The U. S. Senate confirmed President George W. Bush's nomination of Mark D. Gearan as a member of the Board of Directors of the Corporation for National and Community Service on Nov. 16. His term extends through Dec. 1, 2010.
The bipartisan 15-member board sets overall policy and direction for the Corporation and its programs. The Corporation is the nation's largest grant maker for volunteering and service, engaging more than two million Americans of all ages and backgrounds in service each year through its Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, VISTA, NCCC, and Learn and Serve America programs. The Corporation works closely with USA Freedom Corps, a White House office dedicated to expanding volunteer service in America.
“We’re delighted the Senate has confirmed Mark Gearan to another term, said Board Chair Stephen Goldsmith. “Mark Gearan is a national leader with decades of experience who will provide key insight and direction as we work to engage more Americans in solving problems in their communities.
Serving as President of Hobart and William Smith Colleges since 1999, Gearan has reinforced the Colleges’ commitment to global understanding and study abroad opportunities, community service and service-learning. On the national level, Gearan serves on the boards of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, the Points of Light Foundation, the Annapolis Group, the Partnership for Public Service, and Campus Compact.
In 1995, President William J. Clinton appointed Gearan as the Director of the Peace Corps. Prior to this, he served as Assistant to the President and White House Director of Communications and White House Deputy Chief of Staff. Before his service in the Clinton Administration, Gearan was the Deputy Director of the Clinton/Gore Transition Team in 1992 and the Campaign Manger for the Vice Presidential campaign of Al Gore in 1992. Gearan served two previous terms on the Corporation’s Board, from December 2000 through December 2002, and from December 2004 to December 2005.
“I am honored by this appointment and thank the President and the Senate for giving me this opportunity to serve, Gearan said. “Service is a vital part of the American character and the way our country tackles its problems. I’m delighted to be rejoining the Board at such an exciting time, and look forward to supporting the good work being done by millions of Americans through national and community service.
Gearan’s appointment comes at a time of strong positive momentum for the agency and the larger volunteer sector. Volunteering is at historically high levels, with more than 61 million Americans giving an estimated 8.1 billion hours of service in 2006. The two million participants in the Corporation’s programs are providing results-driven service through tens of thousands of nonprofit and community organizations, addressing America’s toughest problems of poverty, illiteracy, gangs, and disasters and acting as a powerful catalyst and force-multiplier for community volunteering. On the management side, the agency just received the most successful audit opinion in its 14-year history, capping a series of improvements to cut costs, increase efficiency, reduce burdens, and improve customer service.
To spur further growth in the ranks and effectiveness of America’s volunteers, the Corporation’s Board approved a five-year strategic plan in 2005 that embraces bold national goals in four specific focus areas: mobilizing more volunteers, ensuring a brighter future for all of America’s youth, engaging students in communities, and harnessing baby boomers’ experience. The plan includes specific targets for the country to reach by 2010, such as 75 million Americans volunteering, 3 million more at-risk youth with mentors, 3 million at-risk youth serving others in their communities, service-learning in half of all K-12 schools, and 3 million more baby boomers in service. Last May, the board directed the agency’s CEO to work with OMB to add a fifth strategic initiative on disaster preparedness and recovery to the plan.
The Corporation for National and Community Service improves lives, strengthens communities, and fosters civic engagement through service and volunteering. Providing service opportunities for millions of Americans of all ages and backgrounds, Corporation programs include Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America. For more information, visit nationalservice.gov.