognition from Congress, the campaign trail, and corporate America, it is clear that service and volunteering are the keys to tackling our nation’s toughest problems. Among the many highlights of the 2008 Conference:
The 2008 plenary sessions featured inspirational remarks from a wide range of speakers, including Congressman John Lewis, former President Jimmy Carter, Senator Sam Nunn, Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, USA Freedom Corps Director Henry Lozano, Corporation for National and Community Service CEO David Eisner and Board Chair Stephen Goldsmith, Points of Light Institute CEO Michelle Nunn and Board Chair Neil Bush, Peace Corps Director Ron Tschetter, corporate CEOs, and many others.
New this year, “Immersion Learning Sessions” offered attendees the opportunity to go into the local community, roll up their sleeves, and explore issues in an intensive way alongside local leaders and topic experts. Six different sessions were offered, with several taking place at historic sites around Atlanta, including the New Ebenezer Baptist Church, the Carter Center, and Spelman University. The 2008 sessions focused on current topics, including:
Feedback from attendees was very positive, with most feeling that these sessions greatly enhanced the Conference experience.
In addition to the workshops and plenary sessions, Conference attendees in 2008 had a chance to kick up their heels and get a real taste of Southern hospitality. Following the opening plenary at the Georgia World Congress Center, the Celebrate Now! Festival, hosted by Target, had everyone on their feet dancing to the sounds of the Atlanta Drum Line, dueling pianos and DJ’s, and an amazing jam session with local Atlanta bands. Just down the street, the fun continued at a Welcome Reception hosted by Delta Air Lines at the Georgia Aquarium. The Business and Funders Reception at the New World of Coca-Cola, presented by KPMG and The Coca-Cola Company, also gave visitors a refreshing taste of Atlanta.
After much anticipation, the new brand identity and structure of the Points of Light Institute were unveiled. The dynamic new brand builds on the equity of both the Points of Light Institute and the former Points of Light Foundation and positions the network firmly at the forefront of the movement towards civic engagement in America and around the world. The Conference provided an opportunity for more than 200 Points of Light Institute Action Centers to come together for the first time since the 2007 merger to discuss membership integration, fundraising, strategic planning, and other ideas for launching the new brand in local communities.
For the first time since 2002—and for the first time ever as part of the National Conference—all 1,500 Senior Corps project directors met as a whole. Highlights including the announcement of a new partnership with the Administration on Aging, a Town Hall discussion, and the unveiling of brand new marketing materials. AmeriCorps program directors and State Commission executive directors and staff also gathered at the Conference and at pre-Conference sessions to discuss issues of particular interest to AmeriCorps grantees.
More than 400 corporate partners and key business leaders demonstrated the positive benefits of marrying social responsibility with business goals, proving that pro-bono service improves their communities and strengthens their bottom line. CEOs of major corporations—including Accenture, Booz Allen Hamilton, Ben & Jerry’s, ChoicePoint, and Manning Selvage & Lee—gathered for a CEO Roundtable to discuss the importance of inspired corporate leadership around civic engagement. Moderated by CNBC’s Trish Regan, the “CSR Now!” roundtable set the tone for one of the most robust business tracks in conference history. In addition, attendees were exposed to a variety of workshops and forums, including an in-depth conversation hosted by Jean Case, Chair of the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation, on “The Evolution of Corporate Engagement.”
At plenary sessions and at smaller group settings throughout the Conference, a number of awards were presented to individuals, nonprofit organizations, and corporate partners who exemplified excellence in their respective areas of volunteering.
National service was the topic of a standing-room-only panel discussion led by former Secretary of Defense William Cohen and former Georgia Senator Sam Nunn. The session was part of a series of “dialogues” on important issues they are conducting across the country under the auspices of the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Gilman Foundation. After opening remarks by Corporation CEO David Eisner, the panelists, including Points of Light Institute CEO Michelle Nunn, City Year co-founder Alan Khazei, and author Westley Moore, candidly and provocatively discussed how public policy can be used to achieve a new threshold of civic and national service. Highlights of the discussion also were presented by Senator Nunn at the Closing Plenary.
Conference-goers proved that they can walk the walk by participating as volunteers for two local Atlanta service projects. Over 100 attendees braved the Atlanta heat to provide much-needed assistance with painting, landscaping, and general building repairs at the Samaritan House of Atlanta, which helps the homeless, and the KIPP WAYS Academy, which offers college preparatory services to low-income youth.
Throughout Conference, the positive impact of Generation X, Y and Millennials was on display. In addition to workshops and learning sessions geared to younger audiences, the Conference hosted the first Youth Leadership Academy, which provided a framework to empower young leaders by committing to annual service and the completion of a project.
Sporting a new high-tech look and feel, this year’s exhibit hall, called “The Exchange,” provided both a showcase for 75 exhibitors and a forum to share ideas to drive forward the national volunteer movement. Attendees were able to check their e-mail at the IBM Cyber Café, explore the new brand of Points of Light Institute and Points of Light Institute, and learn more about national service programs and resources at the Corporation for National and Community Service booth. The Exchange also boasted the first “Walk of Fame”—which showcased on video the Conference award winners within a mini theatrical hallway—as well as the Now! Network TV, an in-house network featuring interviews with attendees, volunteer stories, and more.
The 2008 Conference could not have taken place without the strong support of our corporate sponsors, led by Presenting Sponsors Delta Air Lines, The Home Depot Foundation, Target, and UPS. Other sponsors included Accenture, AGL Resources, Altria Group, Cartoon Network & Turner Broadcasting System, Chrysler Foundation, The Coca-Cola Company, The Walt Disney Company, Georgia Natural Gas, IBM, ING Americas, InterContinental Hotels Group, Kaiser Permanente, KPMG, L'Oréal Paris, Macy's, State Street Corporation, and WaMu. Our corporate sponsors were also featured in several Wall Street Journal ads that ran in the Money & Investing section on April 25, May 9 and May 30.