Three Orgs Join Forces to Increase Service Year Opportunities for Youth

Three nonprofit organizations officially announced a merger today to form Service Year Alliance, an organization whose mission is to make a year of paid, full-time service a common opportunity for young Americans.

The three organizations merged in January 2016 under a joint venture of Be The Change, Inc., and The Aspen Institute, and were formerly known as ServiceNation, the Franklin Project and the Service Year Exchange.

According to a press release, in addition to increasing service years in the country from its current number of 65,000 to 100,000 by 2019, Service Year Alliance aims to set up a Washington, D.C. policy shop and an alliance among influential citizens, members of Congress and the presidential administration.

To boost recruiting efforts, Service Year Alliance has partnered with the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that places AmeriCorps members. Service Year Alliance has also launched an online marketplace, underwritten by Cisco, to make it easier for prospective young people to connect with service-year opportunities.

“In communities across the nation and around the world, tens of thousands of service year corps members are already working to address local needs — making a huge impact on important issues such as education, inequality, opportunity youth, the environment, and health,” said Shirley Sagawa, CEO of Service Year Alliance, in the press release. “Imagine the impact if we unleash the energy and idealism of the next generation of young Americans through a service year. With this merger, the service year community has the plan in place and is poised to achieve these ambitious goals.”

Service Year Alliance Executive Director Zach Maurin. Photo: Aspen Institute
Service Year Alliance Executive Director Zach Maurin. Photo: Aspen Institute

According to Service Year Alliance Executive Director Zach Maurin, the number of service years has been essentially flat for nearly 10 years.

“By merging, we integrated our strategies to work efficiently together,” Maurin said in an email. “For example, one organization was focused on marketing/recruitment and the other was building an online marketplace to help young people find positions. One was doing grassroots advocacy and the other was focused on Washington, D.C. policy. Each of these areas (and others) work far better together.”

Maurin also said it was a funder-supported planning process that resulted in a three-way merger and a comprehensive four-year plan.

Service Year Alliance is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and has a team of regional field directors across the country.

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Christie Renick
About Christie Renick 123 Articles
Tucson-based Southwest Editor for The Chronicle of Social Change. Follow @christiejrenick.