How We Are Making It Happen

Goal 1: Create a measurable pathway to one million service year positions as a rite of passage by 2023

Developing Service Year exchange (SYx)

The Franklin Project, in partnership with the National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC), is developing a new system of national service certification, known as the “Service Year exchange" (SYx) that connects three groups:  1) young people in search of service year opportunities; 2) nonprofits and agencies offering such service year positions; and 3) funders of such positions from the private sector and government at all levels and through crowd funding.  

Development of the SYx is generously supported by Cisco and the Lumina Foundation and the website is scheduled to launch in late 2015 or early 2016. The Franklin Project is working closely with NCoC’s service year team to ensure the SYx receives adequate buy-in from key stakeholders, including funders, Millennials, current service year host organizations to participate in the platform, and nonprofits large and small.

White House Task Force on Expanding National Service

Born out of a document the Franklin Project originally drafted that became a Presidential Memorandum, the Task Force on Expanding National Service calls on all Federal Agencies to explore and report on how they might utilize national service and create new service year positions. A number of federal agencies have emerged with innovative new models as a result of the Task Force, including the 21st Century Conservation Services Corps, which the Franklin Project has played a particularly active role in cultivating.

Creating Service Year in a Box

The Franklin Project is working with NCoC to create a “Service Year in a Box” that will provide a template for nonprofits to create service year opportunities and to share with their chapters and affiliates.

Expanding Statewide National Service

In February 2014, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad signed Executive Order 84, creating the Governor’s Council on National Service, which will expand national service opportunities across departments and agencies, in partnership with the private sector, across Iowa. The Executive Order and Governor’s Council were developed in partnership with the Franklin Project. The Franklin Project is providing ongoing support for the development of state agency corps in other states.  

Inspiring innovative new college and university-based service year models

Tufts, Tulane, William & Mary, University of Pennsylvania, Davidson, UC Hastings School of Law, and The Curtis Institute have all created new and innovative service year programs for their students. Through a grant with the Lumina Foundation, the Franklin Project is working to build partnerships to grant academic credit for service year experiences and create an online learning platform that connects courses of study with service on our SYx. 

In partnership with NCoC, the Franklin Project recently issued a challenge for all education institutions to submit their innovative ideas for creating new service year positions. Building on the promise of before college or after graduation structures from early adopters, the competition seeks to gain further innovation on integrating learning and service during the college experience itself.  This prize pool will be spread across three categories -- community colleges, public institutions, and private institutions -- with each category winner receiving $30,000. 

Building a pipeline from youth service into a service year

With support from the Bezos Foundation and in partnership with Youth Service America, The Franklin Project convened more than 30 youth service organizations at the Aspen Institute in March of 2014 to consider how to build a deliberate pipeline from youth service into national service. Organizations in attendance included Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4-H, Future Farmers of America, and others. 



Goal 2: Inspire Americans to understand and embrace national service and a service year

Convened Summit at Gettysburg

The Franklin Project’s Summit at Gettysburg, from June 4-6, 2014, brought together 350 outstanding participants from the private sector, higher education, government, the military, faith communities, philanthropy, and nonprofit organizations on historic ground. The primary purpose of the Summit was to shift people’s thinking from a belief in the goodness of the “big idea” to a belief in its achievability, using the historic Gettysburg as our backdrop. During the Summit, a new Service Year Alliance—consisting of the Franklin Project, National Conference on Citizenship, ServiceNation, and Voices for National Service—emerged to embrace a common vision and plan of action to meet the goal of one million service year positions annually over the coming decade. 

Millions of dollars were also committed in support of national service at the Gettysburg Summit, including a $3 million matching challenge grant from Cisco, a $3.1 million investment from Delaware North in HOPE Crews as part of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps, $30 million in education scholarships announced by the Corporation for National and Community Service, and the creation of Justice AmeriCorps to engage lawyers and paralegals in service.

Conducted study on “The Economic Value of National Service”

The Franklin Project commissioned the report, “The Economic Value of National Service,” which can be found here and was completed in partnership with Voices for National Service. The study found that national service delivers greater than a 3-to-1 return on investment, and that those returns increase with scale.

Featured in report by Bipartisan Policy Center

The Franklin Project was also featured in the Bipartisan Policy Center’s report, associated event, and press titled Governing in a Polarized America with its “Call to Service.”

Generating media attention

The Franklin Project and Service Year Alliance partners have generated significant media attention and put national service back on the public agenda in the last two years, after the issue had lost significant momentum.  The Franklin Project has been mentioned in hundreds of media pieces across local, national and global outlets, generating millions of exposures to the idea of universal national service. We’ve also established a presence on social media through our @FranklinProj Twitter account.



Goal 3: Build an ecosystem for national service in the 21st century

Employers of National Service

In partnership with the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps Alums, and CNCS, the Franklin Project helped to launch Employers of National Service at the White House in September 2014. Through this initiative, we plan to ensure that a service year becomes part of a deliberate, credentialed pathway to employment. Since its launch last fall, more than 150 companies, nonprofits, and public agencies such as Disney, Comcast, CSX, Sodexho, Miami-Dade County Public Schools, United Way Worldwide, The American Red Cross, the city of Philadelphia, the city of Nashville, and others have signed on as Employers of National Service. Dorothy McAuliffe, First Lady of Virginia, joined the Franklin Project's CGI Whisper Conversation hosted by Chelsea Clinton and recently announced with Governor McAuliffe the addition of the Commonwealth of Virginia as the first state to become an Employer of National Service.

Enlisting America Pledge

During the Summit at Gettysburg in June 2014, the Franklin Project released the “Enlisting America” Pledge, signed by over 200 flag and general officers, 60 senior enlisted personnel, and 9 Veterans and Military Organizations. The signatories have spent over 6,500 years in service to country. The pledge is now open to anyone from the military community who supports the big idea of every American serving his or her country for at least a year as a civilian or in the military.

Inspiring Cities and States to Scale National Service on the Local Level

The Franklin Project is partnering with Flint, Michigan and New York City to expand service year opportunities. Flint plans to expand service year opportunities tenfold—from 30 to 300 in the coming years. New York City is in the midst of a planning process to expand service year opportunities from around 5,000 to around 10,000, with the United Way of New York City and NYC Service as partner organizations.

Inspired by the vision of the Franklin Project, Baltimore Corps recently launched with its first class of fellows. More information on Baltimore Corps is available at