Mayor Karl Dean convened in New York on Thursday to help launch a coalition of mayors from across the country who are seeking to encourage volunteer service in their communities.
Dean was invited to New York as part of the new Cities of Service initiative, which aims to get citizens involved in community service. Dean was one of 16 mayors invited by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is leading the effort.
“As the capital city for the Volunteer State, my goal is for Nashville to be a leading city in this national service initiative. Nashville is known as Music City and one of the friendliest cities in America — we’re a city with tremendous talent and good will. We need to put those attributes to work in our neighborhoods and our schools,” Dean said.
The 17 mayors met at a summit held at Gracie Mansion in New York and shared ideas and volunteer opportunities unique to their cities. At the end, the mayors signed a Declaration of Service commitment, which aims to tap into new ways to use volunteers in America’s cities. The mayors came from cities large and small across the country.
The coalition will utilize support from the Rockefeller Foundation to provide technical assistance and other support to member mayors, including funding full-time Chief Service Officers in select cities to develop and implement comprehensive service programs.
The summit at Gracie Mansion occurred just five months after the passage of the bipartisan Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act and the day before the anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11, the newly designated National Day of Service and Remembrance.
“The historic, bipartisan Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act promises ‘a new era of service’ in America — and America’s mayors can help lead the way in making it a reality,” Bloomberg said. “Cities around the country are facing enormous challenges, and mayors have an opportunity to make the most of our greatest asset: public-spirited citizens and organizations.”