The “Just Do It” mantra of Nike could soon permeate America’s national service programs.
President Barack Obama has nominated Maria Eitel – president of Nike Inc.’s charitable arm, the Nike Foundation – as CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency that runs national service programs such as AmeriCorps.
Pending Senate confirmation, the nomination puts Eitel in line to head CNCS during a period of what the White House calls a “bold expansion of national service programs.” That includes a request for $1.1 billion for CNCS in 2010, which would be about a 25 percent increase over last year, according to the corporation.
Obama announced the Eitel nomination on Tuesday, the same day he signed a national service bill that triples the size of AmeriCorps and expands ways for youths and seniors to earn money for college through volunteer work, according to news reports.
As the first president of the Nike Foundation, Eitel has led the foundation’s work to increase opportunities for disadvantaged girls around the world. She is also Nike Inc.’s vice president for corporate responsibility, and has served as European corporate affairs group manager for Microsoft Corp.
Paul Schmitz, CEO of Public Allies, issued a statement saying that Eitel is “well-suited to the for the challenge” of running CNCS, calling her “an entrepreneurial leader who is passionate about getting national service to the next level.”
Eitel is no stranger to the White House. From 1989 to 1992, under President George Bush, she served as White House deputy director of media relations, and later as special assistant to the president for media affairs.