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Service Year Alliance Statement on Proposed Cuts to AmeriCorps and American Climate Corps

Service Year Alliance released the following statement in response to the Proposed Cuts to AmeriCorps and the American Climate Corps in the FY25 Budget: 

If enacted, the FY25 budget as proposed through House Appropriations Committee markups would not just slash funding for AmeriCorps and the American Climate Corps, but would irreparably set back national service in our country for years to come. Service Year Alliance is alarmed by these cuts and we urge Congress to not only reject this proposal but further bolster the FY24 enacted levels with an additional $345 million. Doing so will restore AmeriCorps to FY23 levels, spur necessary innovation and expansion, and bring us closer to achieving the vision set forth when AmeriCorps was founded 30 years ago: that every American who wanted to serve would have the chance to do so.

Service Year Alliance Statement on Proposed Cuts to AmeriCorps and American Climate Corps
Service Year Alliance Statement on Proposed Cuts to AmeriCorps and American Climate Corps

Houlahan, Panetta, Waltz, Bergman Introduce the Unity Through Service Act

Houlahan, Panetta, Waltz, Bergman Introduce the Unity Through Service Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Representatives Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), Michael Waltz (R-FL), and Jack Bergman (R-MI) introduced the Unity Through Service Act. This bipartisan, bicameral bill would establish the Interagency Council on Service to coordinate reviews of current programs and plan new strategies for recruitment. It would authorize a joint advertising and recruitment program with the Department of Defense, the National and Community Service, and the Peace Corps in order to share information. Moreover, the bill would help transitioning service members find future service opportunities and create a quadrennial report to Congress about public service initiatives.

The legislation is a direct result of the National Commission on Military, National and Public Service’s 2020 report, which included 124 recommendations. Rep. Panetta, in his role as then-cochair of the For Country Caucus, introduced the totality of the commission’s recommendations as the Inspire to Serve Act of 2021, which was co-led by Reps. Houlahan, Waltz, and others. The Unity Through Service Act represents one portion of that larger legislative package.

Houlahan, Panetta, Waltz, Bergman Introduce the Unity Through Service Act
Houlahan, Panetta, Waltz, Bergman Introduce the Unity Through Service Act

Senator Coons, Young introduce bipartisan legislation to create new AmeriCorps program aimed at reducing polarization

Senator Coons, Young introduce bipartisan legislation to create new AmeriCorps program aimed at reducing polarization

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.) introduced bipartisan legislation, the Building Civic Bridges Act, to establish a pilot program through AmeriCorps that would empower local communities to address contentious civic issues and reduce polarization at the local level. The House companion bill was introduced by Representatives Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.) and Andy Barr (R-Ky.)

“Our nation is more polarized than ever, and rebuilding public trust in our country starts with finding ways to address that issue,” said Senator Coons. “This bill will play a crucial role in strengthening civics locally and providing local communities with the resources needed to promote civic engagement. I am grateful to Representatives Kilmer and Barr for spearheading this bipartisan effort with us.”

“Amid growing polarization, civic engagement and debate are essential to maintaining the American spirit,” said Senator Young. “Our bipartisan bill will help bring Americans together to engage respectfully and constructively, promoting positive conversation and greater unity across the nation.”

Senator Coons, Young introduce bipartisan legislation to create new AmeriCorps program aimed at reducing polarization
Senator Coons, Young introduce bipartisan legislation to create new AmeriCorps program aimed at reducing polarization

Service Year Alliance Doubles Down on Renewed Strategy to Scale Innovations and Unlock New Resources for National Service

Service Year Alliance is doubling efforts to make service years more accessible through innovations tied to the corps member experience and opportunities for individuals after their service, and by unlocking additional federal and state resources to grow the number of positions available each year.

Service Year Alliance Doubles Down on Renewed Strategy to Scale Innovations and Unlock New Resources for National Service
Service Year Alliance Doubles Down on Renewed Strategy to Scale Innovations and Unlock New Resources for National Service

Kilmer Introduces Legislation to Reduce Polarization and Support Community Bridge-Building

Kilmer Introduces Legislation to Reduce Polarization and Support Community Bridge-Building

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representatives Derek Kilmer (WA-06) and Andy Barr (KY-06) introduced the Building Civic Bridges Act (BCBA), bipartisan legislation to support communities in addressing sources of division by aiding local civic and community organizations. These efforts aim to confront contentious issues and, ultimately, bridge divides.

A January 2022 NBC News poll revealed that 70% of Americans believe the country’s deep divisions prevent it from addressing major issues, a significant increase from 45% in 2010. This growing polarization raises concerns about the stability of American democracy. The poll also found that 76% of Americans, cutting across party lines, see democracy and majority rule in the U.S. as being at risk.

The Bipartisan Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship has highlighted a discrepancy in the U.S. government’s approach to fostering social cohesion. While the National Endowment for Democracy invests millions overseas in civic bridgebuilding to strengthen democracy, similar efforts are absent in the U.S.

Kilmer Introduces Legislation to Reduce Polarization and Support Community Bridge-Building
Kilmer Introduces Legislation to Reduce Polarization and Support Community Bridge-Building

President Biden’s FY2025 Budget Request Includes Milestones for National Service; But a Decrease in Overall Opportunities to Serve

“While the Administration's budget request includes important milestones that Service Year Alliance has championed for years - like continuing to increase the living allowance and supporting more American Climate Corps members,” said Kristen Bennett, CEO of Service Year Alliance, "it does not keep us on track to make service an integral part of growing up in America, where it brings people together across lines of difference, creates opportunities for young people, and solves our most pressing challenges at scale.”

