Senator Coons to be Inducted into the National Service Hall of Fame
Induction Event held March 24 at 4:15pm
Washington, DC (March 23, 2021) – Voices for National Service announced today that it is inducting Senator Chris Coons into the National Service Hall of Fame for his vocal championship and unwavering commitment to strengthening AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps Seniors. This is the organization’s highest honor.
The National Service Award will be presented to Senator Coons in a live virtual ceremony on Wednesday, March 24, at 4:15 pm. Media interested in participating must register here.
“For more than two decades, Senator Coons has championed national service,” said AnnMaura Connolly, President, Voices for National Service. “He is a relentless advocate and a fierce believer in the role the federal government can play in putting citizens at the center of solving community problems.”
Continued Connolly, “He was instrumental in securing $1 billion for AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps Seniors in the American Rescue Plan. And as the lead author of the CORPS Act he has led the charge to grow AmeriCorps to 250,000 members annually and advocated for an increased federal investment to make that goal a reality – at a time when our country needs national service the most. We are immensely grateful to him for his leadership, and it is our honor to induct him into the Voices for National Service Hall of Fame.”
“I am honored to receive this recognition from Voices for National Service,” said Senator Coons. “For decades, AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps Seniors have helped tackle unmet needs in our communities. Today, when those needs are more urgent than ever, and when thousands of Americans across the country are raising their hands to serve, expanding national service can help make our communities stronger and healthier for everyone. The CORPS Act will empower Americans to give back to their communities while earning a college opportunity and valuable skills for the future. I’m committed to working with my bipartisan colleagues to make this bill a reality.”
Prior to coming to Congress, Senator Coons helped launch and lead an AmeriCorps program with the I Have A Dream Foundation. Later, as County Executive, he served for a decade on the Delaware State Service Commission and helped create a program to recruit volunteer firefighters in his hometown.
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. Senator Coons is leading the charge to expand AmeriCorps through the Cultivating Opportunity and Response to the Pandemic through Service (CORPS) Act.
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 Sussex County Habitat for Humanity, Public Allies Delaware, Reading Assist, Warrior Community Connect and Teach For America. The economic value of this work is enormous. A July 2020 study found that every $1 in federal money invested in national service programs returns $17.30 to society, program members, and the federal government.
Since the coronavirus outbreak last year, members of AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps Seniors have acted quickly and creatively to address gaps in services and persistent inequities that have only been worsened by the pandemic, from providing virtual teaching, tutoring and mentoring to students, to conducting wellness checks, to delivering meals. National service is a proven pathway help prepare young people prepare for future jobs, particularly for populations hardest hit by the pandemic.
The CORPS Act would expand AmeriCorps, increase the living allowance and double the education award, making college more affordable for those who serve. The bill proposes to expand AmeriCorps to 150,000 positions in year one, 200,000 in year two, and 250,000 in year three, giving more Americans the opportunity to earn a living stipend while doing purpose driven work at a time when unemployment numbers are on the rise.
Voices for National Service is a diverse coalition of national and local service programs, state service commissions, and individual champions committed to expanding opportunities for Americans of all ages to serve their communities. Founded in 2003, the coalition is the respected voice for the service community in Washington, DC, and has worked to educate our nation’s leaders about the power and potential of national service to meet local community needs, expand economic opportunity, and build leaders for the future at low cost to American taxpayers. Each year, the Friends of National Service Awards is the coalition’s opportunity to recognize leaders from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors who have contributed to building a culture of citizenship, service and responsibility in America.