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Branstad establishes commission to help grow volunteerism

Gov. Terry Branstad
Gov. Terry Branstad
DES MOINES – Gov. Terry E. Branstad today signed Executive Order 84, which creates the Governor’s Council on National Service in Iowa.

Being led by the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service, the Governor’s Council on National Service in Iowa includes leaders from state agencies, higher education, and the private sector to make recommendations on how to expand national service for Iowans to more efficiently and effectively carryout the work of government and engage a new generation of Iowans.

“It is critical we engage more people in service to our country to have a stake in its future,” said Branstad. “Building the investment and ownership in our communities through civic engagement will pay dividends immediately and for generations to come.”

The Governor’s Council on National Service in Iowa will complement the national initiative, the Franklin Project, which is working to renew citizenship in the country. General Stanley McCrystal has been leading the charge as chair of the Franklin Project Leadership Council.

Franklin Project is working on developing a national online technology platform, creating a national service certification system, and pushing for significant increases in the number of one-year national service opportunities in the country.

“Volunteer service will not only transform the lives of the individuals who serve, but it will help meet critical community needs, instill a sense of civic duty in Iowans, build leadership skills, and foster a greater sense of giving back,” said Lt. Governor Reynolds.

As part of the announcement, Drake University announced plans to develop a national service program to provide students a post-graduate experience serving at Des Moines area nonprofits.

One example of private sector involvement: MidAmerican Energy provides funding for five national service Green Iowa AmeriCorps members in partnership with the Center on Sustainable Communities and the City of Des Moines to help homeowners learn about weatherization and energy audits.

“Iowa’s proud tradition of neighbor helping neighbor will become even stronger thanks to this bold step to expand national service and volunteer opportunities in Iowa,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which administers AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and other national service programs.” I salute Governor Branstad and the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service for their leadership in establishing this first-in-the nation Governor’s Council, which builds on our work to grow national service through the President’s Task Force on Expanding National Service.”

The Council aligns with the Branstad-Reynolds administration’s goal of making Iowa a volunteering leader. In his inaugural address Branstad said, “Let us all renew our commitment to get involved: help the homeless, feed the hungry, minister to the sick, pray for the wayward. To make each of our communities better by stepping up and stepping out. And to those who are most fortunate, we bear a special responsibility to extend the ladder of opportunity to those in need.”

The following is the text of Executive Order 84:

Executive Order Number Eighty-four

WHEREAS, volunteerism and service is an integral part to Iowa’s future and well-being; and

WHEREAS, Iowans are dedicated to making a difference in both their local communities and throughout the country through service and volunteering as demonstrated by the more than 79.8 million hours volunteered in 2012; and

WHEREAS, applications from individuals seeking to participate in national service programs far exceed the number of available positions and by creating new partnerships that expand national service opportunities in areas aligned with agency missions, volunteers can both impact those they serve and develop skills that will enable the volunteers to help prepare them for long-term careers and build a pipeline to employment; and

WHEREAS, the demand for young people to serve our country is strong.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Terry E. Branstad, Governor of the State of Iowa, declare that volunteerism is an integral part to Iowa’s future and well-being. I hereby order the creation of the Governor’s Council on National Service in Iowa (“Council”).

Purpose: The Council shall make recommendations on how to expand volunteer opportunities and national service for Iowans both here in Iowa and across the country.

Organization: The Council shall be composed of members appointed by the Governor. Each member will serve at the pleasure of the Governor without compensation and in an advisory capacity. The Governor shall select the chair and co-chair from the council members.

Council: Members of the Council shall include the following members appointed by the Governor:
Executive Director of the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service
Representatives from private businesses
Representatives from private foundations or charities
Representatives from State Government
Representatives from local government
Representatives from preschool, elementary, secondary, or post-secondary education
Representatives of private employers who hire job candidates with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) skills
Representatives from the faith community
A representative from the Corporation for National and Community Service
Any other individuals that the Governor may appoint.

Goals: The Council shall have the following objectives:
Identify existing and new policies or practices that support the expansion of national service opportunities in Iowa; and
Facilitate and identify opportunities for interagency agreements between the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service and other State departments, local governments, school district or other subdivisions of the State to support the expansion of national service in Iowa and help agencies meet their mission efficiently and effectively; and
Develop new public/private partnerships to support the expansion of national service in Iowa and help agencies meet their mission; and
Use technology to facilitate the certification of qualified nonprofits, public agencies, and social enterprises to create national service opportunities, recruit and retain service members; and
Reach other goals and objectives as requested by the Office of the Governor.

The Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service shall provide staff support to the Council, as needed, to enable the Council to fulfill its responsibilities. The Council’s meeting shall be open pursuant to Iowa Code chapter 21.

All agencies, departments and boards of the State of Iowa shall cooperate fully with the Council. The Council may seek the expertise and services of individuals and entities outside its membership for research, advice and other needs, as required to accomplish its mission. The Council shall report its preliminary findings and make them available to the public no later than July 1, 2014. The Council shall report its final recommendations and findings no later than February 1, 2015 and dissolve on February 1, 2015 or upon the date of completion of the work described herein, whichever is sooner.






About the ICVS (or Volunteer Iowa)

The Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service and its partner agencies work with organizations and individuals on three main fronts. The first is to help agencies develop quality programs that use service as a strategy to fulfill their missions and address Iowa’s greatest areas of need. The second is to help engage Iowans in their communities by promoting service and expanding the volunteer base. Finally, the third area of work is to connect individuals with appropriate service opportunities by building the volunteer infrastructure. More information is available at

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