Cities of Service, a coalition of mayors dedicated to the promotion of volunteer efforts, has made available $1 million to establish volunteer programs across the country. Available to Cities of Service coalition members, grants ranging from $25,000 to $100,000 will be awarded, with the potential for a $5,000 bonus if goals are achieved.

Cities of Service focuses on what they call “Impact Volunteering,” a model that targets community needs by setting defined goals to measure progress. The organization prioritizes outcomes to give mayors tools to engage citizenry. The organization says this sort of engagement is critical with today’s tight budgets and sluggish economies.

As of May 2013, 160 mayors are members of the Cities of Service coalition, and more than 40 cities have used Cities of Service funds to launch volunteer initiatives. According to program materials, past programs have included:

  • Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s neighborhood restoration efforts, which removed more than 22,000 pounds of litter from residential areas,
  • Houston, Texas, Mayor Annise Parker’s emergency preparedness education initiative, which has trained more than 14,000 community members in CPR and
  • Philadelphia Mayor Michal Nutter’s efforts to bolster education, which involved the implementation of more than 4,400 “graduation coaches” to help students complete high school and plan for the future.

Acceptable initiatives can range from education and youth, health, neighborhood revitalization, preparedness and safety, sustainability and veterans care.

Cities will be selected based on the quality of the initiative plan, the degree of scale or impact, how additional resources might be leveraged, strength of partnerships, and commitment to executive leadership.

Founded in Sept. 2009, by New York Mayor Michal Bloomberg along with 16 mayors from across the nation, the group is funded by the Bloomberg Philanthropies group.

For more information on how to join the coalition, email

To apply for funding, visit Applications must be received no later that Sept. 13, 2013.