More Funding is Needed to Make Service a More Equitable Opportunity for All Americans
FOR IMMEDATE RELEASE
Contact: Ranit Schmelzer, firstname.lastname@example.org
Washington, DC (Monday, March 28, 2022) – The fiscal year 2023 budget released by President Biden today calls for $1.34 billion in funding for AmeriCorps, the federal agency that oversees national service in the United States, and its two biggest programs, AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps Seniors.
The Administration’s request is $189 million over the fiscal year 2022 enacted budget, and it proposes to make important, targeted investments in the AmeriCorps programs to support over 250,000 national service participants.
As the nation begins to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, AmeriCorps members are a vital source of people power. President Biden’s FY23 request is a step in the right direction, however, these funding levels will not allow for substantial growth in AmeriCorps or provide for a meaningful increase in the AmeriCorps member living allowance – a critical strategy for ensuring that service is a viable opportunity open to Americans of all backgrounds. Increasing the benefits for those who serve has been a priority for the Biden Administration and has bipartisan support in the Congress.
“For decades, AmeriCorps members have helped communities tackle their most pressing challenges, and service has never been more crucial than now,” said AnnMaura Connolly, President of Voices for National Service. “Over the past two years, AmeriCorps members acted quickly and creatively to address gaps in services, and they will continue to be a critical resource as the nation begins to recover from the pandemic.”
“Today, AmeriCorps members continue to support vaccination efforts, collect and distribute food, tutor and mentor students to help diminish the impacts of COVID-driven instructional loss, conduct wellness checks for homebound individuals, respond to and help communities recover from natural disasters, and more.”
“Now is exactly the time we should lean into AmeriCorps, and we look forward to working with the bipartisan national service champions in Congress to ensure a more robust investment.”
AmeriCorps programs harness the energy and ingenuity of our nation’s most valuable resource – our citizens – to address community needs and help local economies grow. AmeriCorps enables thousands of community and faith-based organizations, including the American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and United Way, to put boots on the ground to strengthen education from preschool through college, support our veterans and military families, combat poverty, assist seniors in independent living, and foster economic opportunities across America.
The economic value of this work is enormous. According to a 2020 study, every $1 in federal money invested in national service programs returns $17.30 to society, program members, and the federal government. That means with an annual budget of $1.34 billion, the AmeriCorps programs could yield more than $23.2 billion in higher earnings, higher tax revenues, and lower strain on the social safety net every year.
Furthermore, 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.