More than two decades later, Obama is continuing the call to action. He honored Bush for his efforts to increase volunteerism during his presidency.
“Volunteerism has gone from something some people do some of the time to something lots of people do as a regular part of their lives,” Obama said.
Last year 64.3 million Americans gave 8 billion volunteer hours through an organization, according to the Corporation for National and Community Service. Many businesses joined in the campaign, shifting from scattershot cash donations to strategic volunteer partnerships with nonprofits. Elite business school programs across the country have created classes and departments to teach charity management. Social media provides and endless array of volunteer opportunities for people to give.
In the District 27.2 percent of residents volunteer, ranking it 26th among the 50 states, according to one survey. Here’s a sample of local businesses, individuals and others that have found innovative ways to tackle social problems by giving their time.
At the time Bush gave his inaugural speech, most businesses focused on being good citizens by donating cash to charity groups. Now, corporate philanthropy is often aligned with the business’s mission and “not just doing physical service, but using their accounting, legal and other skills to change nonprofits and efforts for community building,” said Michelle Nunn, Points of Light chief executive.
In the Washington region, most major corporations have strategic community outreach programs. Companies such as
, FedEx and Ernst & Young organize days of service where thousands of employees are dispatched in the community to do projects such as mentoring high school students. Capital One funded the opening of a personal finance center, called Finance Park, and sends its employees to teach children financial literacy.
Booz Allen Hamilton
has built a comprehensive internal database where employees can search for skills-based volunteer opportunities at the 700 nonprofits in its network. IBM has decided to give more in pro bono services than in cash grants. One of its programs include employees taking a month-long leave of absence to teach IT, legal and marketing skills in Third World countries. Creative Computing Solutions’ employees have now given more than 1,000 volunteer hours since 2009.