National Service in the Stimulus Package

Friday, Nicola Goren of the Corporation for National and Community Service issued the following statement with details if what national service funding was slated for a vote Friday night in the final version of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Dear Colleagues,

As we head into the President’s Day weekend, we wanted to give you a quick update on Congressional action on H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

This afternoon, the House approved the Conference Report on H.R. 1, and the Senate is planning to vote tonight. If the Senate approves the measure, it goes to President Obama for his signature.

The Conference Report contains $201 million for the Corporation for National and Community Service and its programs, with top line numbers as follows:

  • $89 million for AmeriCorps State and National
  • $65 million for AmeriCorps VISTA
  • $40 million for the National Service Trust
  • $6 million for information technology upgrades
  • $1 million for the Inspector General

The bill contains additional legislative language addressing the proposed use of these funds. You can read the bill language and joint explanatory statement of the managers by visiting the budget page of the Corporation’s website at http://www.nationalservice.gov.

We will be analyzing the legislation and OMB government-wide directions, and seeking public input, as we develop an operating plan for the use of these funds.

We will keep you posted on further developments.

In Service,

Nicola Goren
Acting CEO
Corporation for National and Community Service

Goren Seeks Input from National Service Community

The Acting C.E.O. of the Corporation for National and Community Service sympathizes with organizations struggling to meet increased demands for service while watching their funding bases decrease. She asks for your help in identifying options for “relief.”

Today, Nicola Goren issued this statement:

Dear Colleagues,

Nicola Goren

Nicola Goren

During this holiday season, citizens across America are feeling the harmful effects of the nation’s economic crisis. While demand for social services is increasing, we know that many nonprofits and national service programs on the front lines of providing help are facing reductions in government and private sector funding.

At the Corporation, we are keenly aware of the seriousness of this situation and are looking for ways to help. I have asked our staff to review administrative, matching, and other requirements to see where we may be able to provide flexibility. We are also exploring possible legislative options that could provide relief.

To ensure we have identified all of the possibilities, we also want to hear from you. This week, our Program Directors will follow up with information about how you can share your input. We want to know what you are experiencing, where the greatest problems are, and any ideas you have for relief.

The programs you support are essential to tackling the challenges Americans are facing in this period of economic uncertainty. We look forward to hearing your ideas and supporting your vital work.

Sincerely,

Nicola Goren
Acting Chief Executive Officer
Corporation for National and Community Service

Read Harris Wofford and Stephen Goldsmith’s comments on the increased need for national service during the economic downturn.


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Sinking Economy? Need More National Service

Harris WoffordDesperate economic times highlight the need for cost-effective, public-private measures to serve the needy in the United States.

Today national service champions Harris Wofford and Stephen Goldsmith outline the need for more national service, as a response to the economic downturn.

Excerpts below…

Food banks’ supplies are set to reach new lows. Yet this year we will see millions of citizens reach out in record numbers to assist those in need — offering food, special care and compassion.

As the government seeks to deal with the economic crisis and relieve the distress felt by millions of families, we should not overlook the great American tradition of service. More than 60 million citizens every year are providing service to their neighbors and their communities.

President-elect Barack Obama has vowed to make service a central cause of his presidency. In his call to service outlining plans for a large expansion of citizen service, he said he would reach out to Republicans, Democrats and independents alike, young and old, and ask all of us for our service and active citizenship. ”We need your service, right now,” he said.

Here are a few examples of what ”We the People” can do right now and in the year ahead:

  • We can help children in danger of dropping out of school by volunteering as tutors and mentors.
  • Skilled professionals (lawyers, accountants, et al.) can go door to door in distressed communities to assist families facing mortgage foreclosure.
  • Volunteers can support displaced families and children by helping them transition from homeless shelters to more permanent housing.
  • Since financial stress and unemployment can lead to substance abuse, psychological despair and homelessness, community assistance centers and shelters will need many new volunteers and basic supplies.

However any such new government resources should be viewed not as a jobs program but as assets and agents necessary to manage and train millions of volunteers. These new forces can be rapidly assigned to existing nonprofits to recruit and organize unpaid, shorter-term volunteers.

Last year 75,000 AmeriCorps members recruited more than 1.7 million local volunteers. One of the best examples of this is AmeriCorps’ relationship with Habitat for Humanity, where members don’t just build homes, but most of all recruit, train and manage the community volunteers on whom Habitat relies. AmeriCorps members serving with Habitat for Humanity helped mobilize 200,000 community volunteers to build 1,700 homes.