HandsOn Network Policy Center

Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act of 2009
In a speech to a joint session of Congress and the nation on March 26th, President Obama called on the House and Senate to pass the Serve America Act of 2009! The President remarked, "And to encourage a renewed spirit of national service for this and future generations, I ask this Congress to send me the bipartisan legislation that bears the name of Senator Orrin Hatch as well as an American who has never stopped asking what he can do for his country – Senator Edward Kennedy."

The U.S. Senate passed the Serve America Act, led by Senators Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT), by a majority of 79. The bill unanimously amended and titled by all senators as the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, will dramatically increase levels of volunteerism, improve and expand national service programs, including AmeriCorps, and provide for new pathways of service and social innovation to address our nation's most pressing challenges

About the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act
Originally introduced by Senators Kennedy and Hatch at the ServiceNation Summit in New York City and reintroduced in this congress, this legislation calls for dramatically expanding the opportunities for all Americans to serve in their communities, enabling American to effect real change through citizen service.

The Serve America Act, co-authored by Senator Kennedy (D-MA) and Senator Hatch (R-UT), was originally announced at the ServiceNation Summit in New York City, re-introduced in the Senate January 16, and will:

  • Engage more Americans in a year of national service to solve problems by increasing AmeriCorps from 75,000 to 250,000
  • Create additional opportunities for Americans of all ages to engage in community service
  • Support innovation in the non-profit sector
  • Improve and expand international service opportunities that help better connect America to the world

Summary and statement from Senators Kennedy and Hatch (PDF).

About The Volunteer Generation Fund
The Serve America Act includes a Volunteer Generation Fund which would provide competitive grants to volunteer connector agencies and state service commissions to expand the supply of volunteers and to improve the capacity of non-profits, faith-based and other organizations to use these new volunteers.

This provision authorizes a total of $360 million over the next five years to invest exclusively, and for the first time, in volunteer infrastructure—a proposal which Points of Light Institute and HandsOn Network has championed over the last several years and particularly during the formation of the Act.


Any questions or concerns, contact Julie Murphy, our Director of Government Affairs at Julie.Murphy@pointsoflight.org or (202) 729-8172.