Service: Uniting Us All

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Last month, Innovations for Learning’s team had the opportunity to participate in the Points of Light Conference (POL), the world’s largest conference dedicated to service, according to the POL website. An estimated 3,000 people from across sectors (nonprofit, government and business) and borders (37 countries!) attended, connected, and volunteered at Detroit’s Cobo Center.

Conference highlights ranged from notable speaker Lonnie Ali (humanitarian and wife of Muhammad Ali) to the presentation of the 2016 Civic 50, companies recognized for their civic mindedness and community engagement.

Innovations for Learning participated in the conference for the 5th year in a row and had the privilege of hosting a panel for the second time. On our panel, Boost your Volunteerism with Tech: Employees Go Virtual, we were joined by panelists Murleen Coakley of Detroit Public Schools, Renee Roberts of UPS, Jamie Sedlacek of Quicken Loans, and Moderator Chris Jarvis of Realized Worth. Audience members engaged in lively conversation about best practices in virtual volunteering, trends, advantages and challenges.

Our one-on-one online tutoring program, TutorMate, was used as an example of an effective and ever-evolving virtual volunteering platform that has been found to be both impactful from a literacy and mentorship standpoint and rewarding from a volunteer perspective. Chairman of POL, Neil Bush, even made a cameo appearance to share remarks about the impact of his own online tutoring experience with TutorMate. Mr. Bush is also the Board Chair of Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation, a nonprofit that relies on volunteers to drive its literacy-focused mission, much like TutorMate does in a virtual capacity across the country. Previous comments by Mr. Bush can be seen here.

In addition to meaningful, collaborative opportunities with organizations interested in virtual volunteering, IFL’s TutorMate Team joined the rally around volunteerism and service with a unified passion among the hundreds of nonprofits and corporations striving to overcome some of the country’s and the world’s most pressing issues. Did you know that several companies have partnered to establish the IMPACT 2030 coalition to help achieve the 2030 UN Development Goals with the support of Points of Light? One of the 17 goals is to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”

Corporations are pledging their time and resources in concert with nonprofits like never before, aiming to make large-scale progress in our communities. It’s inspiring to witness individuals and organizations coming together in an effort to fulfill critical needs in our local, national and global communities, and it’s imperative that we continue to deepen this collaborative work, pooling knowledge and resources, to overcome society’s most pervasive challenges.

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