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COLE’S SERVICENATION: Kenneth Cole talking about philanthropy is nothing new, but getting rivaling presidential candidates and 500 other leaders to come together to spotlight the importance of community service is. The designer and social activist participated on a panel, called “Partners in Service: The Role of the Private Sector,” on Friday as part of the two-day ServiceNation Summit in New York, which included Barack Obama, John McCain and Jon Bon Jovi. “The whole initiative was extraordinary, maybe as much as anything we’ve seen in a long time,” Cole said. “One of the biggest messages is that business and philanthropy are not only not independent, they are interdependent. Service needs to be a holistic commitment throughout the organization and, in my case, it’s my life, as well. We’re in a time where government is no longer willing or able to provide that safety net, and it’s dependant on businesses.”
The goal of the summit, which invited all Americans to sign a Declaration of Service, is to “inspire an America in which, by 2020, 100 million citizens will volunteer time in schools, workplaces and faith-based and community institutions each and every year — up from 61 million today — and that increasing numbers of Americans annually will commit a year of their lives to national service,” according to Cole’s camp.