Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Congressman Peter Welch (D-VT) today announced that Vermont has received $2.1 million in AmeriCorps funding. The grants are from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency for volunteering and service programs.
In a joint statement, Leahy, Sanders, and Welch said, "Since its inception, AmeriCorps has made an enormous impact on the lives of Vermonters. This year alone, more than 2000 AmeriCorps volunteers are serving in 450 locations across Vermont, supporting affordable housing, education, working on projects to improve water quality, providing services to veterans and their families, and more. We are excited to announce these three grants today, which will allow these volunteers to continue tackling some of the toughest issues facing our state with dedication and passion."
Leahy, Sanders and Welch voted in support of the highest-ever spending levels to support volunteer and service programs in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016, signed into law by President Obama in December. This bill included a $39.9 million increase over the previous year to enable communities in Vermont to expand service opportunities. The delegation has since supported increases to funding for CNCS in the ongoing appropriations process that will determine spending levels for Fiscal Year 2017.
"For more than 20 years, AmeriCorps members have had a positive and lasting impact on the toughest challenges facing our nation," said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. "Building on Vermont's strong tradition of neighbor helping neighbor, AmeriCorps members will improve lives and strengthen communities across the state. While they serve others, AmeriCorps members will also expand opportunity for themselves - gaining skills and experience to jumpstart their careers. I salute every AmeriCorps member for his or her dedication and determination to "get things done' and respond to the needs in their communities."
The federal investment includes 3 grants totaling $1 million, which will support 86 AmeriCorps members. AmeriCorps members will tackle some of the toughest problems in Vermont including supporting affordable housing education efforts, improving water quality, providing services to veterans and their family members, and more.
CNCS will provide up to $462,029 in education scholarships for the AmeriCorps members funded by these grants to help pay for college, vocational training, or pay back student loans. The federal investment is projected to generate an additional $1.2 million in local support to increase community impact and return on federal investment.
The federal investment announced today also includes more than $653,707 for the Vermont Commission on National and Community Service, the Governor-appointed state service commission. Later this summer, the Vermont Commission on National and Community Service will make additional grants to support AmeriCorps programs in the state.
The current year's AmeriCorps grant cycle was highly competitive, due to the strong demand by organizations seeking AmeriCorps resources. The 2016 competition prioritized investments in economic opportunity, education, veterans and military families, disaster services, and continued a new initiative for governors and mayors.
Below is a listing of 2016 AmeriCorps competitive grants in Vermont:
* Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation: AmeriCorps members will implement strategies to protect and improve water quality in the Lake Champlain watershed, an important water resource that is currently impaired by excess phosphorus. ($313,704 grant; 24 AmeriCorps members)
* Vermont Housing and Conservation Board: AmeriCorps members will deliver affordable housing and environmental stewardship and education services through 30 nonprofits across the state. ($368,669 grant; 36 AmeriCorps members)
* Washington County Youth Service Bureau Boys and Girls Club: AmeriCorps members will provide services to veteran and military families and implement initiatives to prevent childhood obesity. ($325,000 grant; 26 AmeriCorps members)
AmeriCorps engages more than 75,000 members in intensive service annually to serve through nonprofit, faith-based, and community organizations at 21,000 locations across the country. These members help communities tackle pressing problems while mobilizing millions of volunteers for the organizations they serve.
Over the past two decades, more than 980,000 Americans have served in AmeriCorps providing more than 1.3 billion hours of service, and earning more than $3.1 billion in education scholarships. Later this year, the one millionth AmeriCorps member will take the AmeriCorps pledge, committing to "get things done' for America.
AmeriCorps is administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that engages millions of 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.