Washington, DC - On the heels of Veterans Day, the Corporation for National and Community Service hosted a conference call today to promote funding opportunities to support programs that leverage veterans' skills and expertise to serve local communities through its Veterans Corps, a program authorized by the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act. These funds are part of the $363 million requested in the President's FY 2010 budget for the AmeriCorps program.
"The Corporation has a long history of serving veteran populations and their families, and engaging them in service to others," said Nicola Goren, the Corporation's Acting CEO. "We are now busy building bridges to veterans' service organizations to fulfill the vision of the new law."
U.S. Senator Mark Warner (VA) and Representative John Sarbanes led today's conference call with more than 200 national Veterans Service Organizations to discuss the provisions and development of the Veterans Corps program. Both Members sponsored legislative language that would prioritize funding for veterans service programs in the Kennedy Serve America Act, and establish a mechanism to tap into the enthusiasm of the veterans returning from active duty.
“Our military veterans have a unique set of skills, leadership and experience that can help strengthen our communities,” said Senator Warner.“It is my hope that Veterans Corps will prioritize funding for programs that help to meet the needs of veterans and their families as well as offer veterans opportunities to continue serving our country once they are home.”
Representative Sarbanes said “I am very excited about the creation of the new Veterans Service Corps. Although we can never fully repay the debt we owe our nation's veterans, we look for ways to serve them in our communities and help smooth their transition back to civilian life.”
The AmeriCorps funding under the guise of the Veterans Corps program will support efforts including those that:
- Recruit veterans into service opportunities
- Assist the families of those deployed
- Connect veterans with educational opportunities and help them access their benefits
- Address the needs of veterans with disabilities
- Enlist veterans to mentor students from disadvantage circumstances
The Corporation has already launched two pilot projects in Washington State through the State Commission that serve as models for the types of project that could be funded under the Veterans Corps program – one engages AmeriCorps members to support veterans with traumatic brain injuries and the other marshals AmeriCorps members to help new veterans on college campuses take full advantage of their G.I. Bill benefits.
The total funding available for the AmeriCorps grants will be set by Congress through the appropriations process currently underway. If the President's fiscal year 2010 budget request is fully funded, the agency anticipates approximately the total $363 million to be available for new, recompeting, and continuation grants in all of the AmeriCorps State and National grant categories.
More information about the AmeriCorps grants competition posted on the Corporation's website. Applications to the Corporation are due January 26, 2010, at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time, and successful applicants will be notified in early June 2010. A recording of the conference call can also be accessed on the Corporation's Veterans Corps webpage.