Second Annual Innovation Challenge to Foster Higher Education-Affiliated Service Year Positions

January 14, 2016

For Immediate Release
Contact:  MacKenzie Moritz
The Service Year Alliance

Applications will be accepted from January 13 through March 11 with finalists competing in a Challenge Day on April 12 in Washington, DC

Washington, DC, January 14, 2016 –– The Service Year Alliance, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), Campus Compact and the Lumina Foundation announce the Service Year + Higher Ed Innovation Challenge. All post-secondary education institutions are invited to participate in the challenge running from January 13 to April 12, 2016. Each college or university entrant will compete for a prize to support the planning and creation of new education-affiliated service year positions. Lumina Foundation is supporting the prize. The challenge seeks to promote innovative ideas related to the integration of learning and service during the college experience. There will be three categories of entrants – public, private, and community colleges – with each category winner receiving $30,000. Additionally, an Audience Choice Award winner will receive a $10,000 prize.

This is the second year of the Service Year + Higher Ed Innovation Challenge. Last year, challenge winners were Drake University, Miami Dade College, and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

The Service Year Alliance is an initiative of Be The Change and the Aspen Institute that seeks to make a year of national service – a service year – a common opportunity, cultural expectation and new civic rite of passage for young people growing up in America. More information about the challenge can be found at

Eligibility and Applications
To be eligible for the challenge, institutions must design a service year program that will result in academic credit, meet Service Year exchange certification criteria, be designed for sustainability, have the support of the institution’s leadership, and provide a model for other similar post-secondary institutions. Applications can be submitted online starting January 13 through March 11 at We will be hosting three Q&A webinars for participants: January 28, February 16, and March 1. For more information on the webinars, and to register, please visit

Finalists and Judges
Finalists will be announced on March 21. Finalists will be invited to present their program concepts in person to a panel of judges, including potential funders, during an all-day event on April 12 at the Aspen Institute in Washington, DC. Esteemed leaders participating as judges for the Shirley Sagawa, CEO of the Service Year Alliance, former Chief Service Officer of the National Conference on Citizenship and former Deputy Chief of Staff for First Lady Hillary Clinton; John Bridgeland former Director, White House Domestic Policy Council under President George W. Bush, Member, White House Council for Community Solutions under President Obama, and Service Year Alliance Board Member; Andrew Seligsohn, President of Campus Compact; Holly Zanville, Strategy Director at the Lumina Foundation; and additional judges to be announced.

“Thanks to the support of the Lumina Foundation, along with our partners the Corporation for National and Community Service and Campus Compact, we are thrilled to be hosting the Service Year + Higher Ed Innovation Challenge for the second year in a row,” said Shirley Sagawa, CEO of the Service Year Alliance. “The competition enables higher education institutions to think creatively about integrating service years into new initiatives at colleges and universities across the country. Not only will the new initiatives work to solve local problems, but we believe they will be truly transformative for the students who participate in the programs by preparing them to be future leaders, giving them important skills for the workplace and inspiring them to serve in various ways for the rest of their lives.”

Portions of the April 12 event will be live streamed on the Aspen Institute website.

A limited number of press passes are available. For more information on attending as media, please contact Tara Maller, Director of Strategic Communications for the Service Year Alliance, at

About the Challenge Partners

The Service Year Alliance is an initiative of Be The Change and the Aspen Institute that seeks to make a year of national service – a service year – a common opportunity, cultural expectation and new civic rite of passage for young people growing up in America. This new organization was created through the recent merger of the Franklin Project, Service Nation, and the Service Year Exchange.

Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation committed to increasing the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees, certificates and other credentials to 60 percent by 2025. Lumina’s outcomes-based approach focuses on helping to design and build an accessible, responsive and accountable higher education system while fostering a national sense of urgency for action to achieve Goal 2025.

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is a federal agency that engages millions of Americans in service through its AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Social Innovation Fund, and Volunteer Generation Fund programs, and leads the President’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit CNCS also administers the Presidents Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest honor a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning, and civic engagement.

Campus Compact is a national coalition of nearly 1,100 colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education. We are a network comprising a national office and 34 state and regional Campus Compacts. As the only national higher education association dedicated solely to campus-based civic engagement, Campus Compact enables campuses to develop students’ citizenship skills and forge effective community partnerships. Our resources support faculty and staff as they pursue community-based teaching and scholarship in the service of positive change.

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization. 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 an office in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit

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