|USA Freedom Corps headquarters on Jackson Place, across from the White House and Lafayette Square|
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The USA Freedom Corps is a body within the Executive Office of the President of the United States, the President serving as its chair. Its creation was announced by George W. Bush in his State of the Union Address of January 29, 2002, and it was officially established on January 30, 2002, the next day. Housed at the White House, it identifies itself as a "Coordinating Council... working to strengthen our culture of service and help find opportunities for every American to start volunteering."
A USA Freedom Corps Network promotes individual volunteer service opportunities within the United States and abroad. The council is also involved with U.S. federal government service programs such as the Peace Corps, Citizen Corps, AmeriCorps and Senior Corps. It has also announced it has begun to work "with educators and others to help increase civic awareness and participation" across the United States.
Created within months of the September 11, 2001 attacks, the body sought in part to encourage volunteer participation in homeland security.
The first director of the program was John Bridgeland, previously director of the Domestic Policy Council on George W. Bush's White House staff.
In a commentary on the right-wing website NewsMax.com, Miguel A. Faria Jr. attacked the program as statist and collectivist, a "bureaucratic boondoggle" that might evolve into "compulsory service," and the name "USA Freedom Corps" as an instance of Orwellian Newspeak. Meanwhile, in a piece on the left-wing magazine American Prospect's site, Jeremy Lott critically linked the announcement of the Corps' creation to the controversial Operation TIPS, a program encouraging citizens to report 'suspicious activity'.
The Corps came to international attention on January 3, 2005, when George W. Bush named former presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton to lead a major campaign, through the Corps, to raise funds from private individuals and businesses to provide humanitarian support for victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunamis.
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