May 08, 2012
Knox students volunteer at the Discovery Depot in Galesburg.
Knox College and the Galesburg Community Foundation (GCF) are launching an innovative community engagement initiative that will connect Knox graduates and current students with Galesburg area non-profit agencies and entrepreneurial projects.
The program, titled KnoxCorps, is planned to start this fall and will be jointly overseen by the College and the GCF. KnoxCorps will deploy recent graduates into the Galesburg area to work with local organizations. Graduates will be placed with organizations for approximately 10 months, supporting and staffing important initiatives and bringing additional energy and commitment to these organizations.
"Galesburg offers many learning opportunities for students, and Knox students have such a rich and varied set of skills," Amott said. "The goal of this program is to provide opportunities for Knox graduates to remain in Galesburg, which has been their home for four years, and to put their talents and skills to use in the local community."
KnoxCorps will consist of two levels -- a program for recent graduates, known as KnoxCorps Fellowships, and an undergraduate leadership team. Fellowships consist of a one-year service commitment of up to 20 hours per week. Fellows will receive an annual stipend and become eligible for an educational voucher after completing the program.
Undergraduate participants in KnoxCorps will make a two-year commitment to participate for at least eight hours per week. In addition to their service, undergraduates will meet weekly with the KnoxCorps Fellows to develop skills and exchange ideas.
The program will be administered by Dr. Gary Funk, former president and C.E.O. of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks and current director of The Rural School and Community Trust's Center for Midwestern Initiatives. Funk will serve as a consultant to Amott on this project and other strategic initiatives.
"Dr. Funk will identify community placements for the graduates, work with the College’s staff and faculty to select KnoxCorps Fellows, and help the program obtain additional fiscal support so that it can expand and have a lasting impact," Amott said.
Knox students and graduates are nationally recognized for their commitment to service. Last year, Knox students provided more than 16,000 hours of community service in the Galesburg community. This record of service was recently recognized by the Corporation for National and Community Service, which included Knox in the 2012 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. In addition, many Knox graduates participate in post-graduate volunteer opportunities, such as the Peace Corps, Americorps/VISTA, and Teach for America. The Washington Monthly College Guide for 2011 ranks Knox in the top 10 among national liberal arts colleges in terms of the number of alumni who go on to serve in the Peace Corps relative to school size.
"The Galesburg Community Foundation is excited to partner with Knox College, renowned for its dedication to service and civic action, on this important initiative. The mission of the foundation is to promote collaborative action and team building, and I can think of no better way to unite the strengths of Knox College students and graduates and the needs of the Galesburg community than the KnoxCorps program," said Josh Gibb, executive director of the GCF.
"Galesburg has been our host and partner since 1837, and it seems only fitting that our graduates should now serve our community," added President Amott.
The GCF is a collection of funds and resources that supports the efforts of local people and organizations to foster and promote a healthy community. GCF believes a healthy community focuses its efforts on productive dialogue, collaborative action, team building and unity of purpose.
Founded in 1837, Knox College celebrates its 175th anniversary in 2012. A national liberal arts college in Galesburg, Illinois, Knox enrolls students from 48 states and U.S. territories and 51 countries. Knox's Old Main is a National Historic Landmark and the only building remaining from the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates.