ATLANTA, September 23, 2009 — University of Phoenix is answering the Presidential call to service through a partnership with HandsOn Network to help develop a new nation of volunteer leaders. With their experiences, resources, online learning platform, and commitment to service University of Phoenix will partner with HandsOn Network to transform the capacity of people to take action and self-organize.

Corporate and education leaders, nonprofit executives and elected officials at all levels have embraced service as a key strategy to meet social needs, especially in tough economic times. The volunteer workforce has become an undeniable force of human capital growing stronger and more impactful in our nation every day.

HandsOn Network, the volunteer-focused arm of Points of Light Institute, has witnessed a huge outpouring of new civic and volunteer engagement. Their national network of 250 volunteer management and connector organizations has seen a 43 percent increase in volunteers registering to serve this year and a 58 percent increase in people signing up for new volunteer opportunities. In the first six months of 2009, the HandsOn Action Center network made more than 100,000 unique opportunities available for volunteers to serve, which represents a 29 percent increase from the same time in 2008.

"People from all sectors are answering the Presidential call to service to tackle and solve the nation's toughest problems," said Michelle Nunn, CEO of Points of Light Institute and co-founder of HandsOn Network. "Now we need to strengthen our civic infrastructure and ensure that we take advantage of the upsurge in volunteerism to support our over-burdened social service agencies. University of Phoenix's support is critical to this mission."

An essential step is to enable more volunteer leaders. There is a vast volunteer network that must be developed and mobilized to lead efforts, develop additional leaders and motivate others to engage in service.

To support this increasing civic need, University of Phoenix, the largest private university in North America, will create virtual volunteer leader training classes, co-convene a self-organizing summit to empower those who stand ready to focus on specific community needs, and assist with other key service initiatives. Through University of Phoenix's partnership with HandsOn Network, citizens who are interested in volunteering with established local organizations, or in creating volunteer efforts to fulfill needs that are not being met, can enroll in online courses for leadership development.

"The upside of this down economy is that people who have not been involved in service before are reaching out to make a difference in the community around them," said Chas Edelstein, Co-Chief Executive Officer of Apollo Education Group, Inc., parent company of University of Phoenix. "At University of Phoenix, we recognize that we can develop the leadership skills of those interested in supporting causes that are the most relevant and needed."

In addition to the it's support for HandsOn University, University of Phoenix is supporting USA WEEKEND Magazine's "Make a Difference Day" on October 24 by encouraging its students, staff, alumni, faculty to provide leadership and service through volunteerism to make a lasting difference in communities across the country.


University of Phoenix is constantly innovating to help students balance education and life in a rapidly changing world. Through flexible schedules, challenging courses and interactive learning, students achieve personal and career aspirations without putting their lives on hold. During the quarter ending May 31, 2009, 420,700 students were enrolled at University of Phoenix, the largest private university in North America. University of Phoenix serves a diverse student population, offering associate's, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree programs from campuses and learning centers across the U.S. as well as online throughout the world. For more information, visit

About HandsOn Network

HandsOn Network, the volunteer-focused arm of Points of Light Institute, is the largest volunteer network in the nation and includes more than 250 HandsOn Action Centers that reach more than 83 percent of the nation's population and extend to ten countries. HandsOn includes a powerful network of more than 70,000 corporate, faith and nonprofit organizations that are answering the call to serve and creating scaled impact. In 2008, the network delivered approximately 30 million hours of volunteer service valued at $615 million. For more information, visit

For more information, contact Jennifer Geckler, HandsOn Network,