Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., announced Friday that Oregon has received more than $7 million in AmeriCorps funding to deploy 402 members to serve nonprofits in Bend and Portland.
“Last month I had the opportunity to visit a Heart of Oregon program, YouthBuild, in Bend, and it is clear from the young people I heard from that AmeriCorps volunteers have a hugely positive impact on our communities,” Merkley said. “They exemplify the Oregon spirit of service and collaboration to solve problems, and I will continue to use my seat on the Senate Appropriations Committee to reject this administration’s efforts to eliminate national community service programs, and fully fund these important grants.”
“Investing in these service-minded AmeriCorps volunteers will help students in Bend and Portland stay on a path to graduation and families in those same communities stave off hunger,” Wyden said. “AmeriCorps has proven itself over the past 25 years to be a great partner throughout Oregon as our state works to conquer serious challenges like education, food insecurity and more. Adding in the fact that AmeriCorps volunteers earn valuable experience and key student loan benefits makes for a winning equation all-around.”
Four grantees operating in Oregon will receive more than $2.7 million in competitive funding through the federal Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), putting AmeriCorps members on the ground to tackle some of the toughest problems in Oregon, including educational achievement and food insecurity. They include:
· Heart of Oregon, Bend, $329,112
· College Possible, Portland, $390,000
· Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest, Portland, $1,554,900
· FoodCorps, Inc., Portland, $455,700
After successfully completing their service, AmeriCorps members serving these programs are expected to earn nearly $2.3 million in Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards, a post-service benefit that can be used to cover the costs of post-secondary education or help pay back qualified student loans.
Additionally, the Oregon Volunteers, the Governor-appointed state service commission, will receive nearly $2.1 million in non-competitive formula funding, which will in turn be awarded to Oregon organizations to support additional AmeriCorps members in the coming months.
The $7,073,718 investment in Oregon AmeriCorps members will leverage an additional $8,703,315 from the private sector, foundations, and other sources–further increasing the return on the federal investment.
Every year, 75,000 AmeriCorps members serve through 21,000+ schools, nonprofits, and community and faith-based organizations across the country.
These citizens have played a critical role in the recovery of communities affected by disasters and helped thousands of first generation college students access higher education. They also tutor and mentor young people, connect veterans to jobs, care for seniors, reduce crime and revive cities, fight the opioid epidemic, and meet other critical needs.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of AmeriCorps. Since the program’s inception in 1994, more than 1 million Americans have served, providing more than 1.5 billion hours of service and earned more than $3.6 billion in education scholarships, more than $1 billion of which has been used to pay back student debt. Those interested in joining AmeriCorps can learn more at AmeriCorps.gov/Join.
The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages millions of Americans in service through its AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs and leads the nation’s volunteering and service efforts. For more information, visit NationalService.gov.