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Devote time to public service in July honoring Nelson Mandela

Nelson MandelaWhen: July 18

What: In the months since Nelson Mandela’s passing, many have found that the best way to honor him is to recognize his strength and fortitude in working for a more just and humane world. Devote time and awareness to public service this July 18 on Nelson Mandela International Day.

Background: Nelson Mandela was an anti-apartheid revolutionary and served as president of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was South Africa’s first black president and the first elected during a fully represented democratic election. Throughout his tenure, he focused on ridding the country of apartheid and abuses of human rights. After his term ended, he devoted himself to charitable work and fighting HIV and poverty. Nelson Mandela International Day was created by the UN General Assembly in 2009 to recognize Mandela’s years of public service, and to encourage others to do the same.

Story Pitch: Nelson Mandela International Day focuses on getting people to volunteer for 67 minutes, one for every year Mandela dedicated to service. People and groups will want to look for ways to volunteer that help free others from issues like injustice, poverty and isolation. Groups that depend on volunteers can take this as a time to partner with workplaces, schools and other staples of the community. Now is a good time to show how smaller acts of volunteering, even 67 minutes, on a regular basis or during peak times can add up to make communities and the world a better place. Businesses can find community and international groups related to their line of work, and develop a plan to lend resources and expertise. Whether that means tech companies contributing training, or medical supply companies volunteering time and supplies to developing nations, every company has a way that they and their employees can help. Individuals and groups can also seek out ways to aid in environmental stewardship and animal welfare. Meanwhile, organizations in need of volunteers can take this time to promote their mission.

Story Hook: Natural disasters are on the rise, and so is the need for donations of time and resources. How is the nature of humanitarian aid and volunteering changing? Keep the following in mind when making your pitch:

  • What are ways in which people can serve and volunteer every day?
  • How can people become involved in and aid in issues of social justice?
  • How can the work of volunteer groups intersect?
  • What overlooked impacts (such as economic impacts) does volunteering have?

Tips: Provide contact information for people who lead volunteer organizations as well as people who regularly contribute some of their time to others.


Amnesty International
(212) 807-8400

Corporation for National and Community Service
(202) 606-5000

Nelson Mandela Foundation

United Way
(703) 836-7112

–Researched, compiled & written by Nicholas Testa
Event Dates  from CHASE’S Calendar of Events


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