Groups to Gather for Emergency Summit on Volunteerism as Response to Economic Crisis


Key organizations from around the country will attend February 27 event in New York City

With the philanthropic giving index down 22 percent, and the economic crisis affecting nonprofit organizations nationwide, Fairfield University's Center for Faith and Public Life and the Knights of Columbus will host a summit to discuss the role volunteers can play in helping their communities to recover from the financial crisis.

The summit will be held at the Marriott East Side in New York City on February 27, and will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

To date more than three dozen educational, corporate, charitable and governmental organizations have responded and will be sending executives to discuss the ways in which volunteers and volunteer organizations can respond to the needs of their communities made increasingly acute by the economic crisis. These attending organizations include affiliates of Habitat for Humanity, the United Way, the Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, the National Fraternal Congress, the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, General Electric, the Foodbank of Greater New Jersey, Connecticut Public Broadcasting, Goldman Sachs and Volunteers of America.

In a speech Jan. 23 at Fairfield University, Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, invited the nation's top charitable and volunteer organizations to attend the summit entitled "A Nation of Neighbors Helping Neighbors: A Summit on Volunteerism as a Response to the Economic Crisis."

"A lack of concern for our neighbors within our financial system contributed greatly to the critical economic situation we face today," said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. "By sharing our ideas, experience, and creating a solid plan for the future of volunteerism, our nation's volunteer-promoting organizations, from a variety of sectors - have the ability to be a wonderful force for good as they facilitate neighbors helping their neighbors to rebuild their lives and their communities."

Fairfield President Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J., said, "The global economy is facing one of its biggest challenges in a generation. While this economic crisis is still very much in its early phase, what seems indisputable is that we are about to enter an extended period of increased hardship within our communities, and increased poverty of resources in communities and nations around the world. It is certainly incumbent on our governments to respond to this crisis with alacrity, but we also know that governments can only do so much, and that we will have to look to our religious institutions, to our Universities, and to the non-profit and volunteer sectors in general to rise to the occasion and find creative solutions to the problems that we need to confront."

Friday's summit will feature three panel discussions with speakers from top national and regional volunteer organizations and programs. Additionally, all attendees will be included in round-table discussions on the issue of tapping volunteerism to aid in our nation's economic recovery.

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Media Contact: Martha Milcarek, Asst. Vice President for Public Relations, (203) 254-4190

Posted on February 25, 2009

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