WASHINGTON, D.C. – Presidents Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush will join President Obama in marking the 20th anniversary of the AmeriCorps national service program on Friday, September 12.
President Clinton will join President Obama in delivering remarks to hundreds of AmeriCorps members on the South Lawn of the White House, and will appear by video at pledge ceremonies around the country. President George H.W. Bush will participate in an AmeriCorps pledge ceremony at his home in Kennebunkport, Maine. President George W. Bush and Laura Bush filmed a video that will be shown at pledge ceremonies around the country.
Each of these former Presidents has played a key role in the formation and growth of AmeriCorps. President George H.W. Bush signed the 1990 National Service Act, which created the Commission on National and Community Service and funded national service pilot programs. President Bill Clinton proposed and signed the legislation creating AmeriCorps and the Corporation for National Community Service(CNCS) and launched the first class of 20,000 AmeriCorps members in September 1994. Following the 9/11 attacks, President George W. Bush added 25,000 AmeriCorps positions.
“For 20 years, AmeriCorps has been a remarkable force for good in communities across the nation,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service CNCS, the federal agency that administers AmeriCorps. “The participation of four Presidents in this nationwide pledge ceremony is a testament to the value of AmeriCorps and its indispensable role in solving problems, strengthening communities, and expanding economic opportunity.”
More than 80 pledge ceremonies are taking place in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands. The event will kick off a year of service for some 75,000 AmeriCorps members serving coast to coast. The AmeriCorps pledge will be administered at 11:30 a.m. Eastern at the White House. 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.
Since 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. AmeriCorps members have earned more than $2.7 billion in education scholarships to pay for college or pay back student loans.
The pledge ceremonies taking place across the country will feature a slate of bipartisan elected officials including members of Congress, governors, and mayors. The events will highlight the impact of AmeriCorps and showcase how AmeriCorps has grown through innovative partnerships that meet community needs and expand opportunity for those who serve.
- Montgomery, Ala.: Gov. Robert Bentley will swear in AmeriCorps members at the State Capitol and honor law enforcement, firefighters, and veterans for their service to our nation.
- Little Rock, Ark.: Gov. Mike Beebe and General Wesley K. Clark (Ret.) will participate in an AmeriCorps pledge ceremony at the Clinton Presidential Center.
- San Francisco, Calif.: Gov. Jerry Brown will swear in more than 1,000 AmeriCorps members at the Presidio and launch a future platform for growing service in the Golden State.
- Denver, Colo.: Gov. John Hickenlooper and Nancy E. Rice, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Colorado, will participate in the Colorado swearing-in ceremony at the State Capitol.
- Miami, Fla.: Alberto M. Carvalho, Superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, and bestselling author Brad Meltzer will join 1,000 AmeriCorps members at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
- Honolulu, Hawaii: To participate in the simultaneous nationwide pledge, Hawaii will hold a “Sunrise Swearing-In Ceremony” starting at 5 a.m. at the Olelo Community Media Center.
- Louisville, Ky: U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth will join more than 1,000 AmeriCorps members, alums, and partners at the AmeriCorps Pledge ceremony at the KFC Yum! Center plaza.
- Baton Rouge, La.: Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne will swear in Louisiana AmeriCorps members on the steps of the State Capitol.
- Bloomington, Minn.: Former U.S. Sen. Dave Durenberger, who helped pass the bill creating AmeriCorps, will join 1,000 attendees at the Mall of America for Minnesota’s swearing-in.
- Pine Ridge, S.D.: The President of Red Cloud Indian School will swear in new AmeriCorps members serving at Red Cloud Indian School.
- Richmond, Va.: Gov. Terry McAuliffe, First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe, U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, and other leaders will participate in Virginia’s swearing-in event.
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, gain skills, experience, and education support to help jump start their careers.
More details on the White House event will be made available in the coming days.