Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation

United We Serve

“Economic recovery is as much about what you’re doing in your communities as what we’re doing in Washington -- and it’s going to take all of us, working together. I’m calling on all Americans to make volunteering and community service part of your daily life and the life of this nation.”

- President Barack Obama, June 10, 2009


The President and the First Lady launched United We Serve, a call to service led by the Corporation for National and Community Service -- the Federal agency home of service -- as a nationwide initiative to create a sustained, collaborative, and focused effort to meet community needs and make service a way of life for all Americans.


  • First Lady Michelle Obama launched United We Serve (UWS) on June 22nd, 2009,  at CNCS’s National Conference on Volunteering and Service in San Francisco and began with an 81-day call to service over the summer that culminated with the first ever National Day of Service and Remembrance on 9/11;
  • CNCS engaged nearly 400 national service partners in the summer 2009 efforts of United We Serve, including over 120 organizations introduced for the first time to CNCS through the initiative, and thousands of local nonprofit and faith-based partners;
  • CNCS launched, the online home of United We Serve, which provides tools for people to find service projects in their communities, develop their own projects, work with the media to promote their efforts, and share inspiring stories of service; and,
  • has amassed nearly 250,000 searchable opportunities in communities across the country.

In addition, United We Serve has forged partnerships with a number of organizations and initiatives to amplify and add capacity to the President and First Lady's call to service:

Guiding Principles


Engage more Volunteers on a Path to Sustained Service

President Obama believes in the power of ordinary Americans to indentify the needs of their communities and engage in meaningful service that can solve some of our most pressing challenges.  United We Serve seeks to build stronger, more efficient, and more sustainable community networks to create onramps to service so more Americans can get involved, not just for today, but for a lifetime. Every day businesses, non-profits, faith-based groups and individuals are answering this call to serve and creating innovative programs to engage their communities, their employees and other organizations to make a difference.

Provide Easy-to-Use Online Tools, the online home of United We Serve, provides comprehensive tools enabling people to develop their own community service projects, work with the media to promote their efforts, and share inspiring stories of service.  An exciting, innovative partnership between the technology, marketing and public sectors created an open-source application – All For Good – allows people to find and share local volunteer opportunities.

Ask Americans not just to Serve, but to Lead

United We Serve asks volunteers to become volunteer leaders by identifying unmet needs in their community, developing their own service projects, and engaging others who are interested in the same issue area.  The initiative provides easy-to-use tools on for volunteers to set outcome-oriented goals and track their impact.

Create New Partnerships that Bring Communities Together

While directly engaging traditional and non-traditional service organizations at the national, state, and community levels, United We Serve will also call upon Americans to form new community partnerships and join together across historical barriers of religion, race, and ethnicity.