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HHS and National Service Team Up to Increase Volunteering Among Baby Boomers and Older Americans
Atlanta – Recognizing the extraordinary potential for social good among baby boomers
and older Americans, the Corporation for National and Community Service and the
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Administration on Aging
(AoA) yesterday unveiled a multi-year partnership to engage baby boomers and older
adults in addressing the needs of vulnerable populations through volunteer service
HHS Assistant Secretary for Aging Josefina G. Carbonell joined Corporation for National
and Community Service CEO David Eisner in announcing the landmark partnership before
an audience of 1,500 Senior Corps project directors and sponsors attending the National Conference on Volunteering
and Service in Atlanta.
“Volunteers, many from AoA’s national aging services network of state, tribal and
community organizations, play a critical role in helping older Americans remain
at home and in the community, which is what they prefer,”
Carbonell said. “This partnership supports the Bush Administration’s
efforts to modernize long-term care in our country, and it will set the stage for
a major expansion of public and private initiatives that engage older volunteers
and baby boomers in strengthening local community programs, particularly those serving
“Americans over 55 are an untapped resource of extraordinary proportions, and they
can leave an incredible legacy through service to others," said Eisner.
“They bring a lifetime of skills and experience that can be channeled into
tackling some of America’s toughest problems of poverty, illiteracy, health care, and independent living. We’re thrilled
with this new partnership that will fuel innovative and scaleable models for unleashing
the civic power of older Americans to serve our most vulnerable populations."
The partnership is a result of the 2006 reauthorization of the Older Americans Act,
which called for the Administration on Aging and the Corporation to collaborate
on strategies to increase volunteering and civic engagement among older adults. The new initiative builds on previous
efforts between the two federal agencies, including the 2005 White House Conference
on Aging, when delegates adopted a resolution in support of a national strategy
for promoting civic engagement and volunteering for current and future seniors.
The core of the partnership is a grant from the Administration on Aging to the National Council on Aging (NCOA) of $1 million
per year for up to three years. NCOA
will provide subgrants and technical assistance to 24 model programs for engaging
adults over the age of 55 in increasing the capacity of nonprofits to serve vulnerable
populations. Grantees will engage older
adults in service and civic engagement projects aimed at increasing the number and
types of services to frail elders, families of children with special needs, grandparents
raising grandchildren and other vulnerable populations.
To help these 24 organizations manage volunteers and develop sustainable projects,
the Corporation for National and Community Service will make available up to 48
members, two per organization. VISTA’s
are full-time year-long AmeriCorps members with a special focus on capacity building
for organizations that serve low-income people and communities.
The Corporation will also provide research and evaluation resources and services,
as well as help in identifying key partners.
The initiative will include training and evaluation to help the grantees demonstrate
results and be ready for replication upon completion of the grant funding period.
The funding of promising programs is part of a larger effort to help the nonprofit
sector better recognize the value of older volunteers and develop strategies to
engage the coming wave of baby boomers, who are beginning to approach retirement
age and have different expectations for their volunteer experience.
A Corporation study released last March,
Keeping Baby Boomers Volunteering, found that baby boomers want higher-skill
assignments to keep them engaged, and it advised nonprofit organizations to re-imagine
roles for that emerging crop of volunteers.
Boomers also want more flexibility in their assignments, and want to know their
service is having a demonstrable impact.
As part of its five-year Strategic Plan, the Corporation has set a national goal
of engaging an additional 3 million baby boomers in volunteering, up from 25.8 million
in 2005. The Corporation has advanced
this goal on a number of fronts including its grantmaking;
training and technical assistance; technology systems including last year’s
launch of a cutting-edge
Web-based volunteer recruitment service designed by VolunteerMatch;
campaigns to engage more Boomers in service, including the “Get
Involved” campaign launched at the 2005 White House Conference on Aging
and new marketing materials for Senior Corps including new logos and taglines for
RSVP, Foster Grandparents, and Senior Companions shared with Senior Corps leaders at their plenary session yesterday.
Volunteers are the backbone of programs administered under the Older Americans Act
and play a critical role in efforts to modernize long-term care services in communities
across the United States. The Older Americans Act Amendments of 2006 call for greater
coordination and increased focus on volunteerism and civic engagement. For more
information about the U.S. Administration on Aging and the Older Americans Act,
The Corporation for National and Community Service engages more than four million
Americans of all ages and backgrounds in service to meet local needs through its
Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America programs. For more information,
The National Conference on Volunteering and Service, co-convened by the Corporation
for National and Community Service and the Points of Light & Hands On Network
is the world's largest annual gathering of volunteer and service leaders. For more
information, visit www.volunteeringandservice.org.
Memorandum of Understanding
Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other press materials are available at http://www.hhs.gov/news.