Service Year Alliance provides unprecedented and comprehensive support to the service year sector, encompassing recruitment and marketing, organizational growth and learning, service year corps member support, a tech-enabled marketplace — ServiceYear.org — to match organizations and young people, and policy and advocacy.
Imagine the impact if we unleash the energy and ambition of a generation of emerging adults through a service year.
That’s why we’re asking nonprofits, AmeriCorps programs, cities, higher education institutions, companies, policymakers of both parties, and people of all ages to join us, to really work with us, to expand service year opportunities in our communities, throughout our nation, and across the world.
Service Year Alliance's Founding Story
Service Year Alliance is working to make a year of paid, full-time service — a service year — a common expectation and opportunity for all young Americans.
Service Year Alliance was formed in January 2016 as a result of a merger of three national organizations: ServiceNation at Be The Change, Inc., The Franklin Project at The Aspen Institute, and the Service Year Exchange at the National Conference on Citizenship.
ServiceNation launched during the 2008 presidential campaign when Barack Obama and John McCain joined the ServiceNation Summit to speak about the need to expand national service opportunities for all Americans. The Franklin Project was born at the 2012 Aspen Ideas Festival when General (Ret.) Stan McChrystal, now the Chairperson of Service Year Alliance, called for large-scale civilian national service to engage more Americans in serving community and country. The Service Year Exchange — the first-ever service year marketplace — was created with support from Cisco to bring 21st century technology to the national service field with an eye toward scaling the service year movement.
Each with their own story, the three organizations merged not because they had to or because any of the organizations were struggling. Rather, the individual brands were put aside as it became clear that a single organization would be best positioned to advance a shared mission: making a year of service a common expectation and opportunity for all young Americans.
In 2015 — in the lead up to the merger and ultimately the creation of our organization — Service Year Alliance conducted extensive market research and listening tours with practitioners, funders, and historians of the service year sector. The goal was to understand the shared challenges and missed opportunities that could be tackled together to grow service years in the world today. The result was a strategic plan to achieve the ambitious goal of 100,000 service year opportunities by 2019 and the creation conditions for large-scale, long-term growth for our field.
Today, our nonpartisan organization provides unprecedented and comprehensive support to the service year sector, encompassing recruitment and marketing, organizational growth and learning, service year corps member support, a tech-enabled marketplace to match organizations and young people, and policy and advocacy.
The idea of service to community and country is not new, but given today’s circumstances, we approach it with renewed urgency. Today, our country is facing profound challenges but lacks common purpose. Divides in our society — regional, racial, religious, and economic — overshadow the values that unite us. Trust in one another is at an historic low. To heal, we need to reconnect with one another and rekindle a sense of shared responsibility and purpose.
The force of service years at scale can put young people into productive work, while training them in the habits of citizenship. A year of service can restore a sense of common purpose, while helping children at risk, supporting transitioning veterans, responding to natural disasters, and empowering communities struggling with poverty. It can unite the most diverse nation in history, connecting people of different backgrounds to solve public problems together. It can inspire the next generation of young Americans to serve for a year and, in the process, forge them into the active citizens and leaders our nation needs.