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National Service: David Gergen, City Year and the Social Change Agenda

May 25, 2009


May 25, 2009

Former Presidential Advisor David Gergen pushes more than 70 service organizations into a ‘new order’ of shared sacrifice

Aaron Dykes / Jones Report | May 25, 2009

Behind globalist David Gergen is the real sense of “change” that came in with Barack Obama’s election. The enthusiasm for this new president was met with calls for service and sacrifice– and that is something former presidential advisor Gergen put on the agenda years ago.

Gergen now lectures in public service at Harvard and directs its Center for Public Leadership at the John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Prior to the 2008 election, he was among those pushing for an expansion of Americorps from some 75,000 to more than 250,000 volunteers. That increase was quickly approved– by that exact number– under the passage of the National Service Act in the opening weeks of the Obama Administration.

One face of that expansion of service has come in City Year, on whose board David Gergen sits. In 2007, Gergen also helped push some 70 other groups through the ‘America Forward’ coalition along with a ‘venture philanthropy fund’ called New Profit, Inc. One of its groups was even founded by Gen. Colin Powell.

Gergen wrote that his first visit to City Year “was electrifying… there was so much vitality in the room that I came back and said, ‘I’m almost ready to give up my day job and go over there and work with them’.”

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