Update: National Service Funding in the Stimulus Package

2/11/09: Check out this post about the Senate compromise version of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

1/29/09: The Acting CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) offers a legislative update.

But Steve Waldman takes issue with the details of the package.

Nicola Goren, the Acting CEO of CNCS, summarized details of the stimulus package — the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 — that passed in the House yesterday; and the version that is up for a vote in the Senate.

Regarding the House of Representatives, according to Goren:

Earlier tonight, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1, their version of the bill, by a vote of 244-188. The legislation includes $200 million for the Corporation for National and Community Service. According to the House Committee Report, $160 million is provided for AmeriCorps State and National to expand “existing AmeriCorps grants” and $40 million is for the National Service Trust. The committee report cites the challenges facing the nonprofit sector and notes that “nonprofit organizations are also experiencing an increased number of applications for service opportunities and increased demand for services for vulnerable populations to meet critical needs” and suggests the funding would engage an estimated 16,000 more AmeriCorps members.

The bill contains additional legislative language addressing the proposed use of these funds. To read the bill language or committee report, visit the Library of Congress’s Thomas website at http://thomas.loc.gov/ and click on HR1: The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 . You can also get the report, the committee-passed version of the bill, and other information from the House Appropriations Committee website at http://appropriations.house.gov/.

And regarding the progress of the Senate’s version of the same bill:

Yesterday, the full Senate Appropriations Committee approved S. 336, its version of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. According to the committee report, the bill contains $200 million for the Corporation and its programs, broken down as follows:

  • $160 million for AmeriCorps, of which:
    • $65 million for AmeriCorps State and National grants
    • $65 million for AmeriCorps VISTA
    • $13 million for research related to volunteer service
    • $10 million for AmeriCorps NCCC
    • $6 million for upgrades to information technology
    • $1 million for State Commissions
  • $40 million for the National Service Trust

Additional language concerning the intended use of these funds is contained in the bill text and committee report. Both are available now on the Senate Appropriations Committee website at http://appropriations.senate.gov/. To view the bill text, click on Text of S336, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan. For the committee report, click on American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan Report.

The next step is for the full Senate to take up the legislation, which is expected to occur next week. Following Senate passage, the House and Senate will meet in a conference to work out differences between the measures. We will keep you posted on further developments.

To read about other potential funding for national service this year, check out the Serve America Act, and this New York Times editorial advocating for its passage.

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Global Citizen Year Launch Party – San Francisco

Map of the event locationThe emerging international service corps for gap-year students will hold a launch party Feb. 7th in San Francisco.

The Global Citizen Year West Coast Launch Party will be Feb. 7th, 8 pm to midnight at Mr. Barbershop and Urban Lounge, 560 Sacramento Street in San Francisco. The cost to attend is a minimum donation of $10 (which will go to GCY).

Global Citizen Year, which will launch its pioneer group of fellows this fall, aims to “prepare a pipeline of new American leaders to combat global poverty and injustice throughout their lives” by putting high school grads in apprenticeships throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

According to the vision, Fellows will emerge with leadership, cross-cultural and language skills — and a commitment to global concerns throughout their lives.

Because U.S. high schoolers will serve under the guidance of local development projects and leadership, the program has the potential of side stepping some of the pitfalls of other one-way development models, where people from the Global North head to the Global South as experts.

Global Citizen Year Fellows also live in local homes which will likely be a profound experience for them.

As part of their capstone project, Fellows return home to share their experience with the community through a presentation.

To learn more about international volunteering, check out the upcoming Idealist.org Global Volunteering Fairs and/or our International Volunteerism Resource Center.

Next week The New Service will introduce a different international service corps each day in honor of the fairs, so check back for more.

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Find Your Global Volunteer Gig!

picture-1Global do-gooders meet international volunteer organizations through Idealist.org’s Global Volunteering Fairs during the week of Feb. 1st.

