In early June, one of the most vibrant AmeriCorps programs operating in the Pacific Northwest — Northwest Service Academy (NWSA) — was notified that its latest funding request to the Corporation for National and Community Service was denied, with no warning and no explanation — after 16 years of achieving its performance goals, and establishing itself as one of the country’s top AmeriCorps programs addressing critical environmental and related social issues.
Last week, nine members of the US House and Senate representing both political parties sent a letter to Patrick Corvington, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. Six of seven members of the Oregon Delegation signed the letter, along with Congressmen & Senators from Idaho.
“To dispel any notion that CNCS uses an arbitrary and capricious evaluation process, we respectfully request that you consider NWSA’s application for funding in this year’s cycle.”
The Corporation for National and Community Service has notified members of the Congressional delegation that it is crafting a response to the letter.
As part of a previously scheduled site visit, Northwest Service Academy’s program officer from the Corporation for National and Community Service Ruth Lampie will visit NWSA’s offices in Portland tomorrow for a lunch gathering in which NWSA supporters are encouraged to attend and share the impact of NWSA.
Will Ms. Lampie’s visit have any meaningful impact? If CNCS funds aren’t reinstated, the Lower Columbia Center — NWSA’s Portland home — will be shut down and all but staffers laid off as of August 31.What are the chances for funding coming through at this point? — a year when CNCS has said no funding decision appeals are possible.
On a final note, and possibly the only good news, is that 25 NWSA members will still be in service during the coming through a partnership with the social services agency Impact Northwest and AmeriCorps funding distributed locally through the Oregon Volunteers State Commission on Voluntary Action and Service.
In order to operate the much-smaller team of AmeriCorps members, NWSA will be looking for office space. Here’s the announcement from director Ernie Guerrero:
We will need space for our field teams after August 31st. This will mean space for two teams to meet in the morning and at the end of the day, and a place where two SUVs and 12’ tool trailers can be parked overnight, and space for three staff to work (Cara, Suzi, and the Impact Northwest Program Coordinator). If you have any space available, or any leads, please contact myself (503-234-2383 ext. 109 or Ernie.Guerrero [at] esd112.org) or Suzi Cloutier (503-234-2383 ext. 103, or Suzi.Cloutier [at] esd112.org).