Monday, September 28, 2009

Usher Donates $1 Million to Seed Youth-Led Service Projects

NEW YORK — Usher's New Look (UNL), a non-profit organization supporting youth to use their talents and become corporate and community leaders, today announced Powered By Service-a bold new initiative to rebrand service and fundamentally change the role of youth in communities. Powered by Service is designed to get young people in the world over-involved in changing the most pressing problems facing them and their communities --whether it be preventing malaria, stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS, ending gang violence or increasing access to clean water. The goal of Powered By Service is to mobilize over 5,000,000 youth in a global call to service that will ultimately touch the lives of 50 million individuals.


At the Clinton Global Initiative, Chairman and Founder of UNL, Usher Raymond IV, pledged $1 million to Powered By Service to support young people as they address the world's most pressing problems through innovative service projects.

"Over the last 10 years through the work with New Look's partners including, HandsOn Network, City Year, Public Allies and ServiceNation, I have seen the POWER of putting service learning skills in the hands of youth," said Usher. "Youth can change problems in a local community or halfway around the world through service. It's a matter of putting the skills and the financial resources directly in their hands and letting them create change on their terms. Powered By Service is not about one organization or one campaign it is about collaborating with diverse partners to build on the foundation of service so many have created. Only by working together can we inspire all young people to be Powered By Service!"

Young people all over the world can participate in Powered By Service. Participants will have access to online toolkits and opportunities to apply for financial resources to support their projects. Grants will be awarded to exceptional service ideas so that youth are not only called to serve, but have the tools they need to create real change.

"I am so excited that someone like Usher has committed $1 million to youth service," said Ashley Hurt, Usher's New Look youth leader. "It is important for people to understand that youth have the power to serve with whatever talents we bring to the table."

Usher has personally contributed $1 million to the initiative, but this is bigger than any single person or organization. The Corporation for National and Community Service's Learn and Serve America, the United Nations Foundation, EarthEcho International and numerous other organizations and individuals contributed to the initiative to ensure it reaches youth both in the U.S. and abroad. One of the first projects that Powered By Service will address is the Nothing But Nets campaign to end malaria. Millennium Equity I also announced its commitment of $7.4 million to Powered By Service to address the global digital divide and make advanced technology accessible for all service projects. Collectively, the partners have provided more than $8 million in funding for youth service initiatives.

New Look is not the only organization that sees the potential in our youth. Organizations like the Corporation for National and Community Service and the United Nations Foundation were the first to step up and say, "we want to invest, truly invest in our youth!" said Shawn H. Wilson, president, Usher's New Look. "It is especially exciting to be a part of the Clinton Global Initiative with all of our partners to demonstrate how youth can serve locally but have an impact internationally."

Together, UNL, Powered By Service, and young leaders have the power to make significant change on a global scale.

In this instance, Usher provides a great example for individuals and corporations wanting to give back. He picked a cause that he was extremely passionate about and took it to a whole new level. Obviously, not all of us can afford to donate $1 million, but we can all afford to whole-heartedly embrace a cause and make a difference.

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