National Service Agency Announces $1.3 Million in New AmeriCorps Commitments to Support City of Flint

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 
Apr 14, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency that administers AmeriCorps, announced $1.3 million in investments that will allow additional AmeriCorps members to support state and local efforts addressing the water emergency, blight, and public safety in Flint, Mich. Today’s announcement builds on CNCS’ previous deployments of national service members to response operations in the area.

“National service is all about getting things done to solve local problems, and we are committed to supporting the people of Flint at this time of need,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “Working hand-in-hand with local partners, these dedicated AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members continue to provide important public health services to Flint residents. We know this is a long-term challenge and will be looking for other ways to use national service and volunteering to meet this critical need.”

Beginning in May, additional AmeriCorps NCCC teams will arrive in Flint. One will support blight elimination efforts through Power of One, a local organization. The second will serve at the United Way of Genesee County to support the Red Cross with water distribution, resource coordination, and recruiting and managing volunteers.

CNCS will also place up to 40 AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associates at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Flint, Crim Fitness Foundation, Food Bank of Eastern Michigan, and Catholic Charities. These AmeriCorps members, most of whom will be local residents, will support summer food programs that include nutritional outreach, food package assembly, and distribution of more than 500 meals weekly to local young children. The AmeriCorps members will also provide educational information related to water safety and lead exposure. 

Based on a model with success in Detroit, a new local program, the Flint Urban Safety Corps, has also begun work in the community. AmeriCorps members serving through this program, which is funded through the Michigan Community Service Commission and operated by the United Way of Genesee County, will help eliminate blight and increase public safety for residents by boarding up blighted properties, cleaning vacant lots, coordinating neighborhood patrols, and implementing other programs and activities to increase public safety.

Today's announcements are valued at more than $1.3 million, including program funding, education scholarships AmeriCorps members receive to pay for college or student loans, and local matching support. The resources were announced to coincide with Global Youth Service Day (GYSD), an annual event led by Youth Service America, designed to engage young people in solutions-focused community service. 

The Michigan Community Service Commission helps fund one of the largest GYSD efforts in the nation, providing mini-grants to 25 projects happening across the state on Friday and Saturday. In Flint, youth volunteers, along with students from Michigan State University, Kettering University, and the University of Michigan – Flint, will join AmeriCorps members and Flint residents for service projects focused on gardening, blight elimination, and neighborhood safety.

To date, more than 120 AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members have been deployed to or engaged in response operations in Flint. Serving with the United Way of Genesee County, these national service members educate residents on using water filters appropriately, provide information on best practices in healthcare and nutrition related to lead exposure, assist with donations management, and connect residents to wrap-around services.

In January, CNCS announced the deployment of the first AmeriCorps Disaster Response Team to Flint and had the first boots on the ground by February 1. AmeriCorps Disaster Response Teams are CNCS’ elite, specialty trained crew deployed at the request of local and federal emergency managers. These teams provide expert manpower for everything from coordinating volunteers to donations management, public information outreach to shelter operations, and needs assessments to case management.

CNCS has an established record with regard to disaster response, both natural and manmade. Following a disaster, national service acts as a force multiplier, providing key resources and significantly expanding the capacity of existing organizations on the ground. More than 40,000 AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members were deployed in response to Hurricane Katrina. In the decade since, AmeriCorps teams have provided critical support after countless disasters, including the 2014 Southeast Michigan flood, Hurricane Sandy, the 2013 floods in Colorado, tornadoes in Joplin, Mo., Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Moore, Okla., the explosion in West, Texas, and the Deepwater Horizon BP Oil Spill.  
 

CNCS continues to work closely with the Michigan Community Service Commission, the City of Flint, the United Way of Genesee County, and local nonprofit partners to identify additional ways the agency’s AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and other national service resources can support Flint and address the long-term health and safety issues caused by the water crisis.

Last year, more than 11,000 Michigan residents served through AmeriCorps and Senior Corps at more than 1,700 locations throughout the state. They tutor and mentor children, support veterans and military families, provide health services, restore the environment, respond to disasters, increase economic opportunity, and recruit and manage volunteers. CNCS works closely with the Michigan Community Service Commission, the state's lead agency for volunteerism, to promote service as a strategy to address Michigan's most pressing challenges, and empower volunteers to strengthen communities.

Last year, CNCS committed more than $26.6 million to support Michigan communities through national service initiatives, which leveraged an additional $16.2 million in other resources to strengthen community impact. Since the program's inception in 1994, more than 28,000 Michigan residents, including nearly 600 from Flint, have served in AmeriCorps, dedicating more than 41 million hours, and qualifying for Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards, or scholarships, totaling more than $92 million.

 

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