Urge Congress to Invest in AmeriCorps

This is urgent. Community-based organizations that leverage AmeriCorps members to help address local needs must take action to ensure that Congress provides $1.5 billion in fiscal year 2025 (FY25) for the AmeriCorps programs and the National Service Trust Fund. This funding is needed to protect more than 75,000 AmeriCorps and 143,000 AmeriCorps Seniors positions.

We need your help to ensure Congress invests in AmeriCorps, so communities can continue to count on AmeriCorps for help where it is needed most.  

What’s at Stake?

Over the past three years, the AmeriCorps agency has leveraged $1 billion in supplemental funding from the America Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to add AmeriCorps positions and increase AmeriCorps member living allowances. While ARPA helped to make long overdue strategic investments in AmeriCorps, the ARPA funds are winding down and without additional funds in FY25, as many as 34,000 AmeriCorps and 6,000 AmeriCorps Seniors position may have to be eliminated.

Cuts of this magnitude will shrink AmeriCorps participation by 44%. This will wind back the clock to 1997 and cripple a national service infrastructure built over three decades. Hundreds of community-based organizations that utilize AmeriCorps members would be impacted. The elimination of service positions and resources will disrupt their operations and dramatically reduce services for people and communities in need.

How Can I Help?

Your members of Congress are in the midst of a challenging debate regarding the federal budget and what the country should invest in.   If you believe AmeriCorps is a valuable investment, we encourage you to contact your lawmakers and make sure they understand how AmeriCorps members and funding are being leveraged in their district/state to solve locally-determined challenges and priorities.

If Congress can provide $1.5 billion in FY25 for the AmeriCorps programs and the National Service Trust Fund, we can restore the number of funded AmeriCorps slots and sustain critical gains made with ARPA funds.  

Join us in calling on Congress to invest in AmeriCorps and our service members. This webpage makes up the Advocate’s Guide to AmeriCorps and Appropriations, and it will be updated with new and refreshed resources on a rolling basis. If you have any questions about the tactics listed below or would like to schedule a call to discuss key messages or engagement opportunities, please email Shanelle Oliver, Director of Advocacy & Outreach, at soliver2@cityyear.org.


The Most Effective Strategies for Engaging with Congress:

How to Discuss FY25 Funding with Your Member(s) of Congress

It is up to us to convince our lawmakers that funding for AmeriCorps is more than nice, it’s essential. We encourage you to look for every opportunity to communicate the impact of your service program through direct engagement with your legislators, special events, speaking engagements, newsletters, social media, blog posts and more.

It is critical that you proactively emphasize the importance of funding AmeriCorps in all messages. This messaging and talking points guide breaks down the current funding issues AmeriCorps is facing in fiscal year 2025 as well as provides talking points that you can utilize, and customize, during your meetings and conversations with your lawmakers.

This appropriations one-pager explains what is at stake for AmeriCorps in detail, including funding charts. Download this document and share it with your legislators in meetings and site visits or use the data in your other advocacy efforts.

We also encourage you to check out our tips for handling tough questions before any meetings or visits with you member(s) of Congress, where we provide you with strategies on how to answer questions and sample answers to tough questions.

Meet with your member(s) of Congress.

When lawmakers have to make difficult budget decisions, it is critical that they know which federal programs are making a difference in the lives of their constituents. A meeting with your member of Congress or their senior staff is one of the most valuable ways that you can explain the impact your program is having in the communities they represent and the important role AmeriCorps funding plays in those results. Scheduling a meeting with the district/state office is easy and allows you to establish a relationship that can be deepened over time. 

Host a site visit for your member(s) of Congress.

Even more than a meeting in the congressperson’s office, a site visit to a service location is the best way to demonstrate the critical services your organization provides and the real-life benefits of fully funding AmeriCorps. While hosting a site visit for your legislator or their staff requires more planning, it is an excellent way to cultivate a relationship that will benefit your program and AmeriCorps in the long term. 

Write to your Senators and Representatives.

A well-crafted letter from your executive leadership or local champions is another tool to communicate AmeriCorps’ unique value to your community and the importance of federal funding. Activating your board members, service partners, community leaders, and philanthropic investors and having them sign onto a letter in support of AmeriCorps funding will elevate the impact of your message. 

Write an op-ed or letter to the editor.

Members of Congress closely monitor constituent interests and concerns via local news outlets. An opinion piece or letter to the editor that speaks to a broader audience, and underscores AmeriCorps’ vital importance to the local community, is a great way to get their attention and garner public support. 

Share these messages on your communications channels.

You can raise awareness of the value of AmeriCorps – and the importance of fully funding AmeriCorps – through tools like social media, blog posts, email newsletters, and more. Be sure to tag @Voices4Service and use #Stand4Service so we can amplify any posts on social media! 


Additional Resources:

Advocacy Starts at Home – In 2019, Voices for National Service interviewed Brian McNabb, Senator Bill Cassidy’s State Director, to discuss the role of the district office, how to cultivate a relationship with district staff, and tips for leveraging an in-district meeting. There are many benefits to beginning your AmeriCorps advocacy in the Congressperson’s district, away from the chaos and distractions of Washington, D.C. Check out this short video series to make the most of engaging with your member of Congress at home, and building a connection based in your local community that will transfer to the halls of the Capitol! 


Fast Action Tools:

Email

Send a customizable email to your members of Congress.

Tweet

Share your support for AmeriCorps by sending a tweet.

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Follow @Voices4Service on social media to see what our member organizations are doing and keep up with AmeriCorps legislative issues.