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About CNCS


Building on a long tradition of service, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) merged the work and staff of two predecessor agencies, ACTION and the Commission on National and Community Service. For the two decades, ACTION administered VISTA and the three programs that make up the Senior Corps—RSVP, Senior Companions, and Foster Grandparents—which engage nearly a half million older Americans in service to their communities. ACTION was authorized by the Domestic Volunteer Service Act of 1973 as amended.

1990: National and Community Service Act of 1990 -- A renewed focus on encouraging volunteering in America led to the passage of the National and Community Service Act of 1990. This legislation, signed into law by President George H.W. Bush, created a new independent federal agency, the Commission on National and Community Service.

The Commission was charged with supporting four streams of service:

  • Service-learning programs for school-aged youth
  • Higher education service programs
  • Youth corps
  • National service demonstration models

1992: National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) -- A bipartisan group of senators, working with the Bush administration, drafted legislation to create NCCC as a demonstration program to explore the possibility of using post-Cold War military resources to help solve problems here at home. The NCCC, enacted as part of the 1993 Defense Authorization Act, is a residential service program modeled on the Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps and the United States military.

1993: The National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993 -- Both the NCCC and the Commission on National and Community Service would later be incorporated into the Clinton administration’s National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993. A bipartisan coalition of Congress members introduced the bill, which President Bill Clinton signed it into law on Sept. 21, 1993. The legislation created the Corporation for National and Community Service, and three CNCS administered programs (Senior CorpsAmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America) with the responsibility of mobilizing Americans into service.

2002: USA Freedom Corps -- In his 2002 State of the Union address, President George W. Bush announced the creation of the USA Freedom Corps. Chaired by the president, USA Freedom Corps was a coordinating council that worked to strengthen our culture of service and helped find opportunities for every American to serve.

2009: Serve America Act -- On April 21, 2009, President Barack Obama signed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act at an elementary school in Washington, DC. The Serve America Act reauthorizes and expands national service programs administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service.


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