Martin Luther King, Jr.
Community Service Appreciation

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Advisory Council has created a Community Service Appreciation initiative to recognize and encourage individuals, businesses and organizations that honor Dr. King’s call to make lives better through volunteering. The Appreciation Certificate conferred by the Council is a way to say thank you for specific examples of outstanding community service and to inform our nation about the often quiet, unnoticed work so many of our citizens are engaged in to make our communities better places to live, work and grow. The Council’s community service appreciation is especially focused on individuals, businesses, industries or organizations that have made a significant contribution through volunteer efforts to promote, teach or support the principles of non violent social change that were the cornerstone of Dr. King’s career as a civil rights leader and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Appreciation is a certificate that is awarded by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Advisory Council, which is an official body created by the Georgia General Assembly to promote Dr. King’s legacy. Members of the Council are appointed by the Governor of Georgia, the Lieutenant Governor and the Speaker of the House. The Council is supported by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs and meets on a monthly basis except during the session of the Georgia legislature. Among other initiatives, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Advisory Council has the responsibility for planning and hosting Georgia’s annual King Holiday events each January.

Nominations for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Appreciation are submitted to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, where they are reviewed within the Georgia Commission for Service and Volunteerism (GCSV) for eligibility and other characteristics. The nominations are then placed before the Martin Luther King, Jr. Advisory Council for approval at a called meeting and certificate award winners are announced at the next Council meeting. The individuals or representatives of organizations from approved nominations are invited to attend that Council meeting for a formal presentation of the certificate by Council members.

The Council has established a nomination application process and criteria for judging the nominations that are submitted.

Who may be nominated?

  • Any individual, family, organization, group, business, industry, institution or school engaged in voluntary community service that demonstrably improves the lives of people through activities that align with the principles, teaching and example of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • Nominees must consent to their nomination, which must be submitted by a different person.

  • No anonymous nominees will be considered, and the person submitting the nomination must provide identifying information on the application.

  • The nominee (an approved representative in the case of a group) must consent to a publicity release and the use of the information contained in the application for Council publications and other material made available to the public.

  • The volunteer activities of the nominee individual(s) or group supporting the application must be unpaid and cannot include court-ordered community service, mandated or compulsory activities. Nominees who receive a scholarship, nominal stipend (such as a living allowance a national service program might provide), or other monetary benefits through a public or private program may be eligible.

  • Employees of businesses, industries and other organizations or groups are eligible only if their volunteer activities are conducted clearly after work hours and are uncompensated.

  • Members of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Advisory Council and their immediate family are ineligible for the service appreciation, as are employees of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.

How are nominations considered and judged?

The Georgia Commission for Service and Volunteerism (GCSV) will receive and review nominations for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Appreciation certificate. That review will examine the eligibility of the nominee based on the criteria listed above, the alignment of the described volunteer activities with the published criteria for the certificate, and the impact of the activities on the community that it benefits.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Advisory Council will consider nomination applications that are placed on its meeting agenda after review by the GCSV. Council approval of nominations will authorize GCSV to create an appreciation certificate for the person or organization nominated. Applications that do not meet the published criteria as determined by the GCSV will be kept on file for 90 days after they are received and they may be examined by Council members during that time. A Council member may ask the full Council to review and consider any nomination application that has not been forwarded by GCSV for Council action.

What are the criteria for a Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Appreciation certificate?

Voluntary community service occurs daily and consists of uncounted activities ranging from brief, unplanned and transitory acts to large scale efforts involving hundreds of people and continuing for many months. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Advisory Council values all these varieties of volunteer community service and appreciates that they are often formally recognized by organizations such as the Points of Light and the King Center.

The focus of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Appreciation is on those volunteer activities large and small that make a positive difference in the lives of people by following the example Dr. King set during his lifetime. Therefore, the Council will specifically seek to recognize individual or group nominees that have engaged in:

  • Non violent, innovative solutions to social problems

  • Inclusive solutions that value and respect the dignity of all people

  • Community-based solutions that bring people together for a common good

  • Solutions that educate and uplift people

  • Solutions that are non-partisan and promote healing on divisive issues
Beyond the broad criteria listed above, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Advisory Committee seeks nominees for the appreciation certificate for activities that have demonstrated significant impact through non paid volunteer service in one or more of the following categories:

  • Helping youth achieve success in life, college, and careers or helping youth achieve success in education and careers

  • Promoting a culture of safety and nonviolence in schools and communities

  • Alleviating homelessness and/or other poverty related issues

  • Supporting and/or recognizing veterans and their families for their service to our country

  • Helping ensure a healthy future for all citizens through access to health resources and active lifestyles

  • Promoting environmental stewardship to protect natural resources

  • Bringing together public - private partnerships to strengthen communities

  • Supporting non-profit organizations that address critical needs of people, urban neighborhoods or rural areas

How are nominations submitted?

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Appreciation nominations must be submitted on the application form provided by GCSV. No other form of application will be accepted. Nominations will be reviewed as they are received. The form is available by clicking here.