Forget the culinary local delights and dopey T-shirt stunts. The mayors of San Francisco and Baltimore have civic projects on the line for volunteers when the 49ers and Ravens hit the Super Bowl field on Sunday.
Although both Mayor Edwin M. Lee of San Francisco and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake of Baltimore already have enough motivation to see their local team lift up the Lombardi Trophy Sunday night in New Orleans, their wager gives extra motivation. It goes like this: The winning city will host the mayor of the losing city for a day of volunteer service with members of the AmeriCorps program.
The project will be hosted in conjunction with the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency that manages both AmeriCorps and Senior Corps.
“With this friendly wager, Mayors Lee and Rawlings-Blake highlight the impact and power of national service and volunteering,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of CNCS. “No matter which team wins the game, both cities — and all football fans — can celebrate the Service Bowl.”
The two mayors’ wager is part of an ongoing effort to promote volunteerism during the Super Bowl. As part of that effort, the Super Bowl Host Committee will hold a community service effort, called the Super Saturday of Service, in which local volunteers will revitalize five playgrounds in New Orleans. The work will be done with AmeriCorps members and volunteers from Habitat for Humanity New Orleans and Habitat for Humanity Baton Rouge.
With both Baltimore and San Francisco already big hubs for volunteerism, it’s fitting that the two cities’ football teams made it to the big game. The City by the Bay saw 1.12 million volunteers serve 90.6 million hours in 2011, an economic value of $2.5 billion. The Charm City, on the other hand, had 575,000 volunteers give 88.6 million hours in that same year, a value of $2 billion.
The CNCS heavily funds both cities’, with San Francisco getting $11 million in funding, including support for 1,492 AmeriCorps members and 747 Senior Corps volunteers, and Baltimore receiving $12.6 million for 1,498 AmeriCorps members and 722 Senior Corps volunteers.
CNCS annually engages more than four million U.S. citizens in service at over 70,000 sites across the country, with a special focus places on large cities. Last year alone, the federal agency used more than $1 million in investments for organizations operating or based in 500 cities that had a population of 300,000 or more.
Americans interested in participating in a local Super Saturday of Service can find more information by visiting www.serve.org to search for activities in their area.