September 12 White House Event Marks 20th Anniversary of AmeriCorps
WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Obama will participate in a ceremony with AmeriCorps members at the White House on September 12 as part of a nationwide event marking the 20th anniversary of the AmeriCorps national service program.
The AmeriCorps pledge will take place at 11:30 a.m. Eastern on the South Lawn of the White House in a simultaneous, nationwide swearing-in of AmeriCorps members in every state, on the same day, at the same time. This will replicate the first pledge ceremony by President Clinton on September 12, 1994.
The event will kick off a year of service for some 75,000 AmeriCorps members serving coast to coast. Since its inception in 1994, more than 900,000 men and women have served in AmeriCorps, providing more than 1.2 billion hours of service addressing critical challenges from poverty and hunger to disasters and the dropout crisis.
President Obama’s participation underscores the bipartisan history of presidential support for AmeriCorps, from President George H.W. Bush signing the first national service legislation in 1990, to President Clinton creating AmeriCorps in 1993, to President George W. Bush increasing AmeriCorps by 50 percent after the 9/11 attacks.
The President’s participation was announced yesterday by White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest. The event will be live-streamed on whitehouse.gov/live so that AmeriCorps members, alumni, and individuals around the country can be a part of this historic moment.
“We are thrilled President Obama will lead this nationwide AmeriCorps ceremony to kick off another year of high-impact national service by AmeriCorps members,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that administers AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, the Social Innovation Fund, and other programs. “Every day, in communities across America, AmeriCorps members are making a powerful impact on the most critical issues facing our nation. The participation of the President and bipartisan governors and mayors across the country reflects how AmeriCorps has become an indispensable solution for local leaders and pathway to opportunity for those who serve.”
Events are taking place from coast to coast, including large statewide AmeriCorps swearing-in ceremonies in California, New York, Texas, Florida, Ohio, Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky, among others. These statewide events, organized by Governor-appointed state service commissions, will include elected officials, AmeriCorps members, alumni, and community partners. Many states are also hosting service projects in honor of the September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance.
The events will highlight the commitment and impact of AmeriCorps members and alums over the past 20 years. They will also showcase how AmeriCorps has grown through innovative public-private partnerships that meet critical community needs and expand opportunity for those who serve.
Since coming to office, President Obama has taken numerous steps to expand national service as a solution for pressing challenges, from signing the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act and launching the President’s Task Force on Expanding National Service to creating innovative AmeriCorps partnerships including FEMA Corps, School Turnaround AmeriCorps, and STEM AmeriCorps.
AmeriCorps members serve at more than 25,000 locations from coast to coast, strengthening education, providing disaster services, fostering economic opportunity, assisting veterans and military families, preserving the environment, and expanding health services. While they serve others, AmeriCorps members expand opportunity for themselves - gaining skills, experience, and education support to help jumpstart their careers. Since 1994, AmeriCorps members have earned more than $2.7 billion in education awards to help pay for college or repay their student loans.