(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Mayor Vincent C. Gray announced that, after receiving a record number of applications, Cities of Service has awarded $25,000 to the District of Columbia to implement a service initiative designed to address neighborhood beautification and environmental sustainability. The District is one of 23 U.S. cities to win a Cities of Service Impact Volunteering Fund grant, which supports mayors who are implementing “impact volunteering” strategies that tackle pressing local challenges.
"The Love Your Block DC initiative is a meaningful complement to the ongoing efforts of Sustainable DC and leverages the power and energy of residents to take an active role in making the District the healthiest, greenest, most livable city in the nation over the next 20 years." said Mayor Gray. "Through Love Your Block DC, 430 trees will be planted, 25 city blocks will be revitalized, and three community gardens will be created along with a number of new local park affinity groups."
Jeffrey D. Richardson, Chief Service Officer for the District of Columbia also noted, "As a founding member of Cities of Service, this is the first time the District has been awarded a Cities of Service Impact Volunteering Fund grant, and we look forward to showcasing on a national stage how engaged District residents can make a difference." He added, “Impact volunteering is increasingly recognized as a sustainable strategy to address local challenges, and Serve DC is dedicated to actively engaging residents in transforming our communities through service."
Serve DC – The Mayor's Office on Volunteerism is lead coordinator for Love Your Block DC and will work closely with the Mayor's Office of the Clean City and the District’s Department of Parks and Recreation and Department of Public Works along with hundreds of volunteers to achieve the grants measurable goals and outcomes.
The Cities of Service model focuses on impact volunteering – volunteer strategies that target community needs, use best practices and set clear, measurable outcomes to gauge progress. Dozens of cities across the nation have adopted the model since its introduction in 2009. Cities that received first-round grants from the Cities of Service Impact Volunteering Fund in October 2012 already have shown success leveraging volunteers across a range of issue areas. For example, Fall River, Mass., created its first urban tree farm to support ongoing revitalization efforts; Austin, Texas, surveyed 10 percent of city-owned land to identify invasive plant species for removal to protect the local environment; and Little Rock, Ark., is engaging more than 3,000 elementary school students in a comprehensive anti-obesity and healthy-eating initiative to improve health outcomes.
More than 60 mayors applied for Cities of Service Impact Volunteering Fund grants to support the implementation of nearly 90 initiatives. Grants ranging from $25,000 to $100,000 also will support efforts in Allentown, Pa.; Atlanta, Ga.; Austin, Texas; Birmingham, Ala.; Buffalo, N.Y.; Campton Hills, Ill.; Charleston, S.C.; Fall River, Mass.; Flint, Mich.; Hartford, Ct.; Hayward, Calif.; Kalamazoo, Mich.; Kansas City, Kan.; Louisville, Ky.; Mesa, Ariz.; Milwaukee, Wis.; Nashville, Tenn.; Orlando, Fla.; Philadelphia, Pa.; Richmond, Calif.; San Jose, Calif.; and Utica, N.Y.
Funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Cities of Service Impact Volunteering Fund is a multi-million dollar fund. Nearly $1 million was awarded through the first round of grants in October 2012, with an additional $1 million awarded through this second round. Grantee cities were selected based on the quality of initiative proposals, scale and potential for impact, and caliber of implementation plans, among other criteria. Cities of Service Impact Volunteering Fund initiatives address issues in the Cities of Service priority areas of education and youth, health, neighborhood revitalization, preparedness and safety, sustainability, and veterans.
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About Cities of Service
Founded in September 2009 in New York City by New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and 16 other mayors from across the nation, Cities of Service is a bipartisan coalition of over 180 mayors committed to addressing critical city needs through impact volunteering. American cities face serious challenges and many mayors want to take advantage of every resource available to them – including the time and energy of public-spirited residents – to address those challenges. But in cities across America today, citizen service is often an underutilized strategy by municipal governments. By leveraging citizen service strategies, Cities of Service helps mayors address local needs and make government more effective. To find out more about Cities of Service, visit at www.citiesofservice.org or on Twitter @CitiesOfService