AmeriCorps members make an important difference in communities across Minnesota -- helping children learn and thrive, building homes, and improving our environment. And today, nearly than 1,800 AmeriCorps members across the state received $19.6 million in new funding to continue those important service activities statewide.
Today, Governor Mark Dayton announced that ServeMinnesota, the governor-appointed commission on national and community service, has received $19,595,887 in AmeriCorps funding from the Corporation for National and Community Service -- the largest competitive grant amount received by any one state. These grants will support 1,771 AmeriCorps members serving in more than 200 communities across the state to serve with five organizations -- including the state's flagship early literacy program -- Minnesota Reading Corps.
"For the second year in a row, Minnesota's AmeriCorps program is leading the nation in service. I thank them for all of their hard work and their commitment to serving others," said Governor Dayton.
Due to strong demand for funding nationwide, the current year's AmeriCorps grant cycle was highly competitive. During the 2014 grant process, AmeriCorps prioritized investments in economic opportunity, education, veterans and military families, and disaster services.
"AmeriCorps members make a powerful impact on the toughest challenges facing our nation," said Corporation for National and Community Service CEO Wendy Spencer. "Building on Minnesota's strong tradition of neighbor helping neighbor, AmeriCorps members will improve lives and strengthen communities across the state. As they serve others, AmeriCorps members will also expand opportunities for themselves - gaining skills and experience to jumpstart their careers. As we mark the 20th anniversary of AmeriCorps, we salute AmeriCorps members for their dedication, and thank our outstanding partners who make their service possible."
In addition to the funds awarded in the national competition, an additional $2 million (based on a state population formula) will be granted to ServeMinnesota, which in turn will award grants to nonprofit organizations and public agencies across the state. The law creating AmeriCorps gave a key role to states in determining how national service resources are used and promoting service and volunteering to meet community needs.
As part of the grant funding, Corporation for National and Community Service also will make $8,862,449 available in Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards for the AmeriCorps members funded by these grants. After completing a full term of service, AmeriCorps members receive an award of $5,645 that they can use to pay for college or to pay off student loans. Members who are 55 years old or older can defer their education award to a child or grandchild.
Minnesota AmeriCorps programs funded for the 2014-2015 program year include:
City of Lakes AmeriCorps -- Minneapolis Public Schools
Community Technology Empowerment Project
Conservation Corps Minnesota
LEAP (Learning Early Achieves Potential) -- Southern MN Initiative Foundation
Minnesota Green Corps
Minnesota Math Corps
Minnesota Opportunity Corps
Minnesota Reading Corps
Promise Fellows Minnesota Alliance with Youth
True North AmeriCorps -- Duluth Area YMCA
Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the AmeriCorps program. Since 1994, more than 830,000 Americans have provided more than 1 billion hours of service addressing critical challenges in education, economic stability, disaster recovery and poverty.
ServeMinnesota is a catalyst for positive social change and community service, working with AmeriCorps members and community partners to meet critical needs in Minnesota. As a nonprofit organization, it recruits and supports thousands of individuals to improve the lives of Minnesotans by offering life-changing service opportunities that focus on education, affordable housing, employment, and the environment.
Since its creation in 1994, ServeMinnesota has mobilized nearly 10,000 AmeriCorps members who train and support more than 300,000 volunteers. Through strategic initiatives like Minnesota Reading Corps and Minnesota Math Corps, ServeMinnesota works in partnership with schools and teachers to close the achievement gap and help struggling students become successful learners. For more information, visit www.serveminnesota.org.
AmeriCorps is administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, the Social Innovation Fund, and the Volunteer Generation Fund, and leads the President's national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit www.NationalService.gov.