Our Influences


Visionaries That Shaped Our Worldview


National Service

Teach For America, Wendy Kopp, 1989

Matt Ronen with  Wendy Kopp , the founder of Teach For America, at the Service Matters Summit. (Sept. 15, 2016)

Matt Ronen with Wendy Kopp, the founder of Teach For America, at the Service Matters Summit. (Sept. 15, 2016)

It’s nearly impossible to imagine the ServiceCorps model working without the pioneering success of Teach For America.  In its quest to end educational inequity, Teach For America demonstrates the strong demand of high achieving college graduates to do more for their community.  (Teach For America is of course part of a larger national service ecosystem that includes the Peace Corps, City Year, AmeriCorps, Global Health Corps, Venture For America, and others.)  Wendy’s story.

Shnat Sherut

Israel is one of 36 countries, including Greece, Austria, Norway, Finland, Switzerland, and Denmark, that has mandatory military conscription.  So it is perhaps surprising that Israel is the birthplace of Shnat Sherut, a voluntary one year service program that exists in addition to the military requirement.  Unlike the “gap year” popular in other countries, (which may or may not include a service component,) Shnat Sherut is consists solely of full-time volunteer work and offers only a small stipend for participants.  Website translatedWebsite in Hebrew.

Strategic HR

Netflix (Human Resources), Reed Hastings & Patty McCord, 1997

With Reed Hastings as CEO of and Patty McCord as Chief Talent Officer, a little tech company in California began a radical experiment that would reinvent HR.  They were one of the first companies to pioneer what might be called “common sense HR principles.”  For example, employees are empowered to take vacation time as they personally feel appropriate.  Perhaps it’s no surprise that Reed Hastings got his start in the Peace Corps and Patty McCord currently advises Warby Parker, a company that follows a similar model to TOMS Shoes.  Netflix culture deck.


Moishe House, David Cygielman and Morris B. Squire, 2006

We think a lot about the overall corps member experience and a big part of that is the community and home in which corps members live.  Moishe House has set the standard for a model of residential community building and activism.  Although Moishe House members have very different jobs and lives, they come together to foster community for themselves and their peers in a variety of engaging ways.  Website.

Fuel For Truth, Jon Loew and Joe Richards, September 12, 2001

Fuel For Truth was born in the days following September 11, 2001 by a group of some of NYC's top club promoters who used their considerable talents to dispel the lies and promote the truth about the terrorist culture of hatred. Fuel For Truth's intensive 10-week membership training program arms young professionals with practical skills and powerful knowledge to advocate to their peers. Fuel For Truth has inspired us to think outside the box about creating an inclusive, attractive community that knows when to be serious and knows when to party.  Website.

Market-Specific Adaptation

Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, Anne Heyman, 2008

ServiceCoprs does not seek to needlessly reinvent the wheel.  If the right model exists, then we will use it, even if we didn't come up with it ourselves and even if we need to look beyond our borders.  The Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village in Rwanda was successfully adapted from the Israeli "youth village" modelAgahozo-Shalom's remarkable achievements have inspired our adaptation of the Shnat Sherut model.  Anne's story.  Example village, Yemin Orde.

Social Change

Paralympics, Ludwig Guttmann, 1948

It's impossible to imagine how society viewed people with extreme disabilities before Dr. Ludwig Guttmann established the Paralympics. Dr. Guttmann (3 July 1899 – 18 March 1980), a German-Jew, was considered the top neurosurgeon in Germany prior to World War II. With the arrival of the Nazis in power, restrictions against Jews, including Jewish doctors, became increasingly severe. Guttmann and his family fled Germany and found refuge in England where he established the National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Buckinghamshire. At the time, patients suffering from spinal injuries faced not only the incredible physical pain stemming from their injuries, but also the emotional pain of living in an industrial society that viewed them as essentially worthless. The magnitude of this problem was compounded by the increasing number of military personnel returning from war with spinal injuries. Guttmann believed that sport could be used not only to restore self-respect to his patients, but also to change society's perception of disabled people more generally. To coincide with the 1948 London Olympic Games, Guttmann organized the first Stoke Mandeville Games for disabled persons, which was later called the Paralympic Games. Today the Paralympics has grown to become one of the largest and most recognizable international sporting events, forever changing how disabled athletes and disabled people are viewed by society. Dr. Guttmann's life and legacy serve as an inspiration to ServiceCorps about how a tiny ripple can turn into large scale social change. 

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