The American Way to Change: An Interview with Shirley Sagawa

This podcast features a conversation with Shirley Sagawa author of The American Way to Change: How National Service and Volunteers and Transforming America and the “founding mother of the modern service movement.” During the first Clinton administration, Sagawa drafted the legislation that created AmeriCorps and the Corporation for National Service.

Today, Shirley is a fellow at the Center for American Progress, and co-founder of the sagawa/jospin consulting firm which brings new resources and strategic thinking to solve problems affecting children, families, neighborhoods, and our nation.

In his 1995 book, How a Bill Becomes a Law, Steve Waldman compared national service —  full-time stipended volunteering like AmeriCorps and VISTA — to a Swiss Army Knife, “performing numerous useful functions in one affordable package,” including addressing social needs, bridging diversity, and building participants’ self-confidence.

In today’s show, Shirley revisits the Swiss Army Knife analogy with some timely new insights that she also shares in her new book The American Way to Change.

To find more good things to do, including 12,000+ volunteer opporunties, go to

This show was hosted and produced by Idealist's Amy Potthast with assistance from Tim Johnson, podcast intern.

Direct download: The_American_Way_to_Change__An_Interview_with_Shirley_Sagawa.mp3
Category:Civic Life -- posted at: 5:44pm UTC