Administration’s Budget Gives Boost to AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps Seniors
WASHINGTON, DC (June 1, 2021) – The fiscal year 2022 budget released on Friday by President Biden calls for $1.2 billion in funding for AmeriCorps, the federal agency that leads service and volunteering efforts in the United States, and its two biggest programs, AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps Seniors. Among other things, the $89.2 million over the fiscal year 2021 enacted budget will help sustain the increased living allowance for AmeriCorps members included in the American Rescue Plan, making it possible for more Americans of diverse backgrounds to serve.
“For the past year, national service members have acted quickly and creatively to address gaps in services and persistent inequities that have only been worsened by the pandemic,” said AnnMaura Connolly, President of Voices for National Service. “AmeriCorps has put nearly all of their available resources behind this crisis already, but to do more – and there is so much more to do – requires additional funding.”
“As made evident by a new national poll, an overwhelming percentage of young adults – from urban to suburban to rural, and across all races and party affiliations – are eager to serve our nation and their communities through AmeriCorps. Let’s give them the opportunity to do so. Given the tremendous bipartisan support for AmeriCorps, the desire of people to serve, and the needs of our nation, now is the time to take this seriously and dramatically expand the federal investment in AmeriCorps. We look forward to working with Congress to do so.”
A national poll of 18 – 24 year old young adults conducted last month found that there is near universal support for expanding national service opportunities through AmeriCorps (81%), and a great majority of them (71%) would consider serving in AmeriCorps. Furthermore, 81% said that it was a good idea to increase the budget for AmeriCorps in the most recent COVID-19 relief package, and 79% think it would be a good idea to invest additional funding this year.
In 2020, ICF conducted a cost-benefit analysis and return on investment study on AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps Seniors and found that every $1 in federal taxes invested in AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps Seniors returns $17.30 to society, program members, and the federal government. Every $1 billion investment in national service would yield $17 billion in benefits in higher earnings, higher tax revenues, and lower strain on the social safety net.
Through AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps Seniors, 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.
AmeriCorps is a proven pathway that helps young people prepare for future jobs, particularly for populations hardest hit by the pandemic. Members gain valuable career skills and experience, from career training to occupational skills to network building. According to a survey of AmeriCorps alumni, eight out of ten say AmeriCorps advanced and benefited their career path.
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.