Service years at scale can help repair broken cities, uplift and educate children at risk, and empower communities struggling with poverty. It can unite the most diverse nation in history, binding people of different backgrounds through common cause, deepening their connection to each other and our communities. It can inspire young Americans to serve for a year, and in the process, develop the leaders that our nation needs.
Just imagine the impact if we unleash the energy and ambition of a generation of emerging adults through a service year.
That’s why we’re asking nonprofits, AmeriCorps programs, cities, higher education institutions, companies, policymakers of both parties, and people of all ages to join us, to really work with us, to expand service year opportunities in our communities, throughout our nation, and across the world.
Service Year. A Better You. A Greater Us.
Background and History
In December of 2015, three organizations took the bold step of merging to form Service Year Alliance. We didn’t do it because we had to or because any of the organizations were struggling. We put egos and brands aside, and came together as one organization because it was the right thing to do for our shared mission and vision.
Some of us have been working on this idea for decades; others were newly engaged. After nearly a year of planning, the Franklin Project at The Aspen Institute, Be The Change, Inc.’s ServiceNation, and the Service Year Exchange, incubated by the National Conference on Citizenship — came together to form a new, single organization with far greater efficiency and impact than we could have individually.
While movements are ultimately about building a big tent and unleashing far-reaching passion, they require leadership, a plan, and capabilities that will ensure they achieve goals in pursuit of a larger vision. Service Year Alliance is a unifying and catalytic engine towards that end, with four specific rationales for existence:
- Tackle field-wide needs
- Expand the current foundation of service year programs while developing new models for growth and impact
- Unite the current field and its stakeholders, while attracting diverse new partners
- Keep the focus on our north star: one million service years annually
Service Year Alliance prides itself on being of, by, and for the service field, its stakeholders, and the communities it serves. The strategies, priorities, and capabilities of our four-year strategic plan were informed by historical trends in national service growth, commissioning market research, conducting field surveys, and completing a multi-phased listening tour with hundreds of conversations. Our organization is a reflection of all that we have learned about the greatest challenges and opportunities.
While the idea of national service — federally funded service years — is not new, it has not achieved its full potential. There has been tremendous progress and impact over the years, but we know we can do even better. We have to. It’s what our communities, our country and future generations deserve.