Mayor Michael A. Nutter was among the nation’s first mayors to join Cities of Service, founded in September 2009 by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and 16 additional mayors from across the country. Cities of Service is a bipartisan coalition of mayors who have committed to work together to lead a multi‐year effort to expand impact volunteerism. Impact volunteer strategies are those that:
- Identify priorities and use volunteers to target a community’s critical needs,
- Use best practices to maximize results and program sustainability, and
- Set clear outcomes and measures to gauge progress.
On Martin Luther King Day 2010, Cities of Service and the Rockefeller Foundation named Philadelphia as a recipient of the Cities of Service Leadership Grant, enabling Mayor Nutter to hire the City’s first Chief Service Officer and establish the Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteer Service.
In joining Cities of Service, Mayor Nutter pledged that Philadelphia would help the country achieve the goals of the historic Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act. Through this legislation, all Americans have been called to roll up their sleeves and address their community’s most pressing challenges. SERVE Philadelphia is designed to ensure that our city will be a leader in answering that call. It is a comprehensive plan to significantly increase the impact of service and volunteerism on a number of critical issues.
SERVE Philadelphia is the product of an eight‐month assessment and consultation process initiated by Deputy Chief of Staff Jordan Schwartz and completed by Chief Service Officer Catie C. Wolfgang. The process engaged a diverse group of local and national service experts, non‐profit organizations, grassroots community groups, faith communities, schools, colleges, private sector partners, and public agencies in examining the city’s current service landscape and its challenges. Information gathered through the process informed the development of a broad strategy to increase civic engagement that builds on Philadelphia’s long‐standing commitment to service.
The ten initiatives outlined in SERVE Philadelphia capitalize on the city’s already strong service infrastructure. Each one is supported by a dynamic combination of partners committed to cross‐sector collaboration. Progress towards the goals outlined in SERVE Philadelphia will be reported annually and made available to the public at: www.SERVEPhiladelphia.com.