Mayor Adams, Chief Service Officer Rog Launch NYC Volunteerism Boost Plan

April 25, 2024


NYC Mayor Eric Adams and NYC Chief Service Officer Laura Rog today unveiled the city’s plan to increase volunteer and service opportunities by 25 percent from Harlem to Hollis.

Helping to build stronger communities, address the loneliness epidemic, and bolster the nonprofit sector’s volunteer force. Beginning this year, NYC Service will engage 55,000 people in service opportunities to support 100,000 New Yorkers across all five boroughs annually. The city will also offer more than 1 million volunteer opportunities at city-based non-profits and agencies, expanding how New Yorkers can give back to their communities.

“Real New Yorkers have each other’s back, and across the city there are residents who give their time and talents to uplift those in need,” said Mayor Adams. “This plan is a roadmap to securing safe neighborhoods by engaging residents and embedding a culture of service on every block, in every building, and in the ethos of every business across the five boroughs. New York City is the greatest city in the world because everyone can serve.”

“AmeriCorps members and volunteers are vital to ensuring communities are supported and New Yorkers’ needs are met,” said City Hall Chief of Staff Camille Joseph Varlack. “The NYC Service strategic plan outlines our whole-city approach to increasing access to meaningful opportunities and a commitment to tackling important issues affecting New Yorkers.”

“Service is a cornerstone of resilient communities and a responsibility of every New Yorker,” said Chief Service Officer Rog. “Our city is strongest when we are united in service, and NYC Service is committed to bridging the power of our city’s most precious resource — our people — to where they are needed most. We’re so proud of the volunteers and AmeriCorps members serving our city every year who continue to build on the legacy of New Yorkers showing up for each other.”

The plan aims to harness the power of more than 3,000 AmeriCorps members and 1.5 million volunteers who are active annually and build capacity of the public and nonprofit sectors. It builds on more than 20 current initiatives administered by NYC Service, with seven new initiatives to inform the city’s efforts and increase opportunities to serve.

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Key NYC Service initiatives launching to increase volunteerism and service opportunities:

  • Advisory Council: Led by the chief service officer, a 12-member council of representatives from the public, nonprofit, and private sectors with expertise in social responsibility and community engagement will develop a set of recommendations to make New York City the easiest place to make an impact through volunteerism and service. Inaugural members of the advisory council include:
    • Anita Astupuma, directive committee, Fundavenyc
    • Caitlin Belt, vice president, Office of Corporate Engagement, Goldman Sachs
    • Herman Schaffer, deputy commissioner, Community Engagement Bureau, NYC Emergency Management
    • Janis Robinson, institutions and partnerships vice president, Food Bank for NYC
    • Jen Chantrtanapichate, deputy director, Sixth Street Community Center
    • Jessica Kaplan, deputy executive director for strategic planning, Service in Schools: NYC Public Schools
    • Julie Raskin, executive director, Sanitation Foundation
    • Karina Smith, assistant commissioner for community outreach and partnership development, NYC Parks and Recreation
    • Katy Rodriguez Botello, global senior manager, social impact, Marsh McLennan
    • Kasia Laskowski, executive director, Thrive Global
    • Kevin Cummings, district and government strategy vice president, City Year
    • Ryan Murray, executive deputy commissioner, New York City Department for the Aging
    • Sarah Hope de Mayo, senior group director for social commitment, Chanel
    • Sapreet Saluja, executive director, New York Cares
    • Tonya Gayle, executive director, Green City Force
  • Engaging the City’s Largest Workforce: In partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Labor Relations’ WorkWell program and the New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services, the city will develop tailored campaigns to increase access to volunteer opportunities for social connection, positive health outcomes, and professional development.
  • Volunteers for a HealthyNYCIn partnership with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), NYC Service will bolster HealthyNYC: New York City’s Campaign for Healthier, Longer Lives with a campaign to build the capacity of nonprofits and hospitals that focus on seven key determinants of health, as well as increase opportunities to volunteer in the areas of health that contribute to healthier, longer lives for New Yorkers. Recent national and New York City studies show that both adults and youth are experiencing high rates of loneliness and sadness. Furthermore, life expectancy has dropped dramatically for New Yorkers. Connection for individuals and support for organizations to engage residents in addressing issues close to home are key to healthy and safe communities. The campaign will include a digital one-stop-shop to allow New Yorkers to sign up for volunteer opportunities to improve the health of New Yorkers.
  • Youth Action Campaigns: In partnership with city agencies, including DOE and DemocracyNYC, NYC Service will recruit high-school youth, ages 14 – 18, to volunteer during school recess, annually for an April Youth Action Month, and on National Voter Registration Day.
  • Engaging the City’s Largest Workforce: In partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Labor Relations’ WorkWell program and the New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS), the city will develop tailored campaigns to increase access to volunteer opportunities for social connection, positive health outcomes, and professional development for city employees and their families.

