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An Exciting Day for Service and Social Innovation

Melody Barnes, Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, discusses the one year anniversary of the President signing the bipartisan Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act and announces the launch of the new website for the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation.

Today is a very exciting day for President Obama’s service and social innovation agendas. It marks the one year anniversary of the President’s signing of the bipartisan Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, and today we are launching the new website for the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation (SICP), a first-of-its-kind office within the Domestic Policy Council.

The Serve America Act marked the boldest expansion of national and community service opportunities in a generation.  It tripled the size of AmeriCorps, targeted that service toward solutions, and created the Social Innovation Fund as an example of how government can more effectively drive resources toward both innovation and results.

Today, I will be speaking at an event to commemorate the signing and to remember and honor the Serve America Act’s namesake, Senator Kennedy, for whom service was a life calling.  And we felt it fitting to launch our SICP website on this special day.

When this office was created by the President, he charged it with engaging individuals, nonprofits, the private sector, and government to work together to make lasting progress on our Nation’s most pressing challenges. The Office’s principles and mission reflect the President’s call.

In that spirit, the Office has been working with the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) – the federal agency home of service – to meet the vision championed by Senators Kennedy and Hatch, who worked together to introduce the Act, and the strong bipartisan coalition of Senate and House leaders who came together to support it.

In addition to its work with CNCS, the Office is working with federal agencies across the government and with partners outside of government to do business differently by promoting service as a solution and a way to develop community leadership; increasing investment in innovative community solutions that demonstrate results; and developing new models of partnership.

Today marks an important anniversary for the expansion of service and social innovation. There is much more work to be done, and we hope you will continue to stay engaged as we work together to address some of our country’s toughest challenges.

Melody Barnes is Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy