National Service

National Service

Create a universal expectation of a year of national service.

An initiative focused on generating new research about the motivations and barriers to participating in a year of national service. These insights will enable organizations in the national service field to better understand the habits, norms, narratives, rituals, and behaviors needed to foster a culture in which participating in a year of national service becomes an expectation for young Americans.
 

Our Common Purpose calls for establishing a universal expectation of a year of national service and dramatically expanding funding for service opportunities to inspire a culture of commitment to American constitutional democracy and one another.

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 appropriated $1 billion for AmeriCorps and its many programs, fulfilling a critical milestone for advancing this recommendation. Despite the influx of financial support, the numbers of young Americans participating in national service opportunities fall short of the broad enthusiasm for national service as a mechanism to inspire Americans to serve in this way.

In this initiative, the Academy is partnering with America’s Service Commissions (ASC) and California Volunteers to introduce a data-driven approach to building demand for participating in a year of national service among young Americans. The insights gleaned will enable organizations in the national service field to better understand the habits, norms, narratives, rituals, and behaviors needed to foster a culture in which participating in a year of national service becomes an expectation for young Americans.

Resources

  • Ask and All: A Plan to Expand National Service & Volunteering. More Perfect. 2023 

    Inspired by the Commission’s work, More Perfect brings together leaders in national service and other areas to further the recommendations in Our Common Purpose. In 2023 it collaborated with 10 leading organizations on an ambitious plan to make national service and volunteering a rite of passage for millions of Americans. 

  • No Greater Mission. No Greater Means. How National Service Can Advance Bridgebuilding. Convergence Center for Policy Resolution. 2023 

    In this working paper, David Eisner, former President and CEO of the Convergence Center for Policy Resolution, and longtime civic leader John Gomperts argue that national service be a force in helping reduce the anger and mistrust that threaten to tear our country apart by connecting individuals across polarized divides. 

 

 To learn more about this initiative, please contact Abhishek Raman.

Community partnership shown with Hands Sorting Food
RECOMMENDATION 6.1

Establish a universal expectation of a year of national service and dramatically expand funding for service programs or fellowships that would offer young people paid service opportunities. Such opportunities should be made available not only in AmeriCorps or the military but also in local programs offered by municipal governments, local news outlets, and nonprofit organizations.

Read in the report