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Introducing our ’09 Eli Segal Award Winner: Shawn Rubin

June 22, 2009
Shawn Rubin, AmeriCorps Alums 2009 Eli Segal Award Winner

Shawn Rubin, AmeriCorps Alums 2009 Eli Segal Award Winner

Meet Shawn, a two-year AmeriCorps alumnus of Campus Compact Rhode Island!  He began his service journey in 2000 when, as a member, Shawn helped to launch the Highlander Charter School in Providence, Rhode Island.  Highlander is a K-8 charter school whose mission is to empower students to value and fight for social justice through service.

Then in 2003, as an alumnus Shawn took the skills he learned at Highlander on the road and spent the next two years of his life volunteering as a teacher in six different countries around the world.  It was during his globe-trotting that Shawn learned the meaning of unconditional service and the power of community organizing.  Seeing what citizen leaders were able to do with minimal resources and maximum ambition ignited Shawn’s vision to connect men and women with volunteer experiences that would supply the fuel to get compelling international grassroots organizations off the ground.  

Shawn returned to Highlander in 2005 and created Longitude, a non-profit organization whose simple yet powerful mission is to empower visionary leaders of grassroots educational and human rights initiatives in developing countries by providing them with resources, skilled volunteers, and support services.

Longitude facilitates volunteer opportunities in conjunction with foreign partners, raises funds for project growth and improvement, and provides material and programmatic support for the foreign NGOs with whom they collaborate.  Since its inception, Longitude has sent more than 150 volunteers overseas.  These volunteers have raised more than $100,000 for Longitude’s partner projects while Longitude has spent less than $2,000 on overhead expenses during its four years of existence.  With 98% of the resources raised by Longitude going directly into its initiatives, it’s not difficult to see Shawn’s passion for making an impact on the world through service.  To Shawn, service is not an activity that he does, but rather a worldview that he inspires others with.

Check out the four-minute, online version of the documentarty about Longitude’s project, PROFESA, that won the viewer’s choice greenlight on

So, just as AmeriCorps Alums strives to do, Shawn is creating change agents with a multiplier effect, building a sense of service and commitment across geographical, social and cultural boundaries.  Shawn is not only creating American citizen leaders, but he is making an impact the world over by inspiring a new generation of leaders to facilitate change where change is needed most.

For his lifetime of service and impact through Longitude it is our pleasure to congratulate Shawn on his amazing work. We’ll be presenting the award to Shawn later today at the National Conference on Volunteering and Service… stay tuned (AmeriCorps Alums TV) for photos and video of it all!

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