02/20/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

The Business Of Service

We find ourselves at a unique moment: America faces a crisis of historic proportions amid equally historic levels of enthusiasm to repair our world. Everyone wants to serve. President-elect Obama has promised to expand Americorps and the Peace Corps and to channel the civic energies of the American public through new vehicles, such as an Education Corps or Green Jobs Corps. Supplementing these efforts, nonprofit organizations like City Year , Teach for America , and YouthBuild seem poised to explode.

Yet beyond government and nonprofits, a third sector has a significant role to play -- the business community. The corporations and small businesses that power American growth and shape our society have an opportunity to make a major impact. If we engage them, they could be the fuel that turbo-charges our vision of national service.