Mayor Annise Parker has appointed Cameron Waldner to serve as the City of Houston’s first Chief Service Officer. As Chief Service Officer, Waldner will be a member of the City’s senior leadership team charged with developing and implementing a citywide plan to increase volunteerism and target volunteers to address the city’s greatest needs. Waldner previously served as Director of the Volunteer Initiatives Program.
In June, Houston was one of ten cities to receive a Cities of Service Leadership Grant to hire a Chief Service Officer. The two-year, $200,000 grant is funded jointly by the Rockefeller Foundation and Bloomberg Philanthropies. Cities of Service is a bipartisan coalition of over 100 mayors that promotes volunteerism as a way to address community needs.
As the new Chief Service Officer, Waldner will be charged with developing and implementing a citywide plan to increase volunteerism and to target volunteers to address the city’s greatest needs. He’ll be working closely on the project with Katherine Price of the Volunteer Initiatives Program, the Mayor’s Anti-Gang Office and the Mayor’s Office of Veteran’s Affairs.
Waldner earned a bachelor’s degree in political science in 2006 and a Master in Liberal Arts (MLA) with a concentration in political science in 2008 from the University of St. Thomas in Houston. He worked as the director of the Volunteer Initiatives Program from 2009 to 2010 where he coordinated the recruitment and management of the City of Houston’s volunteer capacity. Additionally, Waldner acted as an advisor to the Mayor’s Youth Council. He’s also active with Volunteer Houston and assists with the Mayor’s Volunteer Houston Awards, which takes place in the spring.
Prior to that, Waldner worked in several positions as a student leader at the University of St. Thomas from 2003-2008 where he organized countless volunteer events that benefited the local community, food pantries and shelters such as Casa Juan Diego. Additionally, Waldner holds the rank of Eagle Scout and completed his service project in 1998. The Cities of Service initiative will allow Waldner to create a coalition of eager individuals who want to lend their support to making Houston a better place to live.
“This grant will help both Houstonians with big hearts and organizations in great need of volunteers, especially those that focus on at-risk youth and veterans,” said Mayor Annise Parker. “I thank both Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Rockefeller Foundation for selecting the City of Houston as a grant recipient, and look forward to seeing the results this funding will produce.”
Waldner will be required to work with administration officials, nonprofit organizations, local universities and other stakeholders to assess the existing service levels in Houston, and to develop a comprehensive citywide service plan.
About Cities of Service
Founded in New York on September 10, 2009 by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the mayors of 16 other cities, Cities of Service is a bipartisan coalition of mayors who have answered the historic Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act’s call to action. Representing more than 46 million Americans in 100 cities, all coalition members have signed a “Declaration of Service,” committing to work together to lead a multi-year effort to expand community service and volunteerism by:
Developing a comprehensive service plan and a coordinated strategy focused on matching volunteers and established community partners to the areas of greatest local need;
Working with other mayors and elected officials to advance strategies and best practices that accelerate the service movement and produce measurable results;
Encouraging other mayors to join this national effort to engage our citizens; and
Ensuring that the voice of cities is heard in federal legislative, policy, and program discussions related to service, which will help the country achieve the ambitious goals of the Serve America Act.
The coalition has rapidly grown since its inception in September and now includes more than 100 mayors representing more than 47 million Americans across the nation.
About Cities of Service Leadership Grants
The first round of Cities of Service Leadership Grant winners were announced in January 2010. The selected cities, which have all appointed Chief Service Officers, were Chicago, IL; Detroit, MI; Los Angeles, CA; Nashville, TN; Newark, NJ; Omaha, NE; Philadelphia, PA; Sacramento, CA; Savannah, GA; and Seattle, WA. These ten cities will launch comprehensive service plans this fall to address problems of critical in need in their communities.
The second round of Cities of Service Leadership Grant winners were announced in June 2010. In addition to Houston, grants were awarded to Austin, TX; Atlanta, GA; Baltimore, MD; Baton Rouge, LA; Chula Vista, CA; Little Rock, AR; Orlando, FL; Pittsburgh, PA; and Richmond, VA.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg appointed the nation’s first Chief Service Officer, Diahann Billings-Burford, in June 2009.
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