Cities Of Service Announces New Grants Competition For Cities Seeking To Increase Volunteerism To Address Local Needs

February 11, 2010

Round 2 of Leadership Grants will Allow 10 More Mayors to Hire Chief Service Officers

Cities of Service today announced the opening of the application period for the second round of Cities of Service Leadership Grants. Funded jointly by the Rockefeller Foundation and Bloomberg Philanthropies, the $2 million worth of grants will be awarded to ten cities, on a competitive basis, whose mayors have committed to increase the amount and impact of service in their communities.

Each recipient city will receive $200,000 over a two-year period for the specific purpose of hiring a Chief Service Officer, an individual who will lead local efforts on behalf of their city’s mayor to develop and implement a citywide plan to increase volunteerism. Cities of Service is a bipartisan coalition of Mayors from across the country, representing more than 43 million Americans in more than 80 cities, dedicated to engaging more Americans in service and channeling volunteers towards each city’s most pressing challenges. “Mayors are on the front lines working to help their communities and neighbors weather the national recession – and many of us believe that citizen service can be an important component of our local recovery strategies,” said New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who convened the first Cities of Service summit in New York City last fall. “The response to the initial grant application was tremendous – 50 cities applied for the 10 awards – so we are eager to extend this innovative resource to an additional ten cities.

I want to thank the Rockefeller Foundation for its expanded support for the Cities of Service Leadership Grants program, and for its leadership in accelerating the citizen service movement in America’s urban centers.” “The Rockefeller Foundation is proud to once again help America’s Mayors by expanding the Cities of Service Leadership Grants to ten additional cities,” said Dr. Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation. “The high number of applicants for the first round of grants showed us that there is clearly the need and hunger from Mayors all across the country to tap into the benefits that volunteers bring to their communities. By expanding this successful urban innovation, we will once again be able to capture the spirit of service that exists in all our cities, organize it, and leverage it for a much greater impact.”

The recipients of the first round of Cities of Service Leadership Grants were announced on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. The cities selected to receive the grants were Chicago, IL; Detroit, MI; Los Angeles, CA; Nashville-Davidson, TN; Newark, NJ; Omaha, NE; Philadelphia, PA; Sacramento, CA; Savannah, GA; Seattle, WA. The first round of Cities of Service Leadership Grants was funded solely by the Rockefeller Foundation. To be considered for the two-year Cities of Service Leadership Grant, a city’s mayor must be a member of the Cities of Service coalition and have signed and agreed to implement the coalition’s Declaration of Service. Mayors interested in joining the Cities of Service Coalition should visit for registration.

In addition, all applicant cities must have at least 100,000 residents according to the 2000 census and be home to at least one community college or a four-year public or private university. The grant application can be found at and must be received no later than April 9, 2010. Applications must include the following: a detailed plan to assess existing service levels and stakeholders within the city; an explanation of how the city will produce a coordinated citywide service plan with detailed and specific initiatives to increase volunteerism; a description of how the city will meaningfully engage local universities in the development and implementation of the plan; a process to appoint a Chief Service Officer who reports directly to the mayor, deputy mayor or other appropriate designee; and the identification of two existing local priority areas in which to target volunteerism. An analysis of a city’s existing service levels and five letters of support from local stakeholders are also required. Founded in New York City on September 10, 2009 with 17 founding member cities, Cities of Service is a bipartisan coalition of mayors who have answered the historic Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act’s call to action. Cities – often at the front lines of our nation’s most pressing challenges – are perfectly positioned to work together to engage millions more volunteers in service and develop strategies to increase the amount and impact of local service efforts. All coalition members have signed a “Declaration of Service,” committing to work together to lead a multi-year effort to expand community service and volunteerism by: The coalition has rapidly grown since its inception in September and now includes more than 80 Mayors representing more than 43 million Americans across the nation. The coalition includes eight of the 10 largest cities in the country and 30 of the top 50 largest cities.

The Cities of Service coalition includes the following cities:

Akron, OH; Allentown, PA; Annapolis, MD; Arlington, TX; Atlanta, GA; Austin, TX; Baltimore, MD; Baton Rouge, LA; Birmingham, AL; Boston, MA; Bowling Green, KY; Brownsville, TX; Buffalo, NY; Catoosa, OK; Chandler, AZ; Charleston, SC; Chattanooga, TN; Chicago, IL; Chula Vista, CA; Cincinnati, OH; Corpus Christi, TX; Davis, CA; Denver, CO; Detroit, MI; Dublin, OH; Eugene, OR; Flint, MI; Fort Wayne, IN; Grand Rapids, MI; Harrisburg, PA; Hattiesburg, MS; Houston, TX; Jackson, MS; Jacksonville, FL; Kansas City, MO; Lancaster, CA; Lexington, KY; Los Angeles, CA; Meridian, MS; Mesa, AZ; Milwaukee, WI; Muskegon, MI; Nashville-Davidson, TN; New Bedford, MA; New York, NY; Newark, NJ; Oakland, CA; Omaha, NE; Palm Bay, FL; Panama City, FL; Pawtucket, RI; Philadelphia, PA; Phoenix, AZ; Pittsburgh, PA; Placerville, CA; Portland, OR; Providence, RI; Reading, PA; Riverside, CA; Roseville, CA; Sacramento, CA; Saint Paul, MN; Salt Lake City, UT; San Antonio, TX; San Francisco, CA; San José, CA; Santa Cruz, CA; Santa Fe, NM; Santa Rosa, CA; Savannah, GA; Seattle, WA; St. Louis, MO; Stockton, CA; Trenton, NJ; Tucson, AZ; Utica, NY; Ventura, CA; Vicksburg, MS; Virginia Beach, VA; Washington, DC; West Palm Beach, FL.


Mayor Bloomberg’s Press Office (Cities of Service) (212) 788-2958

Teresa Wells (Rockefeller Foundation) (347) 463-8314