Actions You Can Take to Help Protect AmeriCorps

In this current budget cycle, AmeriCorps could face major cuts or even total elimination. This would be a major blow to the member organizations of The Corps Network and the young people and communities our Corps serve.

Creating the federal budget is a long process that involves many players, but Congress ultimately decides what gets funded. Here are some steps you can take to show support for AmeriCorps.*
 


REACH THE WHITE HOUSE:
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.

 

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.

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. 
 

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. 
 

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.

of Congress to urge them to support AmeriCorps. You can do so by using the online systems of BOTH Service Year Alliance and Voices for National Service. We need all the help we can get, so encourage your friends and coworkers to make their voices heard, too!


STRATEGIZE:
Join The Corps Network's National Service Coalition on Thursday, February 23, at 1:00pm EST. During this call, we'll discuss the service community's united national strategy, and how Corps should be engaged.
 

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.

 

*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.


 

 

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

 


 

A Closer Look with Ross Seidman: New CNCS study shows correlation between volunteering and employment

A few days ago the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) released findings of a study titled, “Volunteering as a Pathway to Employment.” This is the first ever study that has taken data to determine the impact that volunteering has on the likelihood of someone finding employment when they were previously out of work. The study, with much aid from the U.S. Census Bureau, sampled over 71,000 people from 2002-2012 to compile these relatively profound results.

Included in the findings was the fact that volunteering actually increases the chances of someone out of work finding employment by 27%. In addition, when isolated for individuals without a high school diploma or living in rural areas the results jumped to a 51% and 55% increase in prospects for employment. Volunteering provides those engaged with social and human capital that they would otherwise be missing. The increase in volunteers’ networks, soft, and hard skills that make a substantial economic difference by their ability to find employment.

As youth unemployment persists at a rate if 16.2%, more than double that of the national average, these findings couldn’t be anymore timely. At a time when the federal budget is under intense scrutiny and the sequester is continuing to hit underserved American families, this study exemplifies the economic necessity to continue funding national service. As the Save Service Campaign continues to advocate against cuts to vital programs like AmeriCorps, it has never been more evident that this should be a bipartisan issue. National service has proven to be both fiscally and socially responsible.

The “Volunteering as a Pathway to Service Report” also supports the extensive benefits that each of our Corps members experience in all across the United States on a daily basis. Not only does service provide a great advantage to the community, but to the volunteers themselves. It is no wonder that studies have found that Millennials are the group most likely to volunteer in community projects. It could not be more crucial to not only maintain support for service programs like Corps all over the country, but increase the funding that would allow for an even broader community impact while providing volunteers with the social and human capital to succeed in the workforce.

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

Wendy Spencer on Hurricane Sandy Recovery


Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, with an AmeriCorps member. From Serve.gov
 

From the National Service Blog of Serve.gov

As Hurricane Sandy efforts transition from emergency response to long-term recovery, AmeriCorpsmembers are providing vital leadership in communities up and down the East Coast.

AmeriCorps is skilled and experienced in volunteer management and gutting and mucking operations – and our teams are already having a powerful impact helping hundreds of Sandy survivors put their homes and lives back together.

I witnessed their impact first hand on a return visit to New Jersey and New York last week. From Atlantic City to Union Beach to the Rockaways, I was deeply impressed with the resourcefulness and dedication of our members, who are serving long hours in difficult conditions.

With tens of thousands of homes damaged along the East Coast, there is a large need for volunteers to help displaced residents take the steps necessary to move back into their homes. The tasks involved – removing debris, remediating mold, and gutting and mucking – are labor intensive. This work requires skilled crew leaders and an infrastructure to recruit, train, and supervise volunteers. That's where AmeriCorps comes in.

Ernie Farmer, a crew leader from the Washington Conservation Corps, briefed me on the volunteer operation he leads out of a community center in Brigantine, NJ. Working with state and local officials, an AmeriCorps strike team set up the operation in a matter of days. They reached out to local partners, secured a location, found housing, and established a seven-day-a-week volunteer operation. This includes canvassing door-to-door, creating work order and volunteer tracking systems, securing donated supplies, training volunteers, and sending out crews to gut and muck homes.

One of the crews we met in Atlantic City was led by NECHAMA, the Jewish disaster relief organization. All 11 volunteers were recent graduates of AmeriCorps NCCC – alums eager to get back into the field for hands-on service.

In many sites, AmeriCorps members are both leading volunteers and providing the muscle power for home repair. In Union Beach, NJ, a blue-collar town of 6,200 where nearly a quarter of the homes were lost, I joined AmeriCorps members in ripping out the flooring of a storm-damaged home. Our members bring tools, training, and a supercharged work ethic that rubs off on the volunteers they serve with.

Removing damaged floors and mitigating mold reduces health risks and can save homeowners thousands of dollars – especially important for those who aren't covered through their insurance or can't afford contractors. The cost savings are significant. But AmeriCorps members and volunteers provide something else harder to put a dollar figure on but no less important: an enormous emotional lift.

Maureen Gallagher is an 82-year-old widower living a few blocks from the shore in the Belle Harbor neighborhood in Queens. Her home suffered extensive damage and she has been living with her daughter since the storm. When she heard volunteers were at her home, she made a special trip over to say thanks. Emerging from her car, she was overcome with gratitude, with tears streaming down her face as she hugged and thanked the volunteers. Similar scenes are playing out across the affected areas, as volunteers come from near and far to lend a hand.

Maureen is one of hundreds of homeowners assisted through New York Cares, a Points of Light affiliate. We are proud to partner with New York Cares, our state service commissions, and dozens of other organizations in the affected states on this critical mission. It takes partnerships of many kinds to help a community recover and rebuild, especially from a storm as devastating as Hurricane Sandy.

Working with local partners and residents, national service will continue to provide leadership and muscle power to Sandy survivors in their time of need.


Wendy Spencer is CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that engages millions Americans in service through Senior Corps and AmeriCorps, and leads the president's national call to service initiative, United We Serve.