New Research Shows an Unprecedented Return on Investment to the Federal Government and Communities from AmeriCorps and Senior Corps
Washington, DC (July 20, 2020) – A new study released today by Voices for National Service demonstrates that every $1 in federal taxes invested in AmeriCorps and Senior Corps returns $17.30 to society, program members, and the federal government.
“National service has been an essential source of people power and ingenuity for our country for decades,” said AnnMaura Connolly, President of Voices for National Service. “We have always known that AmeriCorps and Senior Corps punch above their weight when it comes to the benefits they provide to society, those who serve, and the government. Now we know that the return on investment is an incredible 17:1.”
ICF conducted the cost-benefit analysis and return on investment study for the Corporation for National Service’s (CNCS) AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs, measuring the impact on members (AmeriCorps and Seniors Corps members who serve), society (AmeriCorps and Senior Corps program beneficiaries), and government (local, state, and federal governments). The Federal Benefit-Cost Ratio of more than 17:1 is a combination of all benefits to society, including program beneficiaries who were served by AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members nationwide, all benefits to members who served in AmeriCorps and Senior Corps (such as additional employment and income gains, educational attainment, and improved health benefits), and all the tax revenue generated and government savings realized as a result of the society and member benefits derived from national service programs.
- Benefit to Society: The study measured 30 programs and assigned monetary value for outcomes in housing, academic support, public lands work and much more.
- Benefit to AmeriCorps and Senior Corps Members: Service members gain valuable skills, advance their education and careers, increase their earnings, and live healthier lives.
- Benefit to Federal Government: The federal government directly benefits from tax revenue gains and savings because of the impact AmeriCorps and Senior Corps has on society and those who serve. The proactive nature of these programs addresses community challenges early, lessening dependence on other government programs and reducing expenditures in criminal justice, welfare, and public health.
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members across the country have acted quickly and creatively to address gaps in services and persistent inequities that have only been exacerbated by COVID-19. AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members have delivered millions of meals, conducted hundreds of thousands of wellness checks, expanded access to health screenings, set up temporary isolation sites, organized blood drives and are providing virtual teaching, tutoring and mentoring to students.
You can find a copy of the study, here, and the Executive Summary, here.
Background on National Service
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.
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), which runs AmeriCorps and Senior Corps, is a public-private partnership that invests limited federal dollars to leverage substantial private investment to improve lives and communities through service. Every year, CNCS programs generate more than $1 billion in leveraged resources from businesses, foundations, and other sources, an amount exceeding the federal appropriation.
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.