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January 21st 2013, A Historic Day of Service

The confluence of the 57th Presidential Inauguration and the 2013 Martin Luther King Day holiday resulted in a historic level of service and citizen engagement across the country. As the federal agency that leads the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, CNCS worked closely with the Presidential Inaugural Committee to make the Presidentís National Day of Service and MLK Day into a Weekend of Service.

The result: Americans in all 50 states came together to make a difference. They delivered meals, refurbished homes and schools, collected food and clothing, signed up mentors, promoted nonviolence, supported veterans and military families, and much more. Download the PDF version.

President Obama

President Obama serves with CEO Wendy Spencer and AmeriCorps members

Continuing a tradition they started during President Obamaís first inauguration in 2009, the First Family contributed their own time to service, helping improve the Burrville Elementary school in Washington, D.C. CEO Wendy Spencer served alongside President Obama, Mrs. Obama, their daughters, and members of City Year, an AmeriCorps grantee.

Vice President Biden

Senior Corps Volunteers serve across the country

Hundreds of Senior Corps volunteers around the country planned and participated in MLK Day events. Senior Corps volunteers work with Vice President Joe Biden to pack care packages for the troops.

MLK Day of Service by the Numbers

  • 1.3 million hours of service pledged by volunteers across the country
  • 194,875 pounds of food served or donated
  • 86,605 individuals received emergency food from food banks, food pantries, or other nonprofi t organizations
  • 43,103 individuals received support, services, education and/or referrals to alleviate long-term hunger
  • 9,315 economically disadvantaged individuals received financial literacy services
  • 9,272 individuals received CNCS-supported services in disaster preparedness
  • 10,103 veterans and military family members engaged in service opportunities as a National Service participant or volunteer

A Nationwide Celebration

MLK Day of service participants

Thousands of volunteers attend the Service Fair on the National Mall

At the National Mall, thousands of volunteers visited nearly 100 organizations, more than a third of whom were part of the AmeriCorps network. Volunteers performed service and pledged more than one million hours of ongoing service in their communities.

MLK Day of service participants

Administration officials serve in projects across Washington, D.C.

The Vice President and members of the Presidentís Cabinet, including Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano (right with AmeriCorps NCCC Director Kate Raftery) Director of Senior Corps Erwin Tan joined CNCS Board Chair Laysha Ward, at the service project sponsored by Target, Points of Light, and CNCS.

In the Classroom

The MLK Day CNCS/Scholastic online curriculum ( provides teachers with service-learning lesson plans and videos for grades 3-8. The curriculum was marketed to educators through Scholasticís networks. The site is doing well with over 10,000 page views within 2 months.

On Air

MLK Day Public Service Announcements were broadcast on television and radio stations across the country resulting in 50,714,900 people hearing or seeing the PSAs, which had a donated media value in excess of a million dollars.

From the Headlines

CNCS appeared in hundreds of news stories across the country including:

  • Day of Service aims to get volunteers involved USA Today, January 19, 2013
  • Honoring King with volunteerism Chicago Tribune, January 19, 2013
  • Inauguration weekend begins with Day of Service to honor Martin Luther King Jr. Washington Post, January 19, 2013
  • National Day of Service Going Strong, 4 years later WUSA 9 (Washington DC), January 19, 2013
  • AmeriCorps members come to Oklahoma to serve KOCO TV (Oklahoma), January 21, 2013
  • A National Day of Service Time for Kids, January 22, 2013


igital outreach for the MLK Day was strong with more than 240,224 visits to the MLK Day website and 278,324 visits to (November-January). More than 536,000 people received MLK Day email messages. Between January 16- 22, the Facebook page reached nearly 45,000 users. The @ServeDotGov Twitter account gained nearly 1,000 followers that same weekend. CNCS Social media channels were alive with tweets from across the country including:

    Photo: The President & the First Lady join a service project at a local school on the National Day of Service. #iserve
  • The White House@whitehouse
    Today, join the President & @FLOTUS in volunteering for #MLKDay of Service. Find an event #iserve
  • Arne Duncan@arneduncan
    On #MLKDay of Service, and every day, @AmeriCorps members make a huge difference in the lives of children. Thank you!

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