National Service Blog

  • Posted on May 20, 2015

    As one of the first wave of federal Pay for Success (PFS) grantees, Third Sector Capital Partners prides itself on going the extra mile to support programs that help at-risk youth and young adults secure a living wage and the employment skills to gain self-sufficiency.

    With a $1.9 million grant from the Social Innovation Fund (SIF) in 2014, the Boston-based advisory firm is strengthening the ability of local governments and service providers to implement PFS, a new way of focusing on outcomes. Under a PFS-financed project, the government leverages philanthropic and private dollars so that government pays only after service providers generate tangible results.

    Through its federal award Third Sector is offering technical assistance to seven subrecipients across workforce development, education and social services, working with these agencies to develop their own capacity to implement PFS.

    But in addition to technical assistance, Third Sector is taking innovative steps to promote success of these efforts. Unique among the 2014 SIF PFS grantees, Third Sector is requiring subrecipients to provide matching funds so that these agencies also have a stake in developing effective pay-for-performance models.

    “It’s important for these agencies to have skin in the game,” said Tim Pennell, Third Sector associate director. The cash match may be small – a minimum of $25,000 – but it provides ample evidence of the organization’s commitment to the PFS concept.

    “It means they are putting...

  • Posted on Feb 7, 2014
    By Wendy Spencer

     

    Whenever the talk begins about our nation making quality education a priority, it’s no surprise that some may be cynical. After all, we have too many children entering school unprepared, too many falling behind early, and too many dropping out before graduation. Why can’t we change this story? The truth is, we can – and we are.
  • Posted on Feb 5, 2014
    By Sandy Scott

     

    AmeriCorps member Margaret Montague is used to having a steady stream of students come to see her for college advice in her office at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, VA, just outside the nation's capital.
  • Posted on Feb 3, 2014
    By David B. Shapiro and Wendy Spencer

     

    Can a simple mentoring relationship rescue a life in peril? In a world with few easy solutions, there are innumerable stories -- and a new survey -- that demonstrate this could be possible. Let's start with one of these stories.
    Tags: Mentoring
  • Posted on Jan 31, 2014
    By Dorothy Stoneman

     

    Since 1994, over 23,000 YouthBuild AmeriCorps members have served their communities by building over 5,000 units of affordable housing for homeless and low income families in over 150 urban and rural communities. They gutted and rehabbed abandoned buildings that were blights on their neighborhoods, and built whole blocks of new affordable homes.
    Tags: YouthBuild
  • Posted on Jan 31, 2014
    By Greg Tucker

     

    When President Lyndon B. Johnson initiated the “War on Poverty” during his 1964 State of the Union address, he described one of the initiatives as “a National Service Corps to help the economically handicapped of our own country as the Peace Corps now helps those abroad.” By the end of that year, the first class of Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) was on its way to helping the poor in our nation’s most underserved areas.
  • Posted on Jan 28, 2014
    By Sandy Scott

     

    Tonight millions of Americans will watch President Obama deliver his fifth State of the Union Address. One AmeriCorps alum will have a choice seat for all the action. Kathy Hollowell-Makle, who served for two years as an AmeriCorps member with Teach For America, will be a special guest of First Lady Michelle Obama.
  • Posted on Jan 24, 2014
    By Ben Ballerstein

     

    After watching Hurricane Katrina devastate the gulf coast, I wanted to help. My brother told me about a Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) program called AmeriCorps and said I should look into it. I went online and applied to a few programs, but was hoping I'd get the chance to make a difference in the gulf.
  • Posted on Jan 17, 2014
    By Wendy Spencer and Jonathan Greenblatt

     

    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. dedicated his life to improving the world in which he lived—and challenged the rest of us to do the same. He not only championed the equal rights but also equal access to economic opportunity for all Americans. This year’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service will honor his legacy as hundreds of thousands of Americans pay tribute by serving their communities on Monday, Jan. 20.
  • Posted on Jan 10, 2014
    By Lamar Marchese

     

    “I am a guidance counselor and a teacher, den mother, referee, and confidant. I am a newspaper reporter, editor, and printer. I am a public relations man, chauffer, and pawn shop operator. I am also a scribe, medic, friend, buddy, and informer. I’m the low man on the totem pole, but the buck stops with me. I’m the middle man between Corpsman and staff, between staff and staff, and between Corpsmen and Corpsmen.”
  • Posted on Jan 8, 2014
    By Dana Forde

     

    As Christina Bodison navigated a demanding course load at Howard University, the former biology major actively searched for ways to be of service to others. First, she mentored high school students during an alternative spring break program in Detroit. Then, she researched HIV, AIDS, and the socioeconomic factors that bar access to health care. All of this compelled Christina to join the AmeriCorps VISTA program and the fight against poverty.

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