We Must Act Now to Save AmeriCorps

AmeriCorps could be eliminated; we need your help to ensure this vital program does not get cut from the federal budget.
 

Dear Friends,
 
I hope you are still as energized as I am from the national conference last week. If there was one thing I took away from the advocacy discussions, it’s that now is the time to be loud and proud about the work Corps do in communities and on public lands every day.
 
Right now we urgently need your help. AmeriCorps faces more than just budget cuts; it could face total elimination. Late last week, The New York Times received a leaked memo from the Office of Management and Budget. The memo lists the Corporation for National & Community Service (CNCS) – the agency that oversees AmeriCorps – as one of the first federal programs to cut.
 
The budget is still in its preliminary stages, but note that this is not a drill. If we act now to show our support for national service, there is still hope AmeriCorps and CNCS could be saved from the chopping block. We know #CorpsWork and #AmeriCorpsWorks. Every dollar invested in national service returns nearly four dollars to society in terms of higher earnings, increased economic output and meeting public needs.
 
The majority of The Corps Network’s member organizations receive AmeriCorps funding. In the communities where our Corps operate, people depend on the services AmeriCorps members provide. Through their service, our young adults and veterans develop valuable experience on the path to careers. Whether or not you directly work with or benefit from AmeriCorps, your community does.
 
If your organization receives AmeriCorps funding or Education Awards, you need to act now. If you currently serve in AmeriCorps, or previously benefited from an AmeriCorps term of service, you need to act now. If you believe in giving people the opportunity to serve our country, you need to act now. We all need to act if we want to save AmeriCorps.
 
This budget is not the end of the road; Congress ultimately decides what is funded and what is not. All of this is to say that we are just at the beginning of a long budget and appropriations process during which we will need to continue to make our voices heard in support of the programs and funding streams on which Corps depend.
 
If you hear from us in coming days and months about this topic, PLEASE consider it important and have at least one member of your organization act on our suggestions. SEE BELOW FOR ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE NOW.
 
Sincerely,
 
Mary Ellen Sprenkel
CEO
The Corps Network

 

How You Can Help Save AmeriCorps

  1. REACH THE WHITEHOUSE:
    Do you, your organization, or your organization’s board members/sponsors/funders have any connections to the White House? This includes any connections you may have with Republican Governors. If so, let us know ASAP. We have a small window to let the Administration know it's a mistake to include AmeriCorps on the elimination list.

     
  2. TARGET APPROPRIATORS: 
    Reach out key members of Congress who sit on the Labor, HHS Appropriations Subcommittees in the House and Senate. Encourage your organization’s board members and partners to do the same. Congress will ultimately decide whether AmeriCorps survives.
    list of key members on Labor, HHS Subcommittees
    please let us know about your outreach so we can track efforts
     
  3. REQUEST APPROPRIATIONS
    Reach out to your Members of Congress (House and Senate) and let them know that you want them to support appropriations requests for AmeriCorps and other key CNCS programs. See this message we’ve sent out to the network. Cut and paste the CNCS/AmeriCorps requests into an email or word doc, and send to your Member of Congress and ask for their support on these funding levels.
     
  4. ENGAGE PARTNERS IN MEDIA OUTREACH
    Identify a Republican Governor, Mayor, State Legislator or former Member of Congress who could write an Op-Ed or Letters to the Editor. We need outside Republican voices who can validate the local impact of AmeriCorps. Let us know if you have connections with any such officials so we can help craft the message. It is more than likely that AmeriCorps members have, in some way, helped improve your community. Now is the time to ask your elected officials for their help.

     
  5. CALL YOUR MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
    Join with the national service community today to let you Senators and House Member know that #AmeriCorpsWorks and #CorpsWork! Simply click this link, enter your information, and you’ll be connected with both your Senators and House Member on the same call and given a short script.

