$234 Million Will Go to Organizations Using Service as a Solution to Social and Economic Issues
Washington DC -- More than 325 organizations across the country will get a major boost in their efforts to address education, health, poverty, and other pressing social issues thanks to $234 million in federal AmeriCorps grants announced today by the Corporation for National and Community Service.
The AmeriCorps grants, the first made under the bipartisan Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act signed last year, carry out the vision of the landmark law to expand AmeriCorps and target it on addressing critical national issues of strengthening education, expanding health services, assisting veterans and military families, building a green future, and fostering economic opportunity.
The grants will 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. Collectively, these members are projected to earn more than $154 million in Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards to help pay for college or to pay back student loans. A complete list of grants is available by clicking here.
“In difficult times, working in some of America's most distressed communities, AmeriCorps members are using service as a solution to our toughest problems,” said Corporation CEO Patrick Corvington. “With these grants, we are not only expanding AmeriCorps, we are focusing AmeriCorps -- by targeting it on the most critical issues facing our country -- from illiteracy and the high school dropout epidemic to hunger and homelessness.”
In addition to the competitive AmeriCorps funding, the Corporation is also awarding $129 million in formula funding to Governor-appointed state service commissions and territories, a 49% increase over last year, which will be used to make additional AmeriCorps grants this summer. Together with other positions in AmeriCorps VISTA and NCCC, AmeriCorps is on track to support more than 85,000 members this year, the first step towards the Serve America Act goal of 250,000 annual AmeriCorps members by the year 2017.
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.
The grants make a focused investment in the five national issue priorities laid out in the Serve America Act of education, healthy futures, clean energy and the environment, veterans and economic opportunity. Below are some examples of the organizations receiving funds in the 2010 competition:
- Education: Teach for America's grant will support more than 6,600 classroom teachers for under-resourced schools. City Year will engage 1,671 AmeriCorps members in improving student attendance, behavior, and course performance at sites across the country. More than 680 AmeriCorps members in the Minnesota Reading Corps will provide literacy tutoring for pre-K through 3rd graders across the state who are at risk of literacy failure.
- Health: The National Association of Community Health Centers will engage 469 AmeriCorps members in providing health education and improving access to health services in low income communities across the U.S. The University of Nebraska Medical Center's 28 AmeriCorps members will provide health care services to people with disabilities and address health needs in rural communities. The University of Maryland Center on Aging will engage 588 AmeriCorps at 10 sites in 7 states to provide support to low-income caregiver families.
- Clean Energy and Environment: The Corps Network will engage 2,885 members in expanding recycling programs, constructing trails, removing invasive species, and weatherizing homes while providing disadvantaged youth with green job skills. Thirty AmeriCorps members of the Northeast Energy Corps will perform energy audits, retrofits, and weatherization for low-income homeowners in Schenectady, NY. In Iowa, 87 Keepers of the Land AmeriCorps members will build and repair recreational facilities, maintain trails, and provide environmental education.
- Veterans: The American Legion Auxiliary will engage 15 AmeriCorps members who will provide services, conduct outreach, manage volunteers and build the capacity of organizations addressing the needs of veterans and military families in six states. The California Department of Veterans Affairs has launched Operation Welcome Home to engage 80 AmeriCorps members in connecting recently returned veterans with jobs, housing, health care, and other services across California.
- Economic opportunity: Through their national grant, YouthBuild USA, Inc. will engage 2,930 members in renovating houses and buildings for homeless people and low-income families. In Anchorage, AK, Nine Star Enterprises is engaging 55 members to provide wrap-around services focused in education and employment as well as volunteer recruitment for programs that target ex-offenders, unemployed and under-employed individuals in Alaska.
The grants announced today implement Serve America Act program changes to increase AmeriCorps' impact, efficiency, and cost effectiveness. Among those are standardized national performance measures that will allow for aggregated impact reporting on how AmeriCorps is addressing national challenges that will have a ripple effect on the larger nonprofit sector, increasing the focus on outcomes and performance.
The grants will continue AmeriCorps support of entrepreneurial organizations that bring innovative business-based approaches to citizen problem-solving. They will also continue AmeriCorps emphasis on expanding capacity by recruiting and managing other volunteers. Last year, AmeriCorps programs mobilized and managed 2.4 million volunteers for the organizations they serve with.
The new positions come as AmeriCorps continues to experience a surge in applications from individuals who want to serve in the program. In 2009, AmeriCorps received 246,842 online applications, a 170 percent increase over the 91,399 applications received in 2008.
AmeriCorps members serve with more than 3,300 nonprofit, faith-based, and community groups each year, helping them expand their reach and better meet their mission. Since 1994, more than 637,000 AmeriCorps members have given 774 million service hours in their communities.
Most of the positions announced today will be available starting in the fall. Interested individuals can learn about available opportunities and submit an online application by visiting AmeriCorps.gov.