First and foremost, THANK YOU to everyone who called Congress this week in support of AmeriCorps and Senior Corps funding! Together with our friends at Service Year Alliance and the States for Service initiative at America’s Service Commissions, we logged more than 800 calls to lawmakers. Please take a moment to look at the report of the current tally of calls per Senate office and if you can help us get more calls into places (especially Appropriator states) that have lower volume, please do so right away. It’s crucial that we get calls in this week in advance of the upcoming markups. To be honest, we did not see the kind of response to this effort that we had last year. I hope that those of you that did not prioritize calling or getting your networks to call will do so this week. In case you need to be reminded, the President has called for the elimination of CNCS. Now is not the time to assume someone else is calling. It’s on all of us.
Here’s the link:
Here’s why it’s important: Appropriations committee staff are drafting F19 Labor-HHS Appropriations bills as we speak. Staff tally every call and voicemail that comes to their office and take the tallies into consideration as they make decisions about funding priorities—so these calls go a long way in putting pressure on folks on the Hill to continue to make funding for national service a priority. The House and Senate are expected to mark up the bills in June—we know that the Senate markup will be during the week of June 25, and we are hearing that the House markup will occur before the Senate. As soon as we have firm dates, we will share them with all of you.
We also want to thank everyone from the Voices community who contributed to other important efforts in advance of markup, including members of the Voices Government Affairs Committee who have participated in meetings with Appropriations committee staff, as well as our Voices State Chapters that have organized state-level sign on letters in support of CNCS funding. Most recently, the team at Volunteer Florida submitted a letter signed by five Florida mayors highlighting the impact of AmeriCorps and Senior Corps in their state.
The Corps Network has organized a letter of support for AmeriCorps from professionals in local, county, state and federal emergency management and forestry and wildfire. Examples of emergency management professionals include field coordinators, response managers, emergency management specialists, etc. Here is a template email to send to your partners. Please contact Josh Tuohy (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions.
Here are some additional highlights from the past week:
- Thanks to Lori Bishop of the Flint Hills Center in Kansas for engaging Senator Jerry Moran after a recent town hall meeting. We know that meeting with legislators in person while they are in their districts is one of the most effective ways to increase support for national service, and we’re glad to hear the report that Senator Moran was supportive of Senior Corps!
- Representative Derek Kilmer of Washington spoke about the importance of national service at the recent ASC Pacific Southwest Service training. Additionally, Representative Kilmer and Representative Pramila Jayapal were both honored during the 2018 Puget Sound Day on the Hill. Thank you to Amber Martin-Jahn, Susan Weiss, Steve Dubiel, and our other partners in Washington for your work to build relationships with members of the Washington delegation.
- We were excited to hear about successful meetings with staff from Senator Tammy Duckworth, Senator Dick Durbin, and Representative Brad Schneider’s offices. Thanks to Bob Shears of Youth Conservation Corps of Illinois for raising awareness of national service with these members of Congress!
- Thank you to the Corps Network for working with Representative Mark Meadows of North Carolina and Representative Scott Tipton of Colorado to recognize the work that AmeriCorps members are doing in their states!
- Congratulations to the Cranston Senior RSVP Program in Rhode Island for hosting Mayor Allan Fung, who spoke at their annual recognition event in support of AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs. It’s great to see local elected officials celebrating the value of national service in their communities.
- We were glad to see Senior Corps volunteers in New Jersey recognized for over 8,500 hours of service by Senator Tom Kean, Mayor Chris Bollwage, and New Jersey CNCS. Big thanks to these Senior Corps volunteers for all the work they do to improve communities in New Jersey!
Make your calls!