National Service Agency Marks Fifth Anniversary of Landmark Service Legislation

Apr 21, 2014

New digital outreach and PSA campaign calls on more Americans to ‘get things done’ 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) marked the fifth anniversary of the signing of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act with a new outreach campaign designed to engage more Americans in national service. 
Co-sponsored by Sens. Edward M. Kennedy and Orrin Hatch, the landmark bipartisan legislation ushered in a new era of service and civic engagement for Americans of all ages and backgrounds. The law strengthened AmeriCorps and Senior Corps, created the Social Innovation Fund, and established new ways for Americans to make a difference in their communities. 
“In the five years since its passing, the Serve America Act has reminded us that the greatest resource we have is the limitless energy and ingenuity of our citizens,” said President Obama in a message released today.  “The Serve America Act reflects the enduring idea that those who love their country can change it, and we have only started to see its impact.  As we mark this anniversary, let us recommit to fulfilling its promise and doing our part to create a better tomorrow.”
The fifth anniversary of the Serve America Act also coincides with the 20th anniversary of AmeriCorps. Over the past two decades, more 830,000 men and women have served in the program, providing more than one billion hours of service addressing critical challenges from poverty and hunger to disasters and the dropout crisis.
In partnership with Governor-appointed state service commissions, CNCS released a new public service announcement (PSA) and digital outreach effort to encourage more Americans to join AmeriCorps. Available in English and Spanish, this PSA provides a snapshot of the impact AmeriCorps members make in communities across the country every day.
Five years after its signing, the Serve America Act has helped improve lives, strengthen communities, expand economic opportunity, and engage millions of Americans in meeting community needs.   Among other accomplishments, the legislation has brought resources, coordination, focus, and scale to America’s service and social innovation community, including:
  • Creating the Social Innovation Fund, which generates substantial non-federal support for the growth of proven programs that improve the lives and build the economic independence of low-income individuals;
  • Focusing national service efforts on a core set of critical national challenges - disaster services, economic opportunity, education, environmental stewardship, healthy futures, and veterans and military families - and using  performance measures to drive greater community impact; 
  • Establishing the Volunteer Generation Fund to channel resources toward volunteer retention and recruitment, helping advance the causes that lead millions of Americans to give their time to charities and service;
  • Spurring the creation of innovative partnerships such as the FEMA Corps unit of AmeriCorps NCCC and School Turnaround AmeriCorps, which are meeting critical needs while putting young Americans new pathways to opportunity;  
  • Paving the way for the President’s Task Force on Expanding National Service, which pursues new ways to engage the public and private sectors in strengthening America through national service and volunteering.
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