A major focus of IVC’s ongoing fundraising campaign, Ignite, has been to expand the organization’s capacity and fund the new Currie Alumni Partnership for Service (CAPS) initiative. Thanks to the generosity of initial donors to the campaign in the Mid-Atlantic region, IVC has made considerable progress toward achieving these crucial goals.
The CAPS initiative will secure and implement new IVC partnerships with Jesuit colleges and universities to recruit from alumni 50 and older who want to be of service in their retirement years and reflect the Jesuit mission of “men and women for others.” The goal of the Currie Alumni in Partnership for Service initiative is to grow IVC’s service corps by a minimum of 100 new members in 3 years and build a framework for regular, sustained growth to 3,000 service corps members in 5 to 10 years, a tenfold leap in capacity and service. During six years on IVC’s national board, Fr. Currie, a lifetime leader in Jesuit higher education and social justice, encouraged IVC to grow its mission and vision and left an indelible mark on the organization.
There are 27 Jesuit colleges and universities in the U.S., in 17 states and the District of Columbia. They range from major research universities to smaller institutions that combine liberal arts and professional studies. One focuses strictly on liberal arts. Worldwide, American Jesuit colleges and universities are part of a network of 188 Jesuit institutions of higher learning.
The idea for CAPS was developed in direct response to Jesuit colleges and universities looking to provide their alumni with opportunities to re-engage with a sense of the institution’s mission.
After piloting the idea in 2018, IVC has signed memoranda of understanding with Jesuit colleges and universities to collaborate in highlighting the life-long nature of the call to serve others that is part of the schools’ missions and make school alumni aware of the unique opportunity IVC offers men and women over age 50 who want to answer that call to service in their retirement years. The initial response was so positive that IVC is moving forward with launching a broader partnership with all U.S.-based Jesuit colleges and universities.
A Call to Serve. A Need to Rebuild
IVC aims to address gaps in service provision and education achievement exacerbated by the global pandemic. As America begins to rebuild from this unprecedented economic blow, demand from social service partners for IVC service corps members will increase rapidly. IVC must be part of the nonprofit front lines working with those impacted by the recession and trauma caused by COVID-19. As we ramp up recruitment efforts to meet this challenge, we need additional resources to grow our service corps.
John Green, who joined IVC last summer as director of the Philadelphia/South Jersey office, will also oversee CAPS, serving as the new vice president for partnership engagement.
He says that providing opportunities for graduates to become involved in community service helps Jesuit educational institutions meet a fundamental goal of their alumni outreach.
IVC’s program is already in place, tested, and successful,” he comments, adding, “many of us see needs in our communities but struggle to find ways to help. What we can do on our own isn’t sustainable. IVC offers infrastructure, sustainability, and a sense of shared mission.
What John is seeing is that the program is a way for Jesuit colleges and universities to connect with their alumni, and ultimately with people in their communities. It’s also a way for a larger group of people to learn about IVC.
His background in social service and later in private outpatient practice gives John insight into what motivates people at different times in their lives. “Connecting with others seems to become more and more important as people age,” he says.
“Work and family may have been the main sources of identity in people’s lives, but after they retire and their children have grown up, they’re once again asking themselves big questions about who they are and what kind of contribution they can make.”
Through IVC’s academic partners, John connects with alumni and finds them opportunities where they can use their professional expertise to support the work of community organizations. As John puts it, “Alumni want to leave a legacy, and service is one way to do that.”