The announcement follows the 15th anniversary of NYC Service, which was established in 2009 to connect volunteers to organizations in need of capacity. Over the last two years, the Adams administration has successfully expanded many longstanding and fundamental community service programs, including expanding the largest municipal youth leadership council network to 200 councils, serving 14,000 youth experiencing homelessness through the NYC Service-led winter donation drive, re-developing the city-run volunteer engagement website with more than 5,000 active users, tracking more than 14 million hours of volunteer service through a volunteer engagement campaign, and growing volunteer support to expand essential food access services to nearly 660,000 residents through civic impact funding.

“The Health Department has organized ourselves around extending lifespans and health spans, and is laying a strong foundation for a sustainable mental health system,” said DOHMH Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. “However, our plans are only effective if we have dedicated and passionate people working to put them into effect. Not only will this administration’s efforts to boost volunteerism support HealthyNYC, volunteering itself has been shown to improve mental and physical wellbeing, benefiting us as individuals and as a collective. Thank you to NYC Service for providing access to one of the healthiest things New Yorkers can do: give your time, in service of others.” 

“The Adams administration’s investment in service and volunteerism is a vital step toward combatting the effects of loneliness post-COVID and ensuring all New Yorkers can access essential services. This initiative offers more than 1 million volunteer opportunities, bridging political divides, revitalizing the nonprofit sector’s volunteer force, and creating a safe, livable city for generations to come,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue. “At NYC Parks, we have a long and fruitful legacy of engaging volunteers in the stewardship of our city’s greenspaces, which we have been proud to build on through our ‘Let’s Green NYC’ initiative. With this new mayoral project, we enthusiastically join our sister agencies in working toward a common mission: to help New Yorkers give back to our city through volunteering!” 

“NYC communities are made strong by neighbors supporting neighbors who need a helping hand. NYC Service is an excellent way for community members to get connected to volunteer opportunities that will make an impact on the lives of others” said New York City Administration for Child Services Commissioner Jess Dannhauser. “I want to congratulate Mayor Adams on this new strategic plan and look forward to seeing more and more New Yorkers working to make this city a better place for children and families.” 

“When New Yorkers come together to serve their communities and support those in need, the entire city benefits, and there is no better way to find meaningful opportunities to volunteer than through NYC Service,” said New York City Department of Social Services (DSS) Commissioner Molly Wasow Park. “DSS is proud to partner with NYC Service on endeavors to serve vulnerable New Yorkers, like the NYC Service-led winter donation drive, which provides holiday gifts to thousands of vulnerable children across the city, and we greatly value Mayor Adams’ efforts to bolster volunteer opportunities and public-private partnerships that address New York City’s most pressing issues.”

“We are excited to partner with NYC Service,” said Mayor’s Office for Nonprofit Services Interim Executive Director Diane Mamet. “This collaboration is not just a continuation but an expansion, aiming to invigorate nonprofits throughout New York City with the power of service and volunteerism. Together, we are dedicated to offering a wealth of free resources that will enable nonprofits to harness the energy and passion of New Yorkers. Our goal is to cultivate a more dynamic, connected community where everyone thrives.”

