AmeriCorps Week Kicks Off with Announcement of 2008 AmeriCorps Grant Winners
Monday, May 12, 2008
Total Portfolio Includes $480 Million and 75,000 Members
New Investments Support High School Graduation, Disaster Response, and Social Innovation
Washington D.C.– Kicking off AmeriCorps Week, the Corporation for National and Community Service today announced the winners of its 2008 competition, adding 68 new grants to help communities raise graduation rates, mentor youth, recover from disasters, and tackle other national challenges.
The rigorous 2008 competition adds 10,000 members and $47 million dollars to the AmeriCorps portfolio, which in total will reach 75,000 members and $480 million in 2008, including continuations, state formula grants, VISTA and NCCC funding, and education awards. The68 national and local organizations who won the 2008 competition will receive $23.7 million to recruit and supervise those 10,000 members over the next year. These members, upon completing their service, are collectively eligible for up to $23.6 million in Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards to help pay for college or to pay back student loans.
A complete list of new grantees, amounts approved, and the numbers of AmeriCorps members to be supported is available at http://www.americorps.gov/about/newsroom/releases_detail.asp?tbl_pr_id=1019.
“Working in some of America's most distressed and forgotten communities, AmeriCorps members are on the front lines helping fight poverty, mentor youth, recover from disasters, raise graduation rates, build homes, and tackle our toughest social challenges,” said David Eisner, Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation, which administers AmeriCorps. “We are investing in organizations that have proved their ability to improve lives, and we are also supporting creative programs with strong models that will use AmeriCorps members to bring lasting change.”
The new organization announced today will begin a three-year grant cycle with 2008 funding. On March 5, the Corporation awarded more than $151 million in continuation grants to support 43,228 AmeriCorps members serving through 261 organizations that are completing their second or third year of their grant cycle. And, later this summer, governor-appointed state commissions will announce AmeriCorps formula grants. By hitting 75,000 AmeriCorps members in 2008, the Corporation will maintain the high-water mark for AmeriCorps targeted by President Bush in his 2002 State of the Union.
Many of the new grants support increasing America's high school graduation rate, by focusing on improving academic performance and stronger support of disadvantaged students. For example, in Philadelphia AmeriCorps members will help Jumpstart get preschool children ready to learn once they reach school. Through the Mass Mentoring/Ambassadors of Mentoring project in Massachusetts, AmeriCorps members will help mentoring organizations improve mentor training, recruitment and outreach across the state. Chicago's Logan Square Neighborhood Association's AmeriCorps Parent Tutor Corps will support the academic performance of students from Spanish-speaking homes who attend English-speaking schools.
The 2008 AmeriCorps portfolio intensifies its focus on entrepreneurial organizations that bring innovative, scaleable, and business-based approaches to citizen problem-solving. Four winning organizations – Civic Ventures' Experience Corps, Citizen Schools, Public Allies, and City Year – received the 2007-2008 Fast Company/Monitor Group Social Capitalist Awards for their social entrepreneurship approach of applying business disciplines to solving social problems.
The grants will continue AmeriCorps' long-term commitment to helping communities along the Gulf Coast rebuild after the devastating 2005 hurricanes. Operation Reach's Gulfsouth Youth Action Corps will engage 67 AmeriCorps members in providing Gulf Coast youth with educational, recreational, mental, and social services. Rebuilding Together, Inc. will engage 44 AmeriCorps members in home repair and construction to help elderly and disabled residents continue to live independently in their own homes, as well as those displaced by disaster. These new efforts complement the work of more than 10,000 AmeriCorps members who have given more than 3 million hours of service and mobilized or managed more than 230,000 Katrina volunteers, a quarter of the total volunteer force.
During AmeriCorps Week, AmeriCorps and its nonprofit and community partners will thank AmeriCorps members and alumni for the impact they've had, acknowledge the many contributions of public and private community groups to the program, and urge more Americans of all ages and backgrounds to sign up for a year of service in AmeriCorps.
AmeriCorps Week will be marked by hundreds of events across the country, starting this morning outside Denver where 500 AmeriCorps members and nonprofit leaders will kickoff AmeriCorps Week with a trail restoration project and ceremony at Denver's Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Other highlights include a Habitat for Humanity blitz building project featuring 700 AmeriCorps members on the Gulf Coast and a closing ceremony in Miami where more than 600 AmeriCorps members will restore an historic beach park. An AmeriCorps Week website, located at AmeriCorpsWeek.gov, features a database of events, news, stories, and information about how to join.
Tomorrow at a policy forum at the Brookings Institution, the Corporation will release major new findings in an AmeriCorps longitudinal study about long-term impacts on AmeriCorps members. The study finds AmeriCorps has significant impacts on AmeriCorps members eight years after service on measures including levels of civic engagement and likelihood of AmeriCorps alumni going into public service careers in the government and nonprofit sector.
“These grant awards are an important part of our AmeriCorps Week recognition,” said AmeriCorps State and National Director Kristin McSwain. “They allow us to support deserving and innovative programs that are making a tremendous impact in their local communities.”
AmeriCorps members serve with more than 4,100 groups each year, helping organizations like Habitat for Humanity, Boys & Girls Clubs, the American Red Cross and numerous other nonprofit and faith-based groups expand their reach and better meet their mission. AmeriCorps members recruit volunteers, expand services, build capacity, develop new partnerships, and create innovative and sustainable programs. Last year AmeriCorps members mobilized or managed 1.7 million volunteers for the organizations they serve.
Most of the positions announced today will be available starting in the fall. Interested individuals can learn about available opportunities and submit an online application by visiting AmeriCorps.gov.
The Corporation for National and Community Service improves lives, strengthens communities, and fosters civic engagement through service and volunteering. Each year the Corporation engages more than four million Americans of all ages and backgrounds in service to meet local needs through its Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America programs. For more information, visit NationalService.gov.