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PR- 018-12
January 17, 2012


More Than 350 Volunteers Participate in Painting, Landscaping, and Literacy Projects at Mirabal Sisters Campus in Washington Heights for National Day of Service

Target to Support NYC Civic Corps Host Sites Working to Ensure Educational Equity in New York City

One day after Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg led more than 350 New Yorkers in school beautification and literacy projects to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy on the MLK National Day of Service, Mayor Bloomberg announced that Target will become the title education sponsor of the NYC Civic Corps, focusing its support on education-focused Civic Corps host sites. The NYC Civic Corps, a specially trained group of AmeriCorps members, work at nonprofit organizations and City agencies to increase their volunteer capacity and serve a greater number of New Yorkers in need. The third class of NYC Civic Corps members is currently halfway through their ten-month term of service. They serve in teams at 30 nonprofits and City agencies throughout New York City, and have helped recruit more than 50,000 volunteers so far this year. At the MLK Day of Service, the Mayor was joined by Laysha Ward, President of Community Relations for Target, First Deputy Mayor Patricia E. Harris, Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, Chief Service Officer Diahann Billings-Burford, actress Angela Basset and volunteers at the Mirabal Sisters Campus in Washington Heights to paint classrooms and murals, complete an outdoor mulching project, and participate in literacy projects with 100 New York City school students.

“There’s no better way to honor Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy than to engage in service projects that support educational equality,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Yesterday I joined with New Yorkers to enhance one school campus, but that project was just one of many of the service opportunities supported by NYC Service to address our city’s most pressing needs. It’s fitting to announce Target’s sponsorship of NYC Civic Corps education host sites today – their generosity and commitment to education is an extension of the work we’re doing today to support educational equity.”

“Target is proud to partner with Mayor Bloomberg, NYC Service and the NYC Department of Education to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s National Day of Service and share our belief that students of all backgrounds can reach their full potential,” said Laysha Ward, President of Community Relations for Target. “As part of Target’s ongoing commitment to strengthen communities, we are honored to unite volunteers and inspire others through Dr. King’s legacy of diversity, equality, justice, and service.”

“We are proud that NYC Service leads the annual effort to promote volunteerism in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day,” said First Deputy Mayor Patricia E. Harris. “Thanks to our new partnership with Target, we will continue to connect civic-minded New Yorkers to critical projects that make a real difference.” 

“Dr. King said that anyone can be great because anyone can serve, and that’s what NYC Service is all about,” said Chief Service Officer Diahann Billings-Burford. “We know that every New Yorker has something to offer, and by channeling volunteers strategically to issues that most need our attention – from education to environment to economic opportunity – we’re putting Dr. King’s philosophy into practice. We’re so happy to be joined by Target, and thrilled that their commitment to educational equity has aligned with our own through the work of the NYC Civic Corps.”

Yesterday marked the 26th anniversary of the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal holiday and the 18th year of the corresponding MLK Day of Service, which highlights service as a strategy to bridge economic and social divide today and throughout the year. MLK Day service projects at the Mirabal Campus included both beautification and literacy, where groups painted ten classrooms, the school library, and three canvas murals to be placed in hallways of the school. Another group of volunteers completed outdoor mulching near the playground, and a third group facilitated a Martin Luther King Jr.-themed literacy project with over 100 New York City public school students. Adults paired with early elementary students read a book about Dr. King and work with students to write their own dreams for their communities and draw corresponding pictures. Adults paired with middle school students read Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech and, similarly, prompted students to respond with a letter to Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Walcott describing their own dreams for their communities and the world.

NYC Civic Corps members were on hand to facilitate the service projects by leading teams of volunteers. The NYC Civic Corps is a key component of NYC Service, the Mayor’s comprehensive initiative to promote a new era of volunteerism in New York City and direct volunteers toward the City’s areas of greatest need. NYC Civic Corps members aim to build service programs that channel volunteers toward addressing some of New York City’s most pressing challenges, including education, economic opportunity, health, clean energy and the environment. Last year’s corps members recruited, managed, and trained volunteers to: mentor more than 13,000 students across the city, engage 9,500 youth in physical education activities to reduce childhood obesity, deliver education about the impact of green initiatives to nearly 3,000 disadvantaged youth, and administer support services to alleviate long-term hunger to 74,000 New Yorkers in need. In addition to leveraging volunteers, they raised approximately $6.6 million in funds for their host organizations, including over $977,000 in cash resources and $5.7 million in in-kind donations. The NYC Civic Corps is made possible through a partnership with the Corporation for National and Community Service and the New Yorkers Volunteer program. The federal funding from the Corporation for National and Community Service is provided through a three-year AmeriCorps grant, which will support the NYC Civic Corps for the next two years.

Target volunteers participated in the literacy project. Volunteerism is part of Target’s commitment to strengthening communities. By becoming the first NYC Civic Corps title education sponsor, Target will extend its commitment to volunteerism and education by providing necessary tutoring and mentoring support in the New York City area to increase skills in reading and other important subjects.  Target is on track to give $1 billion for education by the end of 2015.

About Mirabal Sisters Campus

The Mirabal Sisters Campus opened in 1994 as I.S. 90 in collaboration with The Children’s Aid Society and in 2004 it was divided into 3 schools: M.S. 319 Maria Teresa Mirabal, M.S. 321 Minerva Mirabal, and M.S. 324 Patria Mirabal. The school is named after Patria, Minerva and Maria Teresa Mirabal, three sisters from the Dominican Republic who opposed the dictatorship of Rafael Leonidas Trujillo; they were repeatedly persecuted and jailed before their brutal assassination on November 25, 1960.  Their sacrifice prompted Trujillo’s own assassination on May 30, 1961 and the fall of the regime. 

About NYC Service

The NYC Civic Corps is the signature initiative of NYC Service, which was launched by Mayor Bloomberg in April 2009 to meet his State of the City pledge for New York City to lead the nation in answering President Obama’s national call to volunteerism. NYC Service is meeting its goals to Help more New Yorkers connec to service opportunities more easily, , target volunteers to address the city’s greatest challenges, and promote service as a core part of what it means to be a citizen of the greatest city in the world. NYC Service aims to drive volunteer resources to six impact areas where New York City’s needs are greatest: strengthening communities, helping neighbors in need, improving education, increasing public health, enhancing emergency preparedness and protecting our environment.

Since its inception in April of 2009, NYC Service has engaged over 1.3 million New Yorkers in a wide range of volunteer activities, from beautifying neighborhood blocks, to providing tax assistance to low-income families, to volunteering to teach free fitness classes at City recreation centers, to coating rooftops with reflective white paint to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. NYC Service oversees 25 new or expanded volunteer initiatives and the comprehensive website, located at, has made it easier for New Yorkers to find opportunities to make a difference. More than 560,000 unique visitors to the NYC Service website had access to over 5,700 volunteer opportunities.

New Yorkers can find opportunities to serve their communities by visiting or by calling 311.

About Target 

Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) serves guests at 1,767 stores across the United States and at The company will open its first stores in Canada in 2013. In addition, the company operates a credit card segment that offers branded proprietary credit card products. Since 1946, Target has given 5 percent of its income through community grants and programs; today, that giving equals more than $3 million a week. For more information about Target’s commitment to corporate responsibility, visit


Stu Loeser / Julie Wood   (212) 788-2958


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