June 3, 2003 - Cleveland Plain Dealer: USA Freedom Corps Director John Bridgeland applauds Cleveland program

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By Admin1 (admin) on Friday, June 13, 2003 - 9:52 am: Edit Post

USA Freedom Corps Director John Bridgeland applauds Cleveland program

Read and comment on this story from the Cleveland Plain Dealer on USA Freedom Corps Director John Bridgeland's trip to Cleveland where he applauded the Business Volunteers Unlimited. The group has trained and placed more than 700 corporate leaders on 240 nonprofit agency boards that needed their expertise. Read the story at:

Bush aide applauds Cleveland program*

* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.

Bush aide applauds Cleveland program

Susan Ruiz Patton
Plain Dealer Reporter

President Bush's top aide on volunteerism says Cleveland has what the rest of the country needs - an organization like Business Volunteers Unlimited.

And that endorsement, said Business Volunteers founder and CEO Alice Korngold, could help fulfill her dream of expanding the organization across the nation.

John Bridgeland, director of USA Freedom Corps, which is run out of the White House, has been touring the country this year encouraging business leaders to get their customers, employees and colleagues to answer the president's call to volunteer.

It's an uphill battle. Research shows a 30-year decline in volunteerism, Bridgeland told a Cleveland group of more than 165 business and nonprofit leaders yesterday.

The same research, done by Robert Putnam for his book "Bowling Alone," also showed the biggest barriers to volunteerism are time constraints and other limitations imposed by the workplace.

But those barriers are falling, Bridgeland said.

For example, he met an Ohioan whose employer gave him three hours a week and transportation from work so he could tutor a kindergartner.

The girl became the first in her family to learn to read.

"It's powerful the impact one person can have," Bridgeland said.

Businesses are receptive to volunteerism, but they often don't know how to get started, he said. That's why Bridgeland tells them about Business Volunteers United.

In the last 10 years, the group has trained and placed more than 700 corporate leaders on 240 nonprofit agency boards that needed their expertise.

The Business Volunteers model has been copied in Lorain and Baltimore, and Korngold is working with six more cities interested in doing the same.

Also yesterday, Bridgeland launched a movement called Business Strengthening America, a national organization of businesses encouraging customers, employees and peers to volunteer.

Locally, Enterprise Rent-A-Car has signed up as a member, offering its full- and part-time employees a chance to earn two "community care" days to spend volunteering, said Kevin Keene, vice president and general manager of Enterprise Rent-A-Car of Northeast Ohio.

Keene served as campaign chairman for United Way Services of Greater Cleveland last year and has volunteered with the Diabetes Association of Greater Cleveland.

Said Keene, "It's just good business."

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:

spatton@plaind.com, 216-999-4937

© 2003 The Plain Dealer. Used with permission.

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