So we agree: overseas service is more valuable now than ever before — to lend a hand where asked. To show a different face of the United States than what people can see in films and newspapers. To change yourself in permanent ways, to learn another language/life. Citizen diplomacy at its best.

However: finding a reliable global volunteer experience can be a challenge — a volunteer org you can trust, where you know what will happen when that plane touches down, overseas.

Challenges come from lack of access to organizations, headquartered in distant cities. Or from knowing that pretty websites can make any organization seem legitimate.

How can you know for sure what you are getting yourself into?

Next week, you can meet dozens of international volunteer organizations at once. Meet representatives face-to-face who coordinate a range of volunteer projects overseas in a variety of communities.

Idealist’s Erin Barnhart will launch the second season of Idealist.org Global Volunteering Fairs in the following cities:

The fairs will offer panel discussions and workshops on International  Volunteerism 101 and Affordable Volunteering Abroad.

If you are like me and you don’t live in Washington, New York, or Boston, please take advantage of Idealist’s international volunteerism resources online:

  • Resource center — which helps answer questions like, should you go it alone or with a group? and how do pay for it? and how do you translate your experience when you get home?
  • Discussion forum — where you can ask questions and find out about programs you hadn’t heard of
  • Opportunity search — local or international, for an hour or for a year

Next week The New Service will introduce a different international service corps each day in honor of the fairs, so check back for more.

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Community Fellows at Lehigh U.

This came to my attention and I thought I would pass it on.

Lehigh University is offering a a one-year Masters that is ideal for AmeriCorps alumni and others interested in combining service with graduate study. It’s also unique in that rather than provide Fellows a scholarship directly, much of the tuition is covered by the school and the community agency where the student serves.

* * * * *

Lehigh University Community Fellows is a one year MA program in Sociology or Political Science. Fellows are placed with a non-profit partner agency, working on a significant project in the agency for fifteen hours per week as part of their academic work, while taking classes toward their Masters degree. Fellows focus on completing projects identified and designed by the agencies. All of the Fellows’ projects include work toward systems change, and giving a greater voice to ordinary citizens.

Community Fellows’ tuition is funded in a three-way partnership between the agency, the university and the Fellow, with Fellows paying for only 6 of the 30 credit hours required. This unusual funding partnership assures each partner that the Community Fellow will participate in a quality academically-linked experience in non-profit work, overseen both by the agency and the Community Fellows Program director.

For more information on the structure of the program, please see http://www.lehigh.edu/communityfellows and/or contact
Prof. Kim Carrell-Smith
Community Fellows Program
Room 320 Maginnes Hall
Lehigh University

Bethlehem, PA 18015

Atlas Corps Scores Big in 2008 from On-line Contests

The exchange and service corps for international development leaders earned $100,000 in 2008 from online contests.

Scott Beale, Founder and Executive Director of Atlas Corps, thanks you — if you are among the thousands of people who supported Atlas Corps’s bids in tight online contests last year:

  • $33,000 raised from Americas Giving Challenge — a contest where participants use a widget to inspire donations from supporters; the contest was organized by the Case Foundation, Network for Good, Global Giving, and Parade Magazine.
  • $50,000 won from Americas Giving Challenge — because Atlas Corps was among the top eight fundraisers in the contest.
  • $20,000 won from Ideablob — a contest that allows supporters to vote for two weeks on a “business idea” to succeed. Normally the award is $10,000, but because Atlas Corps is a client of one of the contest sponsors, its award was doubled.

While some of the money was raised directly from donors to Atlas Corps, $70,000 of the total came in response to the huge turnout of support that Atlas Corps garnered. A great way to raise funds when people want to give, but may be limited in this economy.

Atlas Corps’ Scott Beale will be the guest in the February episode of The New Service podcast show, so stay tuned!

Check out Scott’s Ideablob announcement (and other Atlas Corps videos on its Youtube channel):

Read more about Atlas Corps’s bid in the Ideablob contest.

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