Proposes Opportunities for 1 million young & 500,000 older Americans in National Service Each Year
WASHINGTON – Today, Convergence joined More Perfect and nine other leading organizations in the national service, volunteering and bridge-building communities to announce Ask and All: A Plan to Expand National Service & Volunteering, a plan to create within a decade a rite of passage, common expectation, and common opportunity for more than 1 million young Americans as they come of age and 500,000 older Americans as they seek an “encore career” to perform a year of national service.
Ten organizations — America’s Service Commissions, CoGenerate, Convergence, Listen First Project, Points of Light, Service Year Alliance, The Corps Network, National Peace Corps Association, Voices for National Service, and YouthBuild USA — have come together for the first time to advance More Perfect’s Democracy Goal 2: Expanding National Service and Volunteering. They stand united behind this roadmap for governments at the national, state, and local levels, civil society, philanthropy, and the private sector to renew and expand national service and volunteering to build bridges across politics, backgrounds, faiths, races, and regions of the country and enable more Americans to tackle public problems together.
“My service in the U.S. Army taught me the value of working side-by-side in a common mission with Americans who had different perspectives and beliefs,” said Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, a four-star general with 34 years of service to the nation and Co-Chair of More Perfect. “America needs the big idea of civilian national service now more than ever to rebuild trust in each other and to cultivate the leaders our country needs to solve our toughest challenges together.”
Ask and All: A Plan to Expand National Service & Volunteering comes at a critical moment to invest in service opportunities to strengthen our democracy and as we commemorate the milestones of several paramount civilian service programs:
- This year marks the 90th anniversary of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), the largest experiment in civilian national service in our nation’s history that put 3 million young unemployed men into work on public lands to conserve our nation’s resources and prevent families from starving during the Great Depression. They planted 1 billion trees, built 800 fire towers, and conserved 84 million acres of land, equivalent to the acreage of our National Park System today. Progress on Ask and All: A Plan to Expand National Service & Volunteering is already being made, with the recent announcement of a modern version of the CCC — the American Climate Corps.
- This year is also the 30th anniversary of AmeriCorps that has put 1.2 million Americans to work teaching in our schools, building homes for the vulnerable, feeding families in need, and more.
- It is also the 62nd anniversary of the Peace Corps, that has deployed more than 240,000 Americans to 139 countries abroad that has strengthened understanding among peoples of different nations and Americans, addressed public challenges, strengthened our national security, and informed our foreign policy with generations entering public service at home.
- Next year, the nation will celebrate the 60th anniversary of Volunteers in Service to America (now called AmeriCorps VISTA) to help wage the war on poverty. We also celebrate Senior Corps programs, YouthBuild to engage opportunity youth to improve their lives and communities, Points of Light for volunteering, post-9/11 Freedom Corps programs that expanded existing programs to some of their highest levels and created new programs for disaster preparedness and response, and the work to put bridge-building at the center of national service and volunteering programs.
“Since our country’s founding, national service and volunteering have been the golden threads of our democracy,” said John Bridgeland, Co-Chair and CEO of More Perfect. “This unprecedented partnership leverages the expertise of ten organizations long-committed to national service and positions us to strengthen the investment, experience, and impact of service years together, and in the process, help heal a divided nation.”
Convergence is the leading organization bridging divides to solve critical issues through collaborative problem-solving across ideological, political, and cultural lines. For more than a decade, Convergence has brought together leaders, doers, and experts—many who never thought they could talk to one another—to build trusting relationships, identify breakthrough solutions, and form unlikely alliances for constructive change on seemingly intractable issues. Our process is improving the lives of Americans and strengthening democracy for a more resilient and collaborative future. For more information, visit convergencepolicy.org.
About More Perfect
More Perfect is a national campaign to marshal energy, visibility, resources and results around a common, nonpartisan vision for a more effective and enduring democracy, grounded in five foundational Democracy Goals. More Perfect is an alliance of 14 Presidential Centers, National Archives Foundation, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Karsh Institute of Democracy at the University of Virginia, and more than 100 partners to help protect and renew our democracy as we approach the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in 2026 and beyond.