Message from Mayor Michael A. Nutter
Dear Fellow Citizens,
Philadelphians have been working together to solve pressing challenges throughout our history. In 1736, we established the nation’s first all-volunteer fire department. Starting in the 1920s, citizens coordinated efforts to restore Wissahickon Creek, laying the foundation for close to 100 dedicated "Friends Groups" that currently steward our parks. Today, thousands of block captains serve as invaluable resources to their neighbors by sharing information and organizing community cleanups. National Service members are making a positive impact in every corner of the city and dedicated citizens of all ages volunteer on a regular basis in libraries, schools, faith-based institutions and non-profit organizations.
It is this long and rich legacy of citizen service that earned Philadelphia the prestigious Cities of Service Leadership Award in 2010, and led me to establish the Mayor’s Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteer Service (MOCEVS). The first of its kind in Philadelphia, MOCEVS is dedicated to dramatically increasing the City’s capacity to capitalize on our homegrown volunteer spirit. Shortly after opening, MOCEVS launched "SERVE Philadelphia: A Blueprint for Promoting Service as a Strategy to Impact Challenges and Strengthen Communities" – and it hasn’t looked back since! It is with great pride that I share with you the first annual "SERVE Philadelphia Progress Report" outlining the City’s efforts over the past three years to significantly enhance volunteer mobilization and measure impact.
Concurrent with the release of this progress report, I am issuing an Executive Order that establishes MOCEVS as the hub for impact volunteering and National Service resources in City government. With this order, I affirm the City’s commitment to impact volunteering by ensuring the sustainability of an office dedicated to coordinating resources and working collaboratively across City departments to support citizen service.
I want to thank our City’s leaders who have embraced the opportunity to establish or deepen their commitment to citizen engagement by launching new initiatives to engage volunteers or by strengthening current practices. I also want to extend my gratitude to the wide range of public and private sector partners who’ve stood with us in this work. Most importantly, I applaud the citizen volunteers of our great city who are at the heart of all that’s been accomplished. Together, your efforts have led to thousands of adults coaching high school students to graduation, a significant increase in volunteers working with adult learners, stronger park friends groups, greater collaboration between programs that serve our seniors and many other supports that make our communities safer, stronger and more vibrant.