Voices for National Service President AnnMaura Connolly’s Statement on President Trump’s 2018 Budget
Elimination of the Corporation for National and Community Service would devastate more than 1,100 faith-based and community organizations, put 80,000 AmeriCorps members out of work, and prevent 270,000 Senior Corps members from providing vital service to their communities
WASHINGTON, DC – Voices for National Service, a diverse coalition of national, state and local service programs, state service commissions and individual champions, who advocate to ensure Americans of all ages have the opportunity to serve and volunteer in their community, today issued a statement upon release of President Trump’s 2018 Budget.
Disregarding overwhelming public support and eight decades of strong bipartisan legislative support for national service, the Administration’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget calls for the elimination of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency that administers national service programs including AmeriCorps and Senior Corps. The elimination of CNCS would have no real impact on overall federal spending; total funding for CNCS is .029 percent, or less than three hundredths of one percent.
Following is a statement by AnnMaura Connolly, President of Voices for National Service.
“National service is a powerful institution that unites Americans and restores important values of patriotism and civic duty. The elimination of the Corporation for National and Community Service, AmeriCorps and Senior Corps would be a devastating blow to the tens of thousands of young Americans who gain valuable job experience and training while providing essential service to their communities, and to the hundreds of thousands of seniors who serve their neighbors and communities.
“It would cripple the more than 1,100 faith-based and community organizations like Teach For America, Habitat for Humanity, Catholic Charities USA and The American Red Cross, that rely on AmeriCorps members to serve children and families as tutors and mentors, respond to natural disasters, and take care of military families in large and small communities all across our nation. It would put the 80,000 people who serve in AmeriCorps annually out of work. At a time when the price of college is astronomical and so many Americans need jobs, AmeriCorps helps young people pay for college, prepares them for the workforce, and helps the unemployed find work.
“It would eliminate the roles of 270,000 Senior Corps members, all 55 years of age or older, who help the elderly live independently, mentor youth in our rural schools, and manage volunteers after natural disasters. And it would hurt our nation’s veterans. AmeriCorps and Senior Corps serve more than 750,000 veterans and military families, and 23,000 veterans serve in these programs, applying the skills they gained in the military to tackle problems here at home.
“The elimination of the Corporation for National and Community Service would also mean the end of the Social Innovation Fund that mobilizes private resources to find and grow community solutions with evidence of results, and the Volunteer Generation Fund that supports voluntary organizations and state service commissions in boosting the impact of volunteers in addressing critical community needs.
“Rather than costing taxpayers money, national service saves federal dollars. By matching or exceeding federal support with private sector dollars, national service programs lessen the strain on the federal government through partnerships with more than 1,100 community and faith-based nonprofits. Studies show that national service programs generate a two-to-one return for the taxpayer and a nearly four-to-one return for society in terms of higher earnings, increased output and other community-wide benefits. For every $10 in federal money appropriated, another $15 is separately raised from private sources to fund AmeriCorps partnerships across the country.
“Last year Congress voted to expand AmeriCorps, underscoring the strong bipartisan support national service has among members of Congress, many of whom have seen first-hand the tremendous impact of AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members in their states and districts. And just last week, members of Congress from both parties, including Senators Roy Blunt, Thad Cochran, Chris Coons and Jerry Moran, cosponsored a resolution acknowledging and celebrating the significant accomplishments of AmeriCorps members and alumni. We look forward to working with them and their Senate and House colleagues through the Congressional budget process to ensure that national service continues to provide vital support to communities across the country.”
Voices for National Service is a diverse coalition of national, state and local 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.