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AARP’S Create The Good Teams Up With Richmond’s Volunteer Initiative

Through Create The Good, AARP Virginia has teamed up with the city of Richmond on the Neighbor to Neighbor project to help people who live here make the city a better place to live.

Richmond is one of 10 cities to be named a City of Service in 2010, receiving a grant to help fund the initiative that will promote civic engagement among the residents of Richmond.

Richmond competed with other cities from across the country and was one of 10 cities to receive the $200,000 grant over a two-year period.  Funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and Bloomberg Philanthropies, the funds were made available exclusively for the hiring of a Chief Service Officer, Paul Manning, who is overseeing the Neighbor to Neighbor project.  

In addition to Richmond, Atlanta, GA; Austin, TX; Baltimore, MD; Baton Rouge, LA; Chula Vista, CA; Houston, TX; Little Rock, AK; Orlando, FL; and Pittsburg, PA were also selected as grant recipients.

Richmond, as a City of Service, will be promoting its Neighbor to Neighbor initiative.  Neighbor-to-Neighbor is intended to bring out the best in each of us as we support our neighbors in a variety of ways as volunteers.  Neighbor-to-Neighbor will be made-up of individuals of all ages, races, ethnicities, genders, and faith persuasions.  It is made up of the residents of the great city of Richmond, where history and the present merge in transformative ways to bring out the best in everyone.

Through the meaningful integration of volunteers, the Neighbor-to-Neighbor initiative will provide extraordinary civic engagement to strengthen the city through cultivated relationships in all neighborhoods. This innovative initiative is designed to inspire residents to develop a closer relationship with their neighbors, especially the children, youth, elderly and disabled residents of our community.

The Neighbor-to-Neighbor Program was launched by Mayor Dwight Jones in April 2010 and is designed to engage citizens in volunteerism, as they support their neighbors with a commitment to service.  Neighbor-to-Neighbor projects have included mentoring to children in schools, visiting the elderly, as well as providing home repairs for elderly population, beautification projects throughout the city, supporting various special events, and youth programs to include back-to-school shopping and several others.  

Manning’s position of Chief Service Officer is being funded through a Cities of Service Leadership Grant that was awarded to the city on June 30, 2010.  “We went through a very competitive process with cities from across the country as only 10 cities were selected to receive the $200,000 grant over a two year period,” said city Chief Administrative Officer Byron Marshall.  “Funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and Bloomberg Philanthropies, the funds were made available exclusively for the hiring of a Chief Service Officer.”

About Cities of Service

Founded in New York City on Sept. 10, 2009 with 17 initial 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:

  • Developing a comprehensive service plan and a coordinated strategy focused on matching volunteers and established community partners to the areas of greatest local need;
  • Working with other mayors and elected officials to advance strategies and best practices that accelerate the service movement and produce measurable results;
  • Encouraging other mayors to join this national effort to engage our citizens; and
  • Ensuring that the voice of cities is heard in federal legislative, policy, and program discussions related to service, which will help the country achieve the ambitious goals of the Serve America Act.

The Cities of Service coalition was formed on September 10, 2010 to find new and innovative ways to harness the power of volunteers to help solve pressing local challenges.  The coalition aims to accelerate the service movement at the most local level, connecting local needs to willing volunteers in innovative and impactful ways, thus creating a new chapter in America’s longstanding history with service.

Today the coalition includes over 100 mayors who represent more than 49 million Americans.  Like the original seventeen Mayors, each coalition member has made a commitment to advance service strategies in their city by crafting a high-impact service plan and to work with other mayors around the country.  Twenty member cities have been awarded Cities of Service Leadership Grants, $200,000 two-year grants funded jointly by the Rockefeller Foundation and Bloomberg Philanthropies.  These grants fund the hiring of a Chief Service Officer and fuel the development and implementation of high-impact service plans.

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