Millions of Americans Will Volunteer on the Nation's Largest Day of Doing Good

Oct 19, 2010, 11:00 ET from HandsOn Network

Celebrities, professional athletes, rock stars and others join individuals and corporations on Make A Difference Day, October 23

MCLEAN, Va., Oct. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Millions of Americans will unite with the common mission to improve the lives of others on Make A Difference Day, Saturday, Oct. 23, the nation's largest annual day of doing good.  

Sponsored by USA WEEKEND Magazine in partnership with HandsOn Network, the nation's largest mobilizer of volunteers, Make A Difference Day has for two decades inspired millions to serve their neighbors through community renovations, food collections, home repairs and other caring efforts.

"The actions that take place on Make A Difference Day demonstrate the best of our national spirit," says Charles Gabrielson, president and publisher of USA WEEKEND.  "For 20 years, this call-to-action has energized millions of Americans in thousands of communities to help their neighbors. This shows the power of local newspapers to inspire and influence readers." USA WEEKEND is carried in more than 800 newspapers with a combined readership of 45 million.

Newman's Own supports the day by providing $10,000 awards to ten volunteer efforts recognized as National Make A Difference Day Honorees. In addition, three cities will each be awarded $10,000 from Newman's Own in recognition of their Make A Difference Day good deeds. Newman's Own is also providing breakfast cereal to feed volunteers at 50 projects nationwide.

Thousands of projects are planned coast-to-coast involving corporations, communities, non-profit organizations, entire states and individual Americans. Many of the 250 HandsOn Network Action Centers across the country are leading projects powered by Citi. From Greater DC Cares, in Washington, D.C. to HandsOn Central California, HandsOn Network will lead thousands of volunteers in service to their communities.

"Make A Difference Day has grown over the years to involve young and old, families, and people from every walk of life, from a 97-year-old retired teacher who started yard events giving away clothing and household goods, to a teenager in Florida who created an after-school class teaching kids to fish," said Michelle Nunn, CEO of Points of Light Institute and co-founder of HandsOn Network.  "This day of service demonstrates what is possible when individuals join hands to create change. It is through this kind of citizen engagement that we will address the critical challenges of our community and nation."

Recognizing the power of Make A Difference Day, other organizations have joined with USA WEEKEND and HandsOn Network this year to inspire and recognize the valuable work of volunteers.  

— The NBA and the NBA Players Association. Four of the NBA's top players — Chris Paul, Derek Fisher, Steve Nash and Shaquille O'Neal —  have written essays for USA WEEKEND Magazine about why it's important to help others. Each player also taped video messages and is spreading the word about Make A Difference Day via social networking. O'Neal, well known for his philanthropy, credits his mom and dad for providing inspiration: "My parents taught me: If you can help someone, do it."

Citi. The financial conglomerate expects to rally 47,000 volunteers in more than 100 countries on their fifth annual Global Community Day. Projects will address issues such as literacy, housing, environmental protection, nutrition, health care and disaster relief. "Thanks to the tens of thousands of Citi employees that participate each year, Citi's Global Community Day has become a company tradition. We're proud to be celebrating our 5th anniversary of this civic engagement by combining our efforts in the U.S. with those of Make A Difference Day. By working together, our reach and impact can achieve unprecedented scale," said Pam Flaherty, CEO and President of Citi Foundation and Director of Corporate Citizenship.

— WE tv. The cable network is airing PSAs encouraging viewers to serve on Make A Difference Day.  In an essay penned for USA WEEKEND, David Tutera of WE tv's My Fair Wedding said, "The need for help rarely wanes, and more than money, we need people who have the time and the desire to volunteer. That's what's so great about Make A Difference Day—millions of Americans graciously giving of themselves and their time to help others."

— Hard Rock International. Singer Melissa Etheridge, who teams with Hard Rock for their Pinktober breast cancer awareness campaign, will make her benefit concert (taped last month) available for download on Ustream on Make A Difference Day. The video includes a shout-out to Make A Difference Day volunteers.

generationOn. Points of Light Institute will officially launch generationOn, its new youth division, by celebrating Make A Difference Day with hundreds of youth volunteers of all ages at the Extra Mile—Points of Light Volunteer Pathway in Washington, D.C.  Hosted by The Hasbro Children's Fund and managed by Greater DC Cares, kids will bring with them their personal commitments to service and participate in service learning activities inspired by the work of American volunteer pioneers.

— Cisco. Donated 100 Flip Video cameras to Make A Difference Day project leaders to capture their service. Volunteer leaders shared the impact of their volunteer work on

— KaBOOM! In Washington, D.C., top officials from the Obama administration will join forces with White House staff, White House Fellows alumni and representatives from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to build a KaBOOM playground at the new home of the Hyde Leadership Public Charter School.

About USA WEEKEND Magazine USA WEEKEND Magazine is a national weekly magazine, distributed through more than 800 newspapers in the United States. It created Make A Difference Day in 1992. Awarded for its journalism and design, USA WEEKEND focuses on social issues, entertainment, health, food and travel. USA WEEKEND is a Gannett Co., Inc., publication.

About HandsOn Network

HandsOn Network, the volunteer-focused arm of Points of Light Institute, is the largest volunteer network in the nation and includes 250 HandsOn Action Centers in 16 countries. HandsOn includes a powerful network of more than 70,000 corporate, faith and nonprofit organizations that are answering the call to serve and creating meaningful change in their communities. Annually, the network delivers approximately 30 million hours of volunteer service valued at $626 million. For more information, visit


Jennifer Geckler

Points of Light Institute


Pam Brown



SOURCE HandsOn Network