Operation AmeriCorps will support 56 AmeriCorps members over two years, generate nearly $1 million investment in the community
BLOOMFIELD, IOWA – The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency that administers AmeriCorps, today announced that Bloomfield will be one of 10 communities nationwide to become part of the agency’s new Operation AmeriCorps initiative.
Bloomfield’s Iowa Energy Independence AmeriCorps will support 56 AmeriCorps members over the next two years to reduce residential energy demand by five percent. This investment, which will reach two-thirds of all homes in Bloomfield, will lead to energy cost savings and a reduced carbon footprint for the city’s plan to be a net-zero electric community by 2030.
In addition, Iowa Energy Independence AmeriCorps will increase financial stability and provide energy efficiency services that will benefit low-income families and assist elderly and those with disabilities who are unable to weatherize their own homes.
“I salute the City of Bloomfield for its visionary program that will have a significant impact on the community and its residents who face home energy financial burdens,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “Through Operation AmeriCorps, the city will lay the groundwork for lowering energy demand, leading to energy cost savings for the people of Bloomfield.”
Starting this fall, AmeriCorps members will perform energy audits, offer weatherization services such as air sealing and installation of insulation, and provide educational trainings for low-to-moderate income residents, senior citizens, and those with disabilities. AmeriCorps VISTA members will conduct community outreach to eligible recipients, recruit and manage volunteers, identify energy incentives and green job opportunities, and work with the city to develop a city energy policy. Forty-eight AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) members will join the team in the second year of the program to provide additional manpower to weatherize the homes of Bloomfield residents
The City of Bloomfield is the fifth organization in the nation to receive Operation AmeriCorps funding, an initiative launched by CNCS last fall for local and tribal governments to use national service as a transformative catalyst to address a high priority community challenge. Previously announced Operation AmeriCorps grantees include New York City; Tucson, Ariz.; Flint, Mich.; and Pawtucket, R.I. Additional Operation AmeriCorps grantees will be announced later this month.
“As Mayor of Bloomfield I would personally like to say thanks. Our community is proud of this honor and we are looking forward to helping many homeowners with energy assistance and independence,” said Mayor Chris Miller.
The federal agency’s investment includes $618,916 in AmeriCorps funding over two years, contingent on appropriations and performance. In addition, AmeriCorps members completing their service are eligible to earn a total of $91,680 in Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards to pay for higher education or pay back student loans. This federal investment of $710,596 is projected to generate an additional $258,588 in local cash and in-kind matching contributions, bringing the total two-year investment to nearly $1 million.
The Iowa Energy Independence AmeriCorps program will involve state and local groups including Bloomfield Main Street, the local community action agency, Bloomfield Schools, and the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA).
“Iowa has a long history of civic engagement and today's announcement will help continue this tradition. I am pleased to join with CNCS and the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service to congratulate the City of Bloomfield for receiving one of just ten inaugural Operation AmeriCorps grants,” said Congressman Dave Loebsack. “This program will bring AmeriCorps members into the community to provide energy audits, weatherization services, energy efficiency measure implementation, energy education, outreach and volunteer development services. As a longtime advocate of energy efficiency technology, I’m excited to follow the Iowa Energy Independence AmeriCorps (EIA) program as it makes history in Bloomfield.”
"IEDA's mission is to work with communities to achieve the vision they've imagined for themselves," said Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA). "With the support from the Operation AmeriCorps initiative, Bloomfield is one step closer to achieving theirs."
This Operation AmeriCorps announcement also comes within weeks of CNCS’ announcement of a new intiativie with the White House Rural Council. The initiative, called #ServeRural, is a national effort to enlist volunteers and local organizations to help build thriving rural communities.
The Operation AmeriCorps funding builds on CNCS’ existing investment of $19.5 million in communities across Iowa. These federal dollars leverage an additional $6.6 million in other resources. This funding supports more than 6,900 AmeriCorps members and Senior Corps volunteers serving at nearly 1,000 locations in the state. These national service participants across the state tutor and mentor children, support veterans and military families, provide health services, restore the environment, and more.
The City of Bloomfield will begin recruiting individuals for these new AmeriCorps positions that will start this summer. These full-time AmeriCorps positions provide a living allowance, training, health coverage, a $5,730 college scholarship, and the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of Bloomfield residents.