Friday, July 12, 2013

Cities of Service Impact Volunteering Fund Request for Proposals

Founded in 2009, Cities of Service is a bipartisan coalition of 160 mayors who have committed to work together to engage citizens in an ongoing effort to address local challenges through service. Specifically, Cities of Service focuses on “impact volunteering,” a purposeful strategy that targets community needs, ensures best practices are in use, and sets clear outcomes and performance measures.

Cities of Service is offering competitive grants to help cities use impact volunteering to tackle challenges on a local level. The Cities of Service Impact Volunteering Fund supports cities committed to providing substantial resources to implement the Cities of Service model, including interested in implementing it for the first time.

Grantees receive technical assistance and coaching to support cities in achieving greater outcomes, reporting impact metrics, and sharing learning with the broader Cities of Service coalition.

The first round of grants was awarded in the fall of 2012 and a second round of grants will be awarded this winter. Funding will be awarded in three sizes: 
  • $25,000 for single initiatives (plus possibility of a $5,000 bonus if impact benchmarks are achieved after one year); and
  • $50,000 and
  • $100,000 grants for multiple initiatives (limited to cities that have secured funding to support a full-time Chief Service Officer for the duration of the grant). 

In Philadelphia, Mayor Michael A. Nutter has used a high-impact service plan focusing on education, neighborhood revitalization and the environment. Since implementation began in September 2010, more than 4,400 adults have been trained as graduation coaches to help young people prepare for their future. Additionally, over 2,500 residents have been matched with volunteer opportunities through the SERVE Philadelphia website. For other examples of successful service plans in various cities, click here.

Eligible applicants include mayors whose city is a member of the City of Service coalition. If your city’s mayor is not currently a member, joining is easy. The mayor will need to sign the Declaration of Service and commit to: 
  • Developing a comprehensive service plan and accompanying strategy focused on matching volunteers and community partners to areas of local need; 
  • Working with other mayors and elected officials to advance best practices in order to accelerate the service movement and achieve results; 
  • Encouraging other mayors to join Cities of Service in an effort to engage citizens; 
  • Ensuring that cities have a voice in policy and program discussions related to service. 

In order to apply, interested cities are asked to fill out a brief Verification of Eligibility by September 6. Once eligibility is determined, cities will receive application instructions and documents. Grant applications are due September 13. For more information, click here.

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