Vermont's congressional delegation announced Thursday that Vermont has received $3 million in AmeriCorps funding.
In a joint statement, Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) said, "AmeriCorps continues to make an enormous impact on the lives of people in Vermont and throughout the United States. We are pleased these funds will allow volunteers to continue to do this important work."
The federal investment includes five grants totaling $1.6 million, which will support 191 AmeriCorps members. AmeriCorps members will engage in a range of work, including environmental conservation, mentoring disadvantaged youth, and pursuing opioid abuse prevention strategies.
The federal funding is from the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency for volunteering and service programs. The agency will also provide up to $743,628 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 $3 million in local support to increase community impact and return on federal investment.
The federal investment announced Thursday also includes $644,642 for the Vermont Commission on National and Community Service, the governor-appointed state service commission. Later this summer, the state service commission will make additional grants to support AmeriCorps programs in the state.
This year's AmeriCorps grant cycle was highly competitive. The 2017 competition prioritized investments in economic opportunity, education, governor and mayor initiatives, veterans and military families, disaster services and initiatives to build safer communities.
Below is a listing of 2017 AmeriCorps competitive grants in Vermont:
The DREAM Program National Grant (Winooski) -- AmeriCorps members will mentor disadvantaged Vermont youth, helping to close the opportunity gap for children in low-income housing. These AmeriCorps members will build trusted relationships, boost educational aspirations and expectations and establish a broader base of learning experiences. (47 AmeriCorps members)
ECO Vermont (Montpelier) -- AmeriCorps members will protect and improve water quality in the Lake Champlain watershed, educate community members on water quality issues, implement watershed restoration projects and improve public lands. (24 AmeriCorps members)
Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (Richmond) -- AmeriCorps members will engage Youth Crew Members in conservation and food security projects, including delivering fresh food to Vermonters. (40 AmeriCorps members)
Vermont Housing and Conservation Board AmeriCorps (Montpelier) -- AmeriCorps members will deliver affordable housing and environmental stewardship/education services through 30 nonprofits across the state. (36 AmeriCorps members)
Vermont Youth Development Corps (Montpelier) -- AmeriCorps members will foster positive development in youth, helping them avoid opioid abuse and other unhealthy behaviors. (44 AmeriCorps members)
Organizations are currently recruiting for AmeriCorps members to begin service this fall. AmeriCorps members typically receive a modest living stipend and a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award, or scholarship, upon completion of their service. The award can be used to pay for future education costs or to pay back student loans. Those interested in serving can learn more by visiting americorps.gov/join.
Since 1994, more than 1 million men and women have served in AmeriCorps, providing more than 1.4 billion hours of service and earning more than $3.3 billion in scholarships to pay for college, more than $1 billion of which has been used to pay back student loan debt.