     
  6. STRATEGIZE
    Member organizations of The Corps Network - especially those that receive AmeriCorps funding - are encouraged to join our National Service Coalition. We host regular strategy calls and send out an email on national service-related news. If someone on your organization is not already participating in the Coalition, please contact us to join!

     
  7. GET SOCIAL
    Post your support for AmeriCorps on social media using the hashtags #AmeriCorpsWorks and #CorpsWork. Use photos and stories to show the huge LOCAL impact AmeriCorps has in communities around the country. Tweet @ your House and Senate Members and ask them to protect AmeriCorps! See below for some shareable images. Along with these images, be sure to share a personalized message to let your members of Congress know about the important work AmeriCorps members do in their district

     

*IMPORTANT
Please note that AmeriCorps grantees are prohibited from performing advocacy activities, and social media activities related to advocacy, directly with grant funds, equipment, or while counting AmeriCorps hours of Corpsmembers or volunteers. You may perform education on program activities and operations with AmeriCorps funds. 

You may perform advocacy on non-AmeriCorps funded time, staff positions or staff time, Corpsmembers' non-AmeriCorps service hours, or on personal time. Please refer to this recent post from CNCS on social media considerations and this general advocacy post

 


 

AmeriCorps NCCC Dedicates New Campus in Baltimore


Ribbion-cutting ceremony at new NCCC campus in Baltimore. From Serve.gov.
 

From the National Service Blog of Serve.gov - written December 17, 2012

Civc Leaders, Community Groups, and elected officials joined the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) today for a dedication of the new AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) Atlantic Region Campus in the former Sacred Heart of Mary School of Baltimore, MD.

AmeriCorps NCCC brings young men and women 18 to 24 years old together with one goal -- to serve when and where they're needed. After completing training on one of five regional campuses, these AmeriCorps members live ans serve together for 10 months to tackle pressing local problems in communities across the country. Their work is wide ranging, from responding to natural and other disasters, infrastructure improvements, environmental stewardship and conservation, energy conservation, and urban and rural development.

“When these young leaders go into a community, they become part of that community. I assure you that Baltimore will be proud of what future AmeriCorps NCCC teams accomplish in Maryland and other states as a result of the training they receive at this new campus,” said CNCS CEO Wendy Spencer.

Spencer was joined at the ribbon-cutting ceremony by U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Archbishop William E. Lori of the Baltimore Archdiocese, AmeriCorps NCCC Director Kate Raftery, and national service alumni, including two members of the original Civilian Conservation Corps established nearly 80 years ago.

“AmeriCorps volunteers are unflagging, unflinching and determined to make a difference. They tackle the toughest problems in our communities, responding to emergency and disaster situations like Super-Storm Sandy,” said Sen. Mikulski. “I fought to create AmeriCorps, I fought to strengthen AmeriCorps, and I'm proud to dedicate this new NCCC campus to establish an even stronger AmeriCorps program in Baltimore. By partnering with our faith-based community to bring the NCCC to the Sacred Heart of Mary, we are continuing in a tradition of working together toward a common purpose to meet a compelling human need.”

“We are really very, very pleased that AmeriCorps has found a new home here and will be our neighbor at Sacred Heart of Mary,” Archbishop Lori said. He expressed delight that the school will “continue to serve as a beacon of hope, as a center of education, and an asset to the entire community.”

Mayor Rawlings-Blake welcomed NCCC to its new home, noting that “460 members have given more than 90,000 hours of service since 2009 -- and that's 90,000 hours spent making Baltimore a better, safer, and stronger city. And for that, I'm grateful.”

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley sent a citation commemorating the event that read, “In recognition of your outstanding record of success and achievements in strengthening communities and developing leaders through direct, team-based national and community service … the people of Maryland join together in expressing our gratitude and great respect for your positive contributions to our state and nation.”

The Atlantic Region Campus is moving from its current location in Perryville, MD, which hosts more than 160 AmeriCorps NCCC members each year. CNCS officials anticipate the new facility could house as many as 240 members annually. The campus serves 11 states – Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont, in addition to the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands