May 2010 Serve America Act Implementation Update

Jun 11, 2010

Dear Colleagues,

As we enter the long days of summer, we have a lot of activity to report to you about our recent implementation steps on the Serve America Act.

AmeriCorps Grants

On Monday we took a major step in our implementation efforts as we announced the results of the 2010 AmeriCorps grants competition, the first since passage of Serve America Act. In total, we are making 329 grants totaling $234 million to support more than 57,000 new AmeriCorps members who will serve with a wide range of national and local nonprofit organizations, community and faith-based groups, educational institutions, and Indian Tribes. The grants make a focused investment in the five national priorities of strengthening education, expanding health services, assisting veterans and military families, building a green future, and fostering economic opportunity. The competition also implemented other Serve America Act program features to increase impact, efficiency, and cost effectiveness, including the combined competition, fixed-price grants, and national performance measures.

Nationwide, applications for AmeriCorps funding increased significantly this year and competition was stiff. Approximately 60 percent more grant funding was requested in 2010 than in 2009. In the 2010 competition, organizations requested about twice the number of grant dollars and AmeriCorps positions than could be funded. We congratulate the organizations that were selected for their strong proposals. We’d also like to thank the State Service Commissions for the critical role they play in managing the competitive process in their states. State Commissions also are moving forward on finalizing their portfolios for state formula funds, which increased by 49% over last year. Learn more about the 2010 competition from the press release or list of grants.

Social Innovation Fund

On May 27, First Lady Michelle Obama and Corporation CEO Patrick Corvington announced the initial phase of philanthropic commitments totaling $50 million to match Social Innovation Fund (SIF) grants and to invest in other innovative community solutions. This includes an independent consortium of more than 20 national and regional funders led by Grantmakers for Effective Organizations who have come together to create the “Scaling What Works” initiative, which will provide complementary funding for key initiatives to build the infrastructure needed for the long-term success of the SIF. Learn more by watching a video of the White House event or reading the press release or fact sheet.

Approximately 260 organizations collaborated to submit 69 applications for the initial SIF grant competition which closed on April 8, 2010. The organizations applying for SIF grants include nonprofits, foundations, universities, local governments, private donors and businesses. The applications come from 25 states and the District of Columbia and propose work in each of the three areas of national priority. We developed a comprehensive and rigorous process for selecting grantees and have recruited more than 60 recognized experts in nonprofit leadership, social innovation and program evaluation to rate and provide other input on the applications. We expect to announce the first awards to intermediary organizations in July.

Youth Engagement Zones

The Youth Engagement Zones, a new Serve America Act program under Learn and Serve America, encourages collaborative approaches to increase students' academic and civic engagement while improving the odds that they will graduate from high school and go onto college. On April 23, we announced the availability of $5.4 million for this program. Grants will provide support for partnerships to develop coordinated school-based or community-based service-learning opportunities for secondary school students. We anticipate making an estimated 4 to 12 grant awards that will range from approximately $300,000 to $450,000 per year for up to three years. Applications are due no later than 5:00 p.m. ET on June 15, 2010. Read the press release or funding notice for more information.


The comment period for the proposed rule on the National Service Trust, the AmeriCorps State and National application process, Senior Corps, and other topics closed on April 26. We received hundreds of comments, and have been analyzing the comments and preparing the final rule for publication. We thank all those who took the time to share their views on this proposed rule.

Grant Reviews

Staff across the Corporation are deeply involved in a variety of grant reviews. Here are some quick updates.

  • Learn and Serve America Tribal Grants: On May 20, we announced Learn and Serve America grants totaling $650,070 that will go to five Indian Tribes to support service-learning by school-aged youth in the areas of health, environment, and preservation of Native American history, culture, and language.
  • Volunteer Generation Fund: We received 38 applications from State Service Commissions for this new Serve America Act program, which is designed to expand opportunities for more Americans to serve while enhancing the capacity of nonprofits to recruit, manage, and retain volunteers. The applications are in review and announcements are expected in August.
  • Nonprofit Capacity Building Program: A total of 75 organizations submitted applications for this program, and applications are currently in review. In FY 2010, the Nonprofit Capacity Building Program will provide $1 million to increase the capacity of a small number of intermediary grantees to work with small and midsize nonprofits to develop and implement performance management systems. We expect to announce grants in September.
  • Learn and Serve America Higher Education Grants: We are close to announcing the results of the 2010 Learn and Serve America Higher Education competition, which this year is making $7.3 million available to support institutions of higher education that use innovative service-learning programming to embed include service-learning in teacher training or integrate service-learning into STEM-focused disciplines. There was strong interest in this competition, with 192 organizations requesting more than $39 million in funding.

As always, we encourage you to visit our Serve America Act homepage for the latest information.

Kristin McSwain
Chief of Program Operations
Corporation for National and Community Service

Media Contact

Samantha Jo Warfield
(202) 491-8250

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