By Jack Levine
Founder of 4Generations Institute, communications and public policy consultant and Director of GRANDPartners for GRANDParents
I’m excited send this message from the National Volunteer Conference in Washington, D.C. sponsored by the Points of Light Foundation and the Corporation for National and Community Service.
With some 5,400 community-based attendees in attendance representing all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Guam, as well as some 15 foreign nations, we were inspired by an opening session that emphasized true bi-partisan dedication to community service despite political differences. Among the impressive speakers were Democratic Consultant Donna Brazile and Republican Strategist Karl Rove.
In addition, conservative commentator Bill O’Reilly and Barack Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett shared the stage. The messages were clear and consistent…No matter where we stand on the political field of play, we can meet at the 50-yardline in attending to the vexing needs for community involvement through a wide spectrum of service programs for children, elders…and all of us in between.
I had the opportunity to speak personally with Neil Bush, Chairman of the Points of Lights Foundation and one of the “Bush Boys” whose father and brother have served as President, and brother Jeb as Florida Governor. I asked Mr. Bush what influenced his family’s public service passions…his response was quick and clear: “We all learned that a nation which has been so good to us deserves our investments in public service….it’s re-gifting something so valuable to a country we love.”
Then he opened his suit jacket to show me an embroidered signature “George Walker Bush”. He told me that his Dad gave him two of his suits to wear on special occasions, and this conference was one of those occasions. “Quite a hand me down, huh, Jack?” he said with a broad smile.
The Conference Theme “Service Unites” was personified on Day One…..with much more to follow.