– Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) today announced that West Virginia has received more than $5.8 million in AmeriCorps funding from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency for volunteering and service programs.
“In West Virginia, we have a long tradition of neighbors helping neighbors, giving back to our communities and contributing our time and service to improve the places that we live for our children and for future generations,” Senator Manchin said. “The value of national service can never be overstated. It is an important part of our identity as West Virginians and Americans. I am pleased that AmeriCorps members and organizations throughout our state will be receiving resources to ensure that community service continues to improve families and communities in our state.”
“I have often said that West Virginia is like one big small town where our people come together to help one another in times of need,” said Senator Capito. “These AmeriCorps grants are incredibly important to help expand this West Virginia philosophy and improve our communities by promoting volunteer service across our state. I look forward to seeing first-hand the positive impact AmeriCorps members have on our students, families and small towns as a result of this generous funding.”
“Volunteers are at the heart of our state’s communities, and AmeriCorps members are a valuable resource for West Virginians across the state,” Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said. “Volunteerism is an essential part of solving many of the challenges we face as a state and a nation, and AmeriCorps helps to unite communities to support a common goal. I’m grateful for the many West Virginians and those around the country who have answered the call to serve one another through AmeriCorps.”
“For more than 20 years, AmeriCorps members have had a positive and lasting impact on the toughest challenges facing our nation,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “Building on West Virginia’s strong tradition of neighbor helping neighbor, AmeriCorps members will improve lives and strengthen communities across West Virginia. While they serve others, AmeriCorps members will also expand opportunity for themselves – gaining skills and experience to jumpstart their careers. I salute every AmeriCorps member for his or her dedication and determination to ‘get things done’ and respond to the needs in their communities.”
CNCS and Volunteer West Virginia, the Governor-appointed state service commission, have awarded 13 AmeriCorps grants to West Virginia nonprofits totaling $3.9 million, which will support 883 AmeriCorps members. AmeriCorps members will tackle some of the toughest problems in West Virginia including mentoring and tutoring at-risk youth, facilitating access to healthy foods, building trails and cleaning up parks, and more.
CNCS will also provide up to $1.9 million 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 $3.4 million in local support to increase community impact and return on federal investment.
The current year’s AmeriCorps grant cycle was highly competitive, due to the strong demand by organizations seeking AmeriCorps resources. The 2016 competition prioritized investments in economic opportunity, education, veterans and military families, disaster services, and continued a new initiative for governors and mayors.
Below is a listing of 2016 competitive AmeriCorps grants in West Virginia:
West Virginia University: Energy Express AmeriCorps members will provide reading assistance to and meals for low-income 1st-6th grade students during summer break. (510 AmeriCorps members)
Education Alliance: AmeriCorps members will provide dropout prevention mentor-based services that addresses student attendance, behavior, and course performance in 12 state districts. (35 AmeriCorps members)
Appalachian Forest Heritage Area: AmeriCorps members serving in 16 counties will provide community development assistance, improve historic buildings, and recruit volunteers for conservation and community projects in small Appalachian towns. (26 AmeriCorps members)
United Way of Central West Virginia: AmeriCorps members will provide academic support, training in financial literacy and job skills, facilitate access to healthy foods and nutrition, and support low-income families throughout the state. (70 AmeriCorps members)
In addition to the four competitive grants, Volunteer West Virginia, the Governor-appointed state service commission, will be making the following eight grants through formula funding provided by CNCS:
The Appalachian Forest Heritage Area: AmeriCorps members will strengthen community development and support cultural heritage tourism in 16 counties in the highlands of West Virginia
Citizens Conservation Corps of West Virginia: AmeriCorps members will build trails, upgrade parks, clean local streams, and renovate historic sites in McDowell and Wyoming Counties. (16 AmeriCorps members)
High Rocks Educational Corporation: AmeriCorps members will support youth education, increase volunteerism, and provide nutrition education in 8 counties. (23 AmeriCorps members)
Preservation Alliance of West Virginia: AmeriCorps members will plan and implement heritage tourism events, develop heritage tourism destinations, preserve historic resources, and recruit more than 900 volunteers. (24 AmeriCorps members)
Ohio West Virginia Youth Leadership Association: AmeriCorps members will mentor pre-teens and build more effective leadership skills in teenagers at Camp Horseshoe. (24 AmeriCorps members)
Mid-Ohio Valley Board of Health: AmeriCorps members will serve as community health workers, improving health outcomes for high risk populations by providing chronic disease management, diabetes self-management training, and educating residents about basic self-care. (19 AmeriCorps members)
Grow Ohio Valley: AmeriCorps members will improve access to fresh, locally grown produce to distressed neighborhoods in Brooke, Marshall, and Ohio Counties. (17 AmeriCorps members)
Playmates Child Care: AmeriCorps members will facilitate service learning projects and other enhancement for students ages 5-12 to increase educational skills. (31 AmeriCorps members)
In addition, Energy Express will receive funding to engage 80 teen volunteers ages 14-17 to serve as Summer Opportunity AmeriCorps members. These members will provide leadership and support to other teen and pre-teen volunteers and help carry out the summer reading and feeding program at sites across West Virginia.
AmeriCorps engages more than 75,000 members in intensive service annually to serve through nonprofit, faith-based, and community organizations at 21,000 locations across the country. These members help communities tackle pressing problems while mobilizing millions of volunteers for the organizations they serve.
Over the past two decades, more than 980,000 Americans have served in AmeriCorps providing more than 1.3 billion hours of service, and earning more than $3.1 billion in education scholarships. Later this year, the one millionth AmeriCorps member will take the AmeriCorps pledge, committing to ‘get things done’ for America.