Groups Gather for Emergency Summit on Volunteerism as Response to Economic Crisis
NEW HAVEN, Conn., Feb. 26, 2009 — With the philanthropic giving index down 22 percent, and the economic crisis affecting nonprofit organizations nationwide, the Knights of Columbus and Fairfield University's Center for Faith and Public Life will host a summit this week to discuss the role volunteers can play in helping their communities to recover from the financial crisis.
The summit, "A Nation of Neighbors Helping Neighbors: A Summit on Volunteerism as a Response to the Economic Crisis," will be held at the Marriott East Side in New York City on Friday, February 27, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It will be webcast live at www.kofc.org.
Executives from more than three dozen educational, corporate, charitable and governmental organizations will discuss the ways in which volunteers and volunteer organizations can respond to community needs made increasingly acute by the economic crisis. The organizations include Habitat for Humanity, United Way, the Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, the National Fraternal Congress of America, the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, General Electric, the Foodbank of Greater New Jersey, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network, Goldman Sachs and Volunteers of America.
In a Jan. 23 speech at Fairfield University, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson called for the summit and laid out a vision of what it could accomplish. "If greed — one of the worst aspects of human nature — helped push us into this crisis, then one of the best aspects of our nature — generosity — will be necessary to help pull us out of it," Anderson declared. (http://www.kofc.org/un/eb/en/news/releases/detail/548277.html)
New York Governor David Patterson sent a letter in which he applauded participants for focusing on "how we can harness the energy of this renewed commitment to service to fuel our great Nation's turnaround." The summit sponsors, he said, "remind us of the power of volunteerism to unify and to bring light and hope to so many." (http://kofc.org/un/cmf/resources/communications/documents/vol_gov.pdf)