Administration’s Budget Would End AmeriCorps and Senior Corps
Fate of National Service Rests with Congress Once Again
Washington, DC (February 10, 2020) – For the fourth straight year, the administration’s FY 2021 budget calls for the elimination of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency that leads service and volunteering efforts in the United States, and its two biggest programs, AmeriCorps and Senior Corps.
“For the fourth year in a row, this administration has proposed the elimination of AmeriCorps and Senior Corps,” said AnnMaura Connolly, President of Voices for National Service. “Once again, it will be up to Congress to make sure that communities that count on essential services provided by AmeriCorps and Senior Corps will have the help they need to solve their most pressing problems. We are grateful for the bipartisan leadership of Senators Roy Blunt and Patty Murray and Representatives Rosa DeLauro and Tom Cole in not only protecting these vital American institutions, but consistently expanding them. It’s clear that they understand the power of national service to deliver results and save taxpayer dollars and we look forward to working with them to reject the administration’s ill-conceived proposal.”
For the past three years, Congress has rejected the Administration’s call to eliminate CNCS. To the contrary, last year Congress passed (and the President signed) a $21 million increase for the agency over FY 2019 levels.
Added Connolly, “Eliminating this funding would mark a loss of the patriotic service of the more than 75,000 young Americans and the 220,000 seniors who serve their nation and communities each year through these programs. Over a billion dollars in non-federal private source funding is leveraged by the funding that CNCS invests in nonprofits to run these programs. Without the federal investment, this funding would also disappear. It would mean the loss of hundreds of thousands of mentors and tutors in schools, communities left without those essential first boots on the ground after natural disasters, loss of support for those who are fighting opioid addiction, and the potential elimination of so many other vital services in communities across the country.”
“We will do everything in our power to make sure this element of the administration’s budget is dead on arrival – and we look forward to working with the bipartisan group of national service champions on Capitol Hill to ensure that Americans have the opportunity to serve, and that communities can count on their continued support.”
Every year, nearly 300,000 Americans serve in national service programs that provide critical services to fulfill unmet needs. National service members tutor and mentor students, help fight the opioid epidemic, provide job training and other services to returning veterans, preserve the nation’s parks and public lands, offer disaster relief and recovery assistance after natural disasters, and support independent living for seniors and Americans with disabilities.
Through AmeriCorps and Senior Corps, national service allows citizens of all ages and backgrounds to play a pivotal role in their communities by serving with thousands of nonprofit faith-based and community-based organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, YMCA, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, City Year, and Teach For America. Since 1994, more than 1.1 million AmeriCorps members have served, giving more than 1.6 billion hours of service and earning more than $3.6 billion in education awards or scholarships, $1 billion of which has been used to pay back student debt. A survey of AmeriCorps alumni found that eight out of 10 alumni say AmeriCorps benefited and advanced their career path, and that AmeriCorps alumni are more likely to attain a bachelor’s degree or higher than the average American adult. A recent study of Senior Corps found their members were healthier, less depressed, and less socially isolated than those who did not serve.
Congress created CNCS to be a public-private partnership that invests limited federal dollars to leverage substantial private investment to improve lives and communities. Every year, CNCS programs generate more than $1 billion in leveraged resources from businesses, foundations, and other sources, an amount exceeding the federal appropriation. Furthermore, for every federal dollar invested in national service, there are returns to society of nearly four dollars in terms of higher earnings, increased output and other community-wide benefits.
National service is tremendously popular. A poll in nine presidential battleground states found that 83 percent of registered voters, including 78 percent of Republicans, support increased or maintained federal investment in national service.
Voices for National Service is a diverse coalition of national service programs, state service commissions and individual champions, who work to ensure Americans of all ages and backgrounds have the opportunity to serve and volunteer in their community. Founded in 2003, Voices for National Service has built strong bipartisan support among our nation’s leaders and helped to elevate national service as a powerful strategy for tackling unmet needs, preparing young people for work, uniting our country and developing civic character.