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The Shutdown Startup

Hey there GovLoop Community – I’d like to introduce you to the Shutdown Startup. If the federal government shuts down, thousands of passionate public servants will be kept from their full-time jobs. But that doesn’t mean we can no longer serve. In the event of a shutdown, we’re committing to volunteer with non-profit organizations throughout the DC area and around the country to make a positive impact on our community. Please join us! Go to www.shutdownstartup.org for more information and to commit to continued service.

How did we get here?

It started on a Saturday night, as so many good ideas do. Out celebrating a friend’s birthday, talk turned to the looming federal shutdown. A hill staffer told the assembled crowd that he was “one hundred percent certain” that the government would close up shop. “Maybe for a month,” he said. “Maybe two.” I had moved to Washington a few months before, leaving behind friends and a life I loved, because the call of public service was too strong to ignore. And now I was being told that I would no longer be able to do my job. Here I was in DC, and the reason was about to be taken away. I questioned what I would do with so much free time and so much frustration.

We began to talk about the hundreds of thousands of government employees who shared my predicament and would soon be barred from work. We discussed the urge to serve that had brought so many people to Washington and to federal employment around the country. It just so happened that another birthday guest was a non-profit specialist, and he raised the possibility that thousands of public servants might turn to community service. If they could not serve their country, perhaps federal employees could serve their communities. We imagined the impact of thousands of individuals turning to other unmet needs and turning adversity into opportunity.

And so the Shutdown Startup was born. We are a group of federal employees and experts from the non-profit sector dedicated to connecting federal employees to opportunities for continued service in the event of a federal shutdown. On our website, www.shutdownstartup.org, we’re gathering commitments from individuals who will be affected by the shutdown — including federal employees, government contractors, and others — to serve in our communities in the event of a shutdown. We will then help connect individuals who have committed to continued service with volunteer positions.

So please visit our website: www.shutdownstartup.org. Commit to continued service, for a few hours or for as long as a shutdown lasts. Send us an e-mail at [email protected] and talk with us about a leadership role. Share this opportunity with your friends and coworkers. Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/shutdownstartup or follow us on Twitter @shutdownstartup.

We hope a shutdown won’t happen — but if it does, we’ll still be ready to serve.

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Love this idea – is there a specific action or commitment you are looking for like “let’s pick up and clean up X park” or “build a habitat house”

Allen Sheaprd

“Master the possibilities” There are hundreds of volunteer oppertunities. Blood drives, building, helping out, parks.

Ever see something that needs fixing? Ever want to just go to a park and lay out in the sun while reading a book or kindle?

Ever whish to take a day trip or two?

Shutdown Startup

We don’t plan to reinvent the wheel, so we will use existing service aggregators – from the Red Cross to Volunteer Match — to link federal employees with needs in their communities. We plan to work to ensure that there is enough capacity to provide opportunities for continued service for all interested individuals who are affected by a shutdown.

Andrew – could you link the Shutdown Startup to your shutdown page? We’d love to help as many people as possible get involved! Thanks!

Allen Sheaprd


Since so much has been covered, any ideas on starup post shutdown. Walking back into work after a month will feel good but weird. Some people may have worked. Other departments would have shut down completly leaving hudreds of messages and emails to answer.

Those who had to work may not be happy with those who got off but still got paid the same amount.

Those comming back in may feel “Darn – I should have taken a vacation instead of worrying”

Andrew Krzmarzick

Hey Dan/Shutdown – How about we cross-link? Would you mind placing links to the GovLoop Shutdown page on the Shutdown Startup homepage with a GovLoop logo…and we can do the same on our Shutdown page – your logo with link?

Shutdown Startup

Sure – Happy to cross link. I won’t be able to make the changes to our web page until tomorrow, but I’ll put you up on the page with our partner organizations.