Now Is The Time

Ending hunger, homelessness, and the cycle of heels.

In the United States more than 633,000 people experience homelessness every night.  48.9 million Americans are at risk of hunger - including one in five kids. Nearly 50 million Americans are living in poverty.  Hunger, homelessness, and poverty are devastating for individuals and our communities. This is unacceptable, unjust, and illogical.

We know that effective, commonsense policies like SNAP and EITC lift people out of poverty. We know that Rapid Rehousing and Housing First models reduce homelessness. We know that innovative philanthropic endeavors like Collective Impact and Social Impact Bonds can transform the way government, nonprofits, and local communities work together to tackle our toughest challenges. We know we can band together and create change.

Now Is The Time to get this done.

This site will feature a collection of personal reflections, original ideas, and smart thinking from around the country and the globe on the issues of hunger, homelessness, and poverty.  We'll check in with thought leaders and discuss ways we can create change. We will also highlight ways to leverage two of my favorite things - National Service and the philanthropic sector. 

AmriCorps - Getting Things Done

Working to address complex issues like poverty or the achievement gap often requires spending countless hours in meetings, debating best practices, and evaluating data. The "work" is often getting through the next meeting, bringing the next dollar in the door, or putting out the latest fire. Sometimes you need to crawl through the cobwebs of bureaucracy and process for a reminder of who you are helping and why that data is so important.

Enter AmeriCorps.

For the last 20 years ordinary Americans have become extraordinary heroes by committing to spend a year serving with AmeriCorps. Each of the 70,000+ Americans who commit to a year of intense National Service begin with the pledge

“I am an AmeriCorps member, and I will get things done.” 

And that's exactly what they do.  AmeriCorps members are like Mary Poppins  - they appear at exactly the right time to save the day (and brush aside those cobwebs) with enthusiasm, ideas, relentless drive, hope, ambition, and willingness to get sh*t done.

Today marks the 20th anniversary of AmeriCorps. Since the program launched, more than 900,000 volunteers have delivered more than 1.2 billion hours of service in thousands of communities. I've had the privilege of seeing hundreds of National Service members teach kids to read, empower young people, help families meet their most basic needs, and build the capacity of anti-poverty programs. I get goosebumps thinking about the game-changing work they do during their year of service and beyond. That's the best part. The ethic of service and fierce commitment to justice they develop as AmeriCorps members continues throughout their life. AmeriCorps Alums become leaders and social change agents. They help develop healthier and more compassionate communities. They remind us push through those cobwebs and tackle big social issues with tenacity and determination.

We need more hope. We need more action. We need more AmeriCorps.

900,000 is an impressive number of alum - but what would happen if we expanded that number?  What if each and every young person could choose to do a year of National Service after high school or college? What if service was a right of passage? I believe our schools and communities would be safer, healthier, and more resilient. Imagine - cobwebs busted, kids soaring,families thriving. The power and potential is exponential. The Kennedy Serve America Act promised to grow AmeriCorps, but it hasn't been properly funded. It's time to urge Congress and the President to expand National Service.  Visit ServiceNation to see how you can help.