Mayor Michael A. Nutter released SERVE Philadelphia, a comprehensive plan to dramatically increase service and volunteerism targeted at some of Philadelphia’s most pressing local challenges. Philadelphia is a member of the Cities of Service coalition and is one of 10 cities across the country launching citywide service plans this month. SERVE Philadelphia is the product of an eight-month assessment and consultation process coordinated by Deputy Chief of Staff Jordan Schwartz and Chief Service Officer Catie C. Wolfgang. The process engaged a diverse group of service experts, non-profit organizations, schools, colleges, private sector partners, public agencies and every day citizens.
SERVE Philadelphia has three main goals:
- Create or elevate volunteer opportunities that impact educational outcomes and contribute to community vitality;
- Make it easier for citizens of every age to volunteer; and
- Support both public and private sector efforts to engage more volunteers in ways that have the greatest impact.
“As Philadelphians, we have always been committed to helping our fellow citizens. I am deeply proud of the ethic of service that permeates our city,” said Mayor Nutter. “Whether it’s our network of 6,000 block captains dedicated to supporting their communities, the outpouring of volunteers for Philly’s Annual Spring Clean-Up, the generosity of City government employees who tutor children on their lunch hour or the thousands of citizens who volunteer regularly in support of issues they care about, Philadelphians have always found meaningful ways to help one another. SERVE Philadelphia will build on this great tradition by strategically engaging volunteers to make Philadelphia a safer, greener, healthier and more educated city.”
David Eisner, President and CEO of the National Constitution Center and former director of the Corporation for National and Community Service, welcomed more than 200 individuals to the Constitution Center for the official launch of SERVE Philadelphia.
Fellow Pennsylvania Mayors and Cities of Service coalition members from Easton, Pottsville, Reading and Scranton joined Mayor Nutter at the launch of SERVE Philadelphia. Together they welcomed the state’s newest mayor to sign the coalition’s Declaration of Service, Thomas M. Leighton of Wilkes Barre. A total of nine Pennsylvania cities are members of Cities of Service.
“We are very proud to launch SERVE Philadelphia, which we believe will bring about an increased commitment to service and volunteering across the city,” said Chief Service Officer Catie C. Wolfgang. “It is clear that Philadelphians are ready to jump in and support the initiatives outlined in the City’s plan and I very much look forward to working alongside them in making Philadelphia one of the best cities in the country to serve.”
The launch event featured a panel discussion on the role that citizens play in supporting City government efforts to improve educational outcomes and support community vitality. Panelists included the following City officials: Israel Colon, Director of Multicultural Affairs; Jordan Harris, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Youth Commission; Dr. Lori Shorr, Chief Education Officer; and Carlton Williams, Deputy Commissioner of the Streets Department.
SERVE Philadelphia includes five impact initiatives designed to promote community vitality and engage citizens in supporting the Mayor’s top education goals, specifically increasing the city’s high school graduation rate to 80% by 2015 and doubling the percentage of college graduates from 18% to 36% by 2018. The plan also includes five cross cutting initiatives designed to increase the City’s overall capacity to engage more volunteers in ways that have the greatest impact.