At today's National Conference on Volunteering and Service, we celebrate a significant milestone: A Billion + Change, a coalition of businesses large and small, has inspired the largest commitment of pro bono service in history. A Billion + Change has garnered pledges from more than 500 businesses to offer over two billion dollars of pro bono service to help nonprofits nationwide address critical community priorities that require the type of skill and expertise only available through the private sector.
This corporate commitment to pro bono service may surprise some. It has its roots back in 2008, when the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation reached out to the nonprofit community to identify ways that the government and the private sector could work together to strengthen local communities. The nonprofits' response caught some off guard -- rather than just money, what they needed was access to the IT, finance, and HR talent that is so critical to their operations. So A Billion + Change was formed, to meet these needs by recruiting pro bono talent from companies across the country. And two years ago, a small but determined core of business and service leaders stepped up to mobilize the private sector behind this goal.
When I agreed to serve as the Honorary Chairman of A Billion + Change, it was with the goal of connecting America's nonprofits to the private sector support they need. According to Independent Sector, America's 1.6 million nonprofits represent nearly 10 percent of the national workforce and 5 percent of GDP, but are in dire need of support resources. As a businessman, I knew that amazing, talented individuals who really wanted to make a difference stood just behind the front door of nearly every company in America.
So, I could not be prouder of the private sector response that A Billion + Change has received. From Main Street to Wall Street, businesses have come together to get behind using pro bono service to unite and change individuals, businesses and communities. If we keep at it, together we can transform business culture in America and create a "new normal" in which every company will unleash the talent and expertise of its people in pro bono service.
Now we can celebrate the largest commitment of corporate pro bono service in history. Although we've reached this amazing milestone, our work is just beginning. I hope you'll join us.
This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post and A Billion + Change, a national campaign that has inspired the largest commitment of pro bono service in history. The series is part of A Billion + Change's celebration of mobilizing more than $2 billion worth of corporate pro bono services for nonprofits, which it will announce at "Service Unites," Points of Light's Conference on Volunteering and Service taking place this week in Washington, DC. For more information about the campaign, click here, and for more information about the conference, click here.