AnnMaura Connolly
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President, Voices for National Service

This Week in National Service – 5/21/2018

I hope everyone has recovered from the royal wedding and is ready to dive back into our work to make sure that national service is top of mind as Congress heads into markup season…

The Senate Appropriations Committee announced that they plan to mark up the FY19 Labor-HHS Appropriations Bill during the week of June 25-29. The House has not announced their markup date, but committee staff have shared that they are also preparing for a mid- to late-June markup. This means now is our window of influence to ensure that national service remains a top funding priority for lawmakers.

Mark your calendars! To make sure that we are keeping the pressure on a tough decisions are being made, Voices for National Service is teaming up with our partners at Service Year Alliance and America’s Service Commissions to organize a national service call-in day on June 5. Calling Congress only takes a few minutes, but especially when we all work together, a large volume of calls can make a big difference in getting the attention of appropriators and their staff. We’ll be in touch in the coming weeks with more details, but in the meantime, please mark your calendars.

We’re seeing fantastic progress from our State Chapter Network on the state sector sign-on letters. A special congratulations to John Albright of the Missouri National Service Coalition for the Joplin Globe article covering the sign-on letter from 16 Missouri mayors to Senator Blunt. Well done! We’re encouraging all of our state chapters to finalize and submit their letters as soon as possible to maximize their impact—if you have questions or would like to participate in your state, please reach out to Amanda Hooper (ahooper@cityyear.org).

The Voices for National Service Government Affairs Committee has continued to schedule meetings with Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee members and their staff leading up to markup. This week – they met with the lead staff on the House Appropriations Committee (majority and minority) and the approps staffers in the offices of Senators Shelby, Reed, Alexander and Durbin.  The staff for House Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Tom Cole shared that the committee received a significant number of letters of support for CNCS funding from their Republican colleagues.  The staffer confirmed that these support letters are very important and do influence committee decisions, and reinforced that our ongoing work to get members of Congress to sign Dear Colleagues and identify CNCS as a funding priority is critical and matters.  So let’s keep it up!

The Corps Network is leading the way again, organizing a letter to Congress in support of AmeriCorps and its disaster response and recovery efforts.  The letter is from professionals in emergency management, forestry and wildlife, who have partnered with AmeriCorps and NCCC in disaster-affected areas across the country.  If you can help collect signatures on this disaster-focused letter, please contact Josh Tuohy at jtuohy@corpsnetwork.org.

Here are some highlights from the past week:

  • Thank you to everyone who joined us this week in Seattle for the ASC Pacific-Southwest Regional training for the Voices for National Service Session on effective messages and strategies for engaging elected officials in support of AmeriCorps and Senior Corps. We had a fantastic discussion and it is always a pleasure to connect in person. Thanks to ASC and Serve Washington for hosting the conference!
  • Washington Conservation Corps members are working 16 hour days filling sandbags to protect homes as part of the response to the worst flooding in more than 40 years. Yet again, we see how national service members are playing a pivotal role in disaster response. Thank you for your service!
  • Last week marked Hurricane Preparedness week, and as communities prepare for another hurricane season, we are grateful to all the AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members across the country who help prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters.
  • The Reconnecting Youth Campaign – with support from Ilana Levinson at YouthBuild, Thaddeus Ferber with The Forum for Youth Investment and Dorothy Stoneman with Opportunity Youth United – held a successful Hill Day on May 10th. During their congressional visits, they recruited legislators to join the new Opportunity Youth Caucus – a congressional caucus committed to increasing funding for programs that support opportunity youth, which includes AmeriCorps.
  • Thank you to RSVP of Kauai for engaging your local elected officials during Senior Corps week, which got great local news coverage. Keep up the good work!

Thanks for your continued work to keep momentum up!

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