Bloomberg’s Volunteerism Push Gets Started

July 30, 2009 Updated: July 31, 2009

NEW YORK—A new volunteer service group, NYC Civic Corps, got marching orders from Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Thursday at City Hall. Hopefully they’re cut out for what sounds like a bold mission ahead.

The mayor is tasking NYC Civic Corps members with helping nonprofits and public agencies dramatically increase the number of volunteers they mobilize, and achieving greater results and have greater impact through a more strategic use of those volunteers. They’re expected to create sustainable volunteer management structures that remain in place after their year-long terms of service end.

“Today we launch the NYC Civic Corps—a group of nearly 200 caring, dynamic people who will lead our efforts to help more nonprofits and public agencies tap more volunteers to produce more results for our neighbors in need,” said Bloomberg, who himself is essentially a volunteer for the city, earning only 1$ a year.

“With the launch of this exciting new initiative, we take another major step forward in our efforts to answer President Obama’s call for a ‘new era of service.’”

All participants of NYC Civic Corps come from the national organization AmeriCorps VISTA. The participants, who have an average age of 26, receive a $1,129 monthly living allowance, health benefits, and educational awards, which can be used towards existing student loans or future education expenses.

“If we want to make the call to service real in the lives of everyday New Yorkers, we need to invest in the capacity of nonprofits to use more volunteers and to use them more strategically and effectively. That’s what the NYC Civic Corps is all about,” said First Deputy Mayor Patti Harris.

NYC Civic Corps, part of a broader plan known as NYC Service, aims to drive volunteer resources to six impacts areas where the mayor has determined New York City’s needs are greatest—strengthening communities, helping neighbors in need, education, health, emergency preparedness and the environment.

NYC Civic Corps members will be dispatched in teams, typically comprised of three members, to 57 public and nonprofit organizations.

The corps members officially hit the ground running in the second week of August.