Pro Bono Service: Harnessing Time and Talent for Social Good
Yesterday, the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and the Department of Commerce’s Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships hosted leaders from the nonprofit, private sector, and faith-based communities for an event titled “Pro Bono Service: Harnessing Time and Talent for Social Good.” More than 60 organizations attended this first-of-its-kind convening to learn about resources and partnership opportunities for improving their communities.
Pro bono service programs are an important collaboration between businesses and nonprofits. These partnerships give nonprofits access to specialized professional skills and experience to help them develop and implement sound business strategies, increase their capacity, and improve their organizational infrastructure. In fact, the value to nonprofits of skilled volunteer services can be 500 percent greater than the value of traditional volunteering. And needs abound — 92 percent of nonprofits say they don’t get enough pro bono support. In addition to helping meet this nonprofit capacity crisis, companies have also found that pro bono helps them add value to the company, its employees, and the community as a whole.
Yesterday’s gathering was in partnership with A Billion + Change, an initiative launched in 2008 by the Corporation for National and Community Service and currently run by Points of Light. A Billion + Change is a national campaign transforming business culture so that all companies in America will unleash the talent and expertise of their employees in pro bono service, solving our communities’ greatest challenges. Since it was launched, A Billion + Change has inspired the largest commitment of pro bono service in history, with more than 2,500 companies delivering over $2 billion worth of skills-based and pro bono volunteer service to help nonprofits address critical community needs.
President Obama is committed to building ladders of opportunity for all Americans and promoting cross-sector collaboration to help make that a reality. “We know that ultimately our strength is grounded in our people — individuals out there, striving, working, making things happen. It depends on community, a rich and generous sense of community,” the President said in a speech on economic mobility. “We know that’s our strength — our people, our communities, our businesses.”
We look forward to seeing pro bono service continue to play a positive role in promoting community development and economic mobility through innovative business and nonprofit partnerships like those discussed at yesterday’s event.
Melissa Rogers serves as Special Assistant to the President and Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.