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Leslie Lenkowsky Papers

Identifier: MSS022

Scope and Contents

The Leslie Lenkowsky Papers consist of materials related to his association with the Corporation for National and Community Service between 1982 and 2004 (bulk 1989-2003). The collection is organized into seven series: Administrative Records, Board of Directors Records, Correspondence, Programs, Legislative and Congressional Records, Reports, and Publications. The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) was also known as the Corporation for National Service (CNS). Both names appear in the collection and the records maintain the term used when they were created.

Administrative Records, 1990-2004, contain information about the leadership and general operations of CNCS. This includes handwritten meeting notes, training materials, presentation materials, and information on site visits and conferences. Of particular interest are the CNS Transition Briefing Book from November 2000 as well as a draft presentation of the CNCS’s comprehensive management reform plan from 2003.

Board of Directors Records, 1991-2003, consist of board of directors meeting and conference call minutes and their supporting documents, as well as committee meeting minutes and materials for the Planning and Evaluation committee.

Correspondence Records, 1991-2004, contain correspondence and memoranda to and from Les Lenkowsky and his associates, including Stephen Goldsmith, Senator Charles Grassley, and John Bridgeland. General correspondence and memoranda are organized by date, after which the series is organized alphabetically by subject. Of note is a series of correspondence between Lenkowsky and Senator Barbara Mikulski regarding the budget issues faced by CNCS in late 2002 and in 2003.

Program Records, 1982-2004, consist of records documenting the various programs run by or supported by the CNCS. It includes subseries on AmeriCorps, Learn and Serve America, Freedom Corps, and Senior Corps, as well as on faith-based and community organizations, the Points of Light Foundation, The Presidential Summit and America’s Promise, and civics programs. Arranged alphabetically by program, the files include information booklets, educational materials, presentations, grant materials, reviews, papers, and statistics.

Legislative and Congressional Records, 1990-2004, contain records of the CNCS’s budget requests to Congress, legislation drafts and outlines, testimonies at congressional subcommittee hearings, and materials related to the reauthorization of CNCS. Of particular interest are the partial transcripts of meetings of the Commission on National and Community Service circa 1990-1991, as the Commission worked to establish the CNCS, and the materials from Les Lenkowsky’s confirmation as CEO of the CNCS in 2001. It also includes the FY 2004 budget request testimonies and hearings that took place in March and April 2003 as Les and the CNCS presented their management reforms and budget requests to Senate and House appropriations subcommittees.

Report Records, 1992-2004, contain reports on the corporation’s budget, performance and accountability, strategic plans, programs, and outcomes measures. This series also includes two subseries containing Semiannual and Annual Reports to Congress and Office of the Inspector General (OIG) Reports including audits of awards and audits of the corporation’s financial statements. The semiannual and annual reports date between 1994 and 2003, but are incomplete.

Publications Records, 1991-2003, includes a variety of information published by and about CNCS. This includes articles, news clippings, newsletters, promotional materials, and news releases about the CNCS and its programs as well as about topics relating to national service. Topics addressed include civic engagement, governmental initiatives, volunteering, citizen service, and the effect of the September 11th attacks on philanthropy.


  • 1982 - 2004


Language of Materials

Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to the public without restriction.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material.

Biographical Note

Dr. Leslie Lenkowsky is a professor emeritus of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) at IU Bloomington and of the Lilly School of Philanthropy at IUPUI, where he taught courses in philanthropic studies and public policy from 1997 to 2001 and in philanthropy, nonprofit organizations, social entrepreneurship, civil society around the world, and public policy from 2004 to 2016. Lenkowsky was born in New York City in 1946 and he received his AB from Franklin & Marshall College in 1968 and his PhD from Harvard University in 1982. He was the CEO of the Corporation of National and Community Service, or CNCS (also known as the Corporation for National Service, or CNS), from September 2001 to August 2003. Prior to his governmental service, Lenkowsky was the head of the Hudson Institute, a public policy research institute, from 1990 to 1997. He also previously worked as the president of the Institute for Educational Affairs, the deputy director of the US Information Agency, and the director of research at the Smith Richardson Foundation.

