Initiatives

Service Year Alliance

Service Year Alliance is working to make a year of paid, full-time service a common expectation and opportunity for all young Americans. A service year before, during, or after college gives young people the chance to transform their lives, make an impact in their community, and become the active citizens and leaders our nation needs. Expanding service years has the power to revitalize cities, uplift and educate children at risk, and empower communities struggling with poverty.

Service Year Alliance was formed in 2016 as a result of a merger of projects at three national organizations: ServiceNation at Be The Change, The Franklin Project at The Aspen Institute, and the Service Year Exchange at the National Conference on Citizenship. Stanford Social Innovation Review published a piece about this rare and unique nonprofit merger: “Nonprofit Mergers: The Missing Ingredient.”

Laura was a critical force in launching The Franklin Project at the Aspen Institute and again when Service Year Alliance was created. She supported the work generously and joined both groups’ Leadership Councils, which is comprised of over 50 prominent Americans who believe deeply in the power and impact of national service for our communities and country, including Laura Lauder, Madeleine Albright, David Gergen, Jose Andres, Barbara Bush, Wes Moore, and Condoleezza Rice.

In addition, Laura has been instrumental in ensuring that national service is strong in Northern California. In particular, Laura’s support helped the City of San Jose hire its first-ever Chief Service Officer. This jointly funded position made it possible for San Jose to strategically align various service and community engagement efforts across the city for the first time into a cohesive vision to reimagine the San Jose as a leading service-oriented city, to set a new standard for community involvement in tackling the city’s toughest problems, and to promote all forms of community service, including service years — as a core element of what it means to be a citizen in the most innovative city in the world. Today, the City of San Jose is a Service Year Impact Community, joining a dedicated group of communities that are leading the charge to expand service year opportunities to solve local challenges.