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Points of Light Foundation

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Community & Neighborhood Development, Disaster Aid, Economic Development, Philanthropy, Public Safety, Disaster Preparedness & Relief, Voluntarism Promotion

Mission: On August 1, 2007, Points of Light Foundation and Hands On Network merged into a single organization with a shared vision and a shared set of goals. This united organization is now called Points of Light Institute and embraces a new vision for transformation: One day every person will discover their power to make a difference, creating healthy communities in vibrant democracies around the world. Points of Light Institute has three main goals: Citizen Action: Create an engaged citizenry where every individual has the opportunity to make a difference through meaningful civic engagement. Civic Infrastructure: Develop a civic infrastructure equipped with the resources, tools, and knowledge to create change in communities. Campaigns for Impact: Demonstrate the power of citizens actively engaged in changing our world and solving problems. Points of Light Institute advances innovative civic change strategies. To realize this new vision and to achieve these goals, Points of Light Institute supports a portfolio of branded business units that enable people a variety of ways to act upon their power to make a change. Points of Light Institute supports these efforts through incubation, back-office support services, sector thought leadership, and public policy development. The Institute also supports emerging new business units and entrepreneurial ventures through partnership, collaboration, and incubation that advance a variety of forms of civic engagement. Generated by Points of Light Institute: HandsOn Network is the leading business unit within the Points of Light Institute portfolio and is the activating arm. HandsOn Network inspires, equips, and mobilizes people to take action that changes the world. At the center of the network are our 370 affiliates serving 83% of the American population and 12 international communities. It is also a “network of networks” that includes our partnering nonprofits, government agencies, faith-based organizations, and companies seeking to engage in service. MissionFish is a social enterprise of the Points of Light Institute, representing another form of how we support people's power to change the world. It does this by enabling people to sell or purchase products through eBay to benefit the nonprofit causes they care about. MissionFish has raised more than $125 million charitable dollars for over 15,000 nonprofits worldwide. A Convergence of Now Our collective network- now the largest in the nation - manages millions of volunteers and 50,000 volunteer driven community impact projects annually around the country. We are unleashing the power of people to solve problems and build communities. We are generating ideas, telling the story and creating new tools for change-making. Why Now? Once in a generation, a seismic shift occurs that fundamentally transforms our civic landscape. In the world of volunteerism and civic action, that moment is now. Cultural shifts are opening new avenues to address the challenges of volunteerism. Across America, technology-driven social networking and mobile technology are redefining the nature of interaction, shaping a new culture of communication. There is a resurgence of interest in the inner workings of government, schools, community and social change. There is a new energy around the idea of individual and collective exchange to create value and meaning that results in safe, connected and healthy communities. People are starting to ask how they can be involved and what they can do. What We Do We ensure that there are volunteer and community participation opportunities for people through the country and increasingly, around the world. We engage individuals, corporations, nonprofits and government institutions to incubate, develop and mobilize collaborative citizen leadership, thus creating innovative, actionable solutions that can be replicated across the world. We empower individuals to create real-time community solutions which drive systemic change.

Programs: Points of Light Foundation 2006 National Conference on Volunteering and Service is the premier training and education event in volunteer management, community volunteering and national service leadership for nonprofit organizations, businesses, government agencies and Volunteer Centers. It is the nation's largest gathering on volunteering, where more than 3,000 leaders, thinkers and doers come together for three days of education, discussion and professional networking. Joined by leading federal and state officials, and executives from the business community, the attendees at this conference set the tone and agenda for community service in America and around the world. The conference will be held June 18 - 20, 2006, in Seattle, WA. Register at www.volunteeringandservice.org. Disaster Relief. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and Rita, the devastation that has occurred in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the rest of the Gulf Coast Region has reached unimaginable proportions, and the extent of the damage caused is still unfolding. Volunteer Centers in the affected areas are reeling from the impact and from the demands for assistance that they are receiving from their community. Currently the Centers are helping to recruit and place volunteers in shelters and other areas identified by their local emergency management offices. The Extra Mile - Points of Light Volunteer Pathway National Monument. The nation's only monument located in Washington, D.C. will be built to honor our country's greatest volunteers - those who have changed the world by going the extra mile for others. When completed, more than 70 custom designed circular bronze medallions, each representing an honoree, will form a pathway that will occupy a mile-long pathway adjacent to the White House and will be the basis for a nationally distributed service learning curriculum. 1-800-VOLUNTEER.org A national Internet and/or Telecommunications - based volunteer recruitment, referral, and tracking resource portal that is locally managed and staffed by Volunteer Centers across the country. 1-800-VOLUNTEER provides a direct connection to local volunteer opportunities matched to a volunteer's interests and skills. The President's Volunteer Service Awards program is administered on behalf of The White House by the Points of Light Foundation. More than 1.3 million Presidential Volunteer Service Awards will be conferred to honor various levels of service over the next three-years. Any individual or family in America that has made a sustained commitment to volunteer service during the course of a one-year time period are eligible, with an additional life-time achievement award for 4,000 cumulative volunteer hours available as well. Sign up at www.PresidentialServiceAwards.gov.

Community Stories

3 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters



Rating: 1

Just such a terrible terrible mess. I received falsified spending reports, the promises made were not kept, the only staff members I found smart, valuable or helpful never stay long and then I am stuck talking to the same two or three people that have been there for years, never listen, talk over me. You get the idea.

The technology they sold us didn't work as promised and the solution was endless calls telling us how we used it wrong and not seeing their own errors or lack or usefulness of he tool they sold. Did the review above mine call the technology pre-eminent? They must have low standards.

My employer prides itself on making smart investments in nonprofits that spend money wisely and make a difference in the lives of people. From what I can see the only people whose lives we improved were their senior management team. Five or six people with SVP or Chief of Staff title showed up at our events but didn't do anything other than pose for photos. I can't imagine how anyone thinks they need to pay these people to volunteer. Go find a need in your community and solve it yourself. Do not sit around and wait for Points of Light to take credit for your volunteerism.

Is there a choice for former donor in Your Role?

craig newmark


Rating: 5

These guys do a great job promoting service and volunteerism in the US, helping people find volunteer opportunities online and offline.

Previous Stories


Rating: 5

These guys do great work relating to volunteerism in the US, with AllForGood.org in the fold, become the pre-eminent organization.