The Aspen Institute Franklin Project Announces 21st Century National Service Summit

June 24, 2013

Contact: Megan Walker
352-281-4472 /

The Aspen Institute Franklin Project Announces 21st Century National Service Summit

Speakers include Gen. Stanley McChrystal, Arianna Huffington, Chelsea Clinton,
Wendy Kopp, and Barbara Bush

Aspen, CO, July 24 Today the Aspen Institute hosts the 21st Century National Service Summit as the first ever signature lead-in event to the Aspen Ideas Festival. On June 24 and June 25, 2013, the Franklin Project will convene 275 leaders from business, labor, higher education, government, military, faith-based community, philanthropy, and nonprofit organizations, offering new perspectives on the next generation of national service in America. Gen. Stanley McChrystal (Ret., US Army), John Bridgeland and Alan Khazei, co-chairs of the Franklin Project, together with its Leadership Council, and Aspen Institute President and CEO Walter Isaacson will present bold new ideas to make national service a common expectation and opportunity for all young Americans. The Franklin Project is also releasing the 21st Century National Service Action Plan. Participants will also have the opportunity to make specific commitments to fulfill the vision of the Franklin Project.

This action-oriented Summit will make the case for scaling up national service and include remarks and testimonials from Gen. Stanley McChrystal, Former Commander, International Security Assistance Force & US Forces Afghanistan and chair of the Franklin Project’s Leadership Council; CNN Senior Political Analyst and Director of Harvard Kennedy School Center for Public Leadership David Gergen; Vice President Biden’s Chief of Staff Bruce Reed; former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Rob Gordon, Clinton Foundation Board Member Chelsea Clinton; Former US Senator Mel Martinez; Corporation for National and Community Service CEO Wendy Spencer; Journalist, Author & Former California First Lady Maria Shriver; Civic Enterprises CEO and Franklin Project Co-Chair John Bridgeland; City Year Co-Founder and Franklin Project Co-Chair Alan Khazei; ABC News Contributor Matthew Dowd; Former Undersecretary of Defense Michèle Flournoy; Teach for America Founder and Chair Wendy Kopp; former Governor of Idaho, U.S. Senator & US Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne; Global Health Corps CEO and Co-Founder Barbara Bush; Target Community Relations President Laysha Ward; Huffington Post President, Chair and Editor-in-Chief Arianna Huffington; Former Bush White House Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives John DiIulio; PBS President Paula Kerger; White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation Director Jonathan Greenblatt; Peace Corps Deputy Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet; Former Assistant to President George W. Bush,  Michael Gerson; New Orleans, LA Mayor Mitch Landrieu; Providence, RI Mayor Angel Taveras; Nashville, TN Mayor Karl Dean; Bank of America Foundation President Kerry Sullivan; and Aspen Institute President and CEO Walter Isaacson;.

“America is mobilizing to fulfill the power of large-scale civilian national service and to make serving the nation, either as a civilian and or in the military, a new rite of passage for all young Americans,”said Gen. Stanley McChrystal, chair of the Franklin Project Leadership Council.

The Franklin Project was born out of Gen. McChrystal’s remarks at the 2012 Aspen Ideas Festival on the astonishingly low number of Americans engaged in military service and the need for a civilian service equivalent to strengthen our social fabric and address pressing national challenges. Since October 2012, the Franklin Project has convened diverse stakeholders and conducted rigorous research to develop concrete, pragmatic policy proposals to initiate a new era in which a common ethic of service is embedded into our national identity. More information on the Franklin Project is available online at

John Bridgeland, co-chair of the Franklin Project said, “National service is the key to national strength. We need to harness the idealism and energy of young Americans to help solve our nation’s toughest challenges and give them a stake in our democracy.”

Alan Khazei, co-chair of the Franklin Project, added, “This incredible gathering of key leaders at the National Service Summit demonstrates an extraordinary level of commitment to service from across sectors. This Summit will highlight an indispensable opportunity to instill an expectation of national service as a fundamental part of the American experience.”

The Franklin Project’s Plan of Action, which will be released at the Summit, challenges all young adults to commit to one year of full-time service.  The Plan of Action includes the following specific policy ideas and recommendations: 

  • National Service Corps to Meet National Challenges: Create national service corps through national service organizations that bring together people of different backgrounds and zip codes to be trained and work together in solving pressing public problems.
  • Agency Corps: Develop new corps within federal departments and agencies that mobilize citizens through national service to solve public problems at lower cost to the taxpayer.
  • Professional Corps: Enable young professionals to participate in national service programs that allow them to unleash their talent and training to help those in need.
  • National Service Certification: Launch a National Service Certification System, a private-public partnership that leverages technology to enable thousands of nonprofits, colleges, public agencies, and social enterprises to create full-time national service positions with support from the private and public sectors through a “kickstarter” for national service.
  • Civilian Service By and For Veterans: Provide flexibility within the GI Bill to permit veterans to use a portion of their existing benefits to perform up to a year of civilian national service to help address problems in communities and improve more veterans’ transitions back home.
  • Fulfill the Vision of the Serve America Act: Support the full implementation of the Serve America Act, which calls for 250,000 national service positions by 2017.
  • New Pathways to Service: Forge new pathways to service including a “bridge year” of service before college or career and a year of service to help reconnect disconnected youth to school and work.

The Franklin Project also released new research in coordination with the 21st Century National Service Summit, including Voters for National Service: a national survey of registered voters conducted by Hart Research Associates and funded partially by Target which found that 80 percent of registered voters support a system of voluntary national service for people of all ages that provide a living allowance and education award.  Seventy-six percent of respondents said increasing public funding for national service is worth it, to address the significant number of applications to programs like AmeriCorps and Peace Corps. Additionally, 48 percent of registered voters said they would be interested in participating in a national service program in the future. The plan, as well as additional research, is available at the resources tab of or directly at A summary of the discussions at the National Service Summit as well as some video clips will also be available online post-summit.

The Franklin Project is generously sponsored by JPMorgan Chase, Target, Accenture, Bank of America, Burson Marsteller, TIME Magazine, Laura & Gary Lauder, Jonathan & Jeannie Lavine, The Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, the Hauptman Family Foundation, Case Foundation, Entertainment Industry Foundation, Bright House Networks, State Farm, Voices For National Service, and The MCJ Amelior Foundation.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Summit is by invitation-only. However, there is a public program on Tuesday, June 25 at 6:30 pm. The public program will feature Gen. McChrystal, Barbara Bush, Mitch Landrieu, and author and US Army veteran Wes Moore. Moderating the conversation will be Washington Post columnist and Brookings Institution fellow E.J. Dionne. Event details and RSVP information can be found at

About the Aspen Institute

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit


View Comments