“DCAS commends Mayor Adams for his strategic plan to increase service opportunities and volunteerism in New York City,” said DCAS Commissioner Dawn M. Pinnock. “This comprehensive plan reflects our collective commitment to address the diverse needs of our communities, foster unity, and build a safer, more livable city for all New Yorkers. We are proud to support this effort and look forward to collaborating with NYC Service and other partners to empower individuals, strengthen communities, and create a more resilient city through volunteerism and connection.” 

“New Yorkers dedicated to volunteering and service is what makes this city thrive,” said Herman Schaffer, deputy commissioner for community preparedness, New York City Emergency Management. “Volunteerism reflects our collective responsibility to care for our neighbors. Volunteers who respond to emergencies before, during, and after a disaster strengthens New York City’s preparedness and resiliency.  We are thrilled for the Adams Administration’s new strategic plan and continued effort to increase service opportunities and volunteerism for all New Yorkers.” 

“AmeriCorps is proud to support NYC Service in cultivating a culture of service across the Big Apple,” said Michael D. Smith, CEO, AmeriCorps. “AmeriCorps members, AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers, and those who serve alongside them strengthen communities, improve lives, foster civic engagement, and cultivate a sense of belonging. This strategic plan will help all New Yorkers see how they can get involved in owning the challenges and opportunities in their neighborhoods.” 

“Mayor Adams’ announcement today marks a pivotal moment in New York City’s commitment to fostering a culture of service and volunteerism that leaves no one behind. This announcement represents both an effective strategy and a clarion call to action, ensuring that every New Yorker, regardless of background or circumstance has the opportunity to contribute their talents and skills to address complex challenges facing our city,” said Dr. Lisette Nieves, president, Fund for the City of New York. “This multifaceted approach, spearheaded by NYC Service, underscores our city’s unwavering commitment to robust inclusivity, proximate problem solving, and civic engagement. Initiatives such as the NYCHA Health Corps and Women Forward NYC exemplify a forward-thinking approach to tackling complex issues, leveraging strengths and talents from every community, while addressing systemic inequalities. As NYC Service celebrates its 15th anniversary, it stands as a beacon of innovation, collaboration, and impact. By nurturing robust partnerships across the private, public, and nonprofit sectors, NYC Service has become a driving force in expanding meaningful service opportunities for New Yorkers from all walks of life.” 

“I am honored to have led NYC Service in its inception, and I believe that NYC Service has thrived for 15 years because our city’s most pressing challenges require the power of the people to address them,” said Diahann Billings-Burford, CEO, RISE. “It is a joy to see NYC Service continue to serve as a nexus of various public and private partnerships focused on maintaining and increasing our great city’s standard of living.  The evolution of the agency and its initiatives reflect the current administration’s understanding that true leadership requires a commitment to continually innovate.” 

“We are proud to partner with NYC Service to increase opportunities that build a community who looks out for one another,” said Sapreet K. Saluja, executive director, New York Cares. “As the largest volunteer organization in the city, we bring New Yorkers together in service to make New York the city we know we can be.” 

“I am honored to be a part of Marsh McLennan and excited to contribute to this remarkable initiative. We strongly believe in the transformative power of community and the profound impact that volunteering can have on individuals and society as a whole. Alongside NYC Service, we are committed to creating a brighter future for all New Yorkers,” said Katy Rodriguez Botello, global senior manager for social impact, Marsh McLennan. 

“Food Bank For New York City is honored to be invited to be on the NYC Service Advisory Council, as we all work to support the New York community,” said Janis Robinson, vice president for institutions and partnerships, Food Bank for New York City. 

“As someone who has seen the immense power people bring when they become civically engaged, I am proud that today we are opening volunteer opportunities to 55,000 New Yorkers,” said New York State Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar. “I became an assemblywoman by increasing voter turnout to three times higher than it had ever been and turning my campaign into a community service operation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Today’s initiative will activate tens of thousands more New Yorkers to volunteer, helping 100,000 children, seniors, and other neighbors in need. New Yorkers will come together to invest in our collective destiny as one city and bring unprecedented energy to our communities.”

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