By Cecilia Muñoz
White House spotlights today’s AmeriCorps grant announcement.
Today, the Corporation for National and Community Service – the federal agency responsible for service and volunteering activities – is announcing over $205 million in new grants to AmeriCorps programs. These funds will support over 280 organizations across the country engaged in national service, including Teach for America, Habitat for Humanity, the American Red Cross, Catholic Charities, and many others.
These grants will support more than 43,000 AmeriCorps members tackling critical issues across our country, including improving education, performing disaster recovery, supporting environmental stewardship, creating economic opportunity, and supporting veterans and military families.
For example, at this moment, AmeriCorps members are on the ground in Arkansas, Mississippi, and Kansas to help the survivors of the recent round of destructive tornadoes – just as they responded to Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy; tornadoes in Joplin, Missouri, and Moore, Oklahoma; and the mudslide in Oso, Washington. In each case, AmeriCorps members arrived early to help residents as they began to navigate the recovery process – and these volunteers often stay to serve these areas for years following a disaster.
More than half of these grants will also be used to invest in education programs from early learning through college. This funding will support volunteers who can focus on ensuring that students in danger of falling behind stay the course in their studies.
And finally, these funds will leverage an additional investment of over $520 million in matching support from the private sector, foundations, and other sources. This means that each dollar we invest in helping Americans serve is leveraging more resources and more good work around the country. These grants are critical because AmeriCorps members are force multipliers for our country, changing lives and communities in ways that make a difference for millions of Americans each year.
At the same time, national service creates new pathways and expands economic opportunity for our young people. There are countless stories of AmeriCorps members whose service led them to seek careers in public service or helped them find a vocational direction. Plus, every member who completes their term of service becomes eligible for a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award that can be used to defray college costs or pay back student loans.
Across our country every year, thousands of people experience a call to national service. AmeriCorps is a vital link to help them answer that call, serve their country, and serve their fellow Americans.
Cecilia Muñoz is the Assistant to the President and Director of the Domestic Policy Council. This post originally appeared on the White House Blog.