Les Lenkowsky was the CEO of CNCS from 2001 to 2003, but he had been involved in CNCS since President George H. W. Bush appointed him to the Commission for National and Community Service in 1991. He served on the Commission as they developed the agency that would become the CNCS. In 1993, President Clinton appointed Dr. Lenkowsky as a founding member of the Board of Directors of the Corporation for National and Community Service. Les served on the board continually until President George W. Bush nominated him for the position of CEO in 2001. He was confirmed in September of that year.

Dr. Lenkowsky served as the CEO during a time of upheaval at CNCS. Four months into his tenure, President Bush called for a great increase in national service as part of the country’s response to the September 11th attacks. The CNCS’s AmeriCorps program was to increase their recruitment from 50,000 to 75,000 members. By the fall of 2002, CNCS had enrolled 50,000 volunteers for AmeriCorps, but soon discovered that the National Service Trust that paid the stipends and educational awards of Corps members was not able to cover the increased costs thanks to previous budgetary and administrative decisions. As a result, 20,000 recruits were put on hold until 2003. In 2003, investigations began to look into financial mismanagement at CNCS. Under pressure from Congress, Les and his staff worked to resolve accounting issues and to improve the financial management of the corporation—issues that were ongoing in CNCS before Lenkowsky was appointed CEO. The problems that arose in 2003 were compounded that summer by Congress denying funding to CNCS at a time when their enrollment was at its highest. In the summer of 2003, with his leave of absence from Indiana University coming to an end, Dr. Lenkowsky announced he was leaving CNCS and would be rejoining the IU faculty as a professor of philanthropic studies and public policy at SPEA and the Center on Philanthropy at IU Bloomington and at IUPUI.

Dr. Lenkowsky has written for publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Commentary, and the Indianapolis Business Journal. He has also spoken on philanthropy to groups throughout the US and worldwide, and has worked with journalists covering philanthropy.


18.0 Cubic Feet (18 record cartons)


Leslie Lenkowsky is the former CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and professor emeritus of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IU Bloomington and of the Lilly School of Philanthropy at IUPUI. Lenkowsky taught on topics including nonprofit organizations, philanthropy, social entrepreneurship, civil society, and public policy. He has written articles for national publications like The Wall Street Journal and has spoken worldwide about philanthropy.

The Leslie Lenkowsky Papers consist of Lenkowsky’s records from his involvement with the Corporation for National and Community Service, both before and during his time as CEO. It includes board meeting minutes, reports on CNCS and its programs, congressional and legislative records, correspondence, articles, and programs records.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Presented by Leslie Lenkowsky, 1997, 1998, and 2013. A1997/98-003, A1998/99-021, 2013/14-018. Approximately 4 cubic feet of materials were transferred from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy records.


“Former Bush administration official rejoins IU faculty.” IU News Room, January 15, 2004.
Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. "Leslie Lenkowsky: Biography." Accessed September 28, 2018.
School of Public and Environmental Affairs. "Leslie Lenkowsky: Biography." Accessed September 28, 2018.
Purdue University College of Liberal Arts Coleman Bios. "Les Lenkowsky." Accessed September 28, 2018.
Associated Press. "Senate Vote Shows Support for Troubled AmeriCorps." Los Angeles Times, July 12, 2003.
Walker, Tom. "Americorps' Hoosier leader under fire." WTHR, August 21, 2003.
Magee, Marc. “A U-Turn on National Service?” Backgrounder (February 2003): 1-4.
Wilhelm, Ian. “House rejects $100-Million Supplement for AmeriCorps.” The Chronicle of Philanthropy, August 4, 2003.


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Leslie Lenkowsky Papers, 1982-2004
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Repository Details

Part of the Philanthropic Studies Archives Repository

IUPUI University Library
755 W. Michigan St.
Room 0133
Indianapolis IN 46202 USA