President Biden’s FY2025 Budget Request Includes Milestones for National Service; But a Decrease in Overall Opportunities to Serve
President Biden’s FY2025 Budget Request Includes Milestones for National Service; But a Decrease in Overall Opportunities to Serve

Houlahan Leads Call to Prevent Devastating Cuts to AmeriCorps

Houlahan Leads Call to Prevent Devastating Cuts to AmeriCorps

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), joined by 24 Members of Congress, sent a letter to the Republican-led House leadership to reverse course and preserve funding for AmeriCorps, the nation’s premier national and community service organization. Houlahan is one of only a handful of members who have served in AmeriCorps – she did so as a chemistry teacher in Philadelphia through Teach for America. 

Background: 

In 2023, AmeriCorps offered more than 200,000 service opportunities to people all over the country. Service opportunities include assisting communities hit by natural disasters, teaching in some of our nation’s most underserved school districts, supporting local nonprofits, and more. 

Funding for AmeriCorps falls under the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) Appropriations bill. The current FY24 Labor-HHS proposal for AmeriCorps funding would result in the loss of more than 60,000 member positions, representing nearly a third of the program. Congress is approaching a March 8 deadline to pass the FY24 Labor-HHS Appropriations bill or another continuing resolution. 

Houlahan Leads Call to Prevent Devastating Cuts to AmeriCorps
Houlahan Leads Call to Prevent Devastating Cuts to AmeriCorps

Service Year Alliance Celebrates States’ Leadership on Elevating and Scaling Service Years

At Service Year Alliance, we envision a future where a year of paid, full-time service — a service year — is part of growing up in America. To make this vision a reality, we need innovative leadership from all sectors - and in just the first few weeks of 2024, we’re excited to see governors across the country taking the lead.

In Utah, during the State and National Service Symposium, Governor Cox announced the One Utah Service Fellowship, a new program that will meet state needs and engage young people in service that prepares them for postsecondary success. This announcement was complemented by an op-ed alongside Service Year Alliance’s Board of Directors Co-Chair, John Bridgeland, Let’s Put Service at the Center of National Renewal,” and followed Governor Cox’s executive orders on service in the fall, which includes encouraging state agencies to engage employees in service.

In New York, Governor Hochul utilized the state of the state to call for the creation of a new Office of Service and Civic Engagement within the Office of the Lieutenant Governor. This office will include a Chief Service Officer responsible for leading service and civic engagement efforts and launching the “Empire State Service Corps Program” in partnership with the State University of New York to connect students with opportunities to serve their communities. These actions will complement the work of the NY State Commission on National and Community Service and - we hope - engage the three Service Year Impact Communities working to bolster service years in New York City, Poughkeepsie, and Western New York.

Service Year Alliance Celebrates States’ Leadership on Elevating and Scaling Service Years
Service Year Alliance Celebrates States’ Leadership on Elevating and Scaling Service Years

Service Year Alliance applauds New York Governor Kathy Hochul for creating the new Office of Service and Civic Engagement

Service Year Alliance applauds New York Governor Kathy Hochul for creating the new Office of Service and Civic Engagement. This action elevates service in the Empire State by prioritizing service within the Office of the Lieutenant Governor and appointing a Chief Service Officer. The Chief Service Officer will lead service and civic engagement efforts and launch the “Empire State Service Corps Program” in partnership with the State University of New York to connect students with opportunities to serve their communities.

Just this week, Service Year Alliance, in partnership with America’s Service Commissions and More Perfect, released the State Innovations in National Service & Volunteering report, demonstrating how governors and state legislators can catalyze a wide range of innovations that help meet the needs of their states through service and volunteerism. “With this announcement, New York joins a growing group of states that recognizes the transformative impact service years have on communities and the individuals that serve," said Kristen Bennett, CEO of Service Year Alliance. “We are thrilled to see Governor Hochul and Lieutenant Governor Delgado prioritizing service years and look forward to learning more about their plans for connecting New Yorkers to service opportunities.”

Service Year Alliance applauds New York Governor Kathy Hochul for creating the new Office of Service and Civic Engagement
Service Year Alliance applauds New York Governor Kathy Hochul for creating the new Office of Service and Civic Engagement

Service Year Alliance Releases State Innovations in National Service & Volunteering Report, Co-Authored with More Perfect and ASC

Service Year Alliance is pleased to share the State Innovations in National Service & Volunteering report, co-authored with More Perfect and America’s Service CommissionsThis report showcases how state leaders are thinking differently about how they can deploy service as a strategy to meet pressing needs in communities. 

“In collaboration with our partners More Perfect and America’s Service Commissions, we are thrilled to lift up these state innovations in service,” said Kristen Bennett, CEO of Service Year Alliance. “This report demonstrates how governors and state legislators can influence, implement, support, and catalyze a wide range of innovations that help meet the unique needs of their states. Whether responding to disasters, improving food security for individuals and families, supporting veterans as they transition to civilian life, or expanding the capacity of nonprofit organizations to meet community needs, states have significant roles in utilizing service as a solution. These are more than examples, they are the inspiration we need to imagine what could be possible if every state and territory took innovative approaches to expanding and improving service years to strengthen communities, transform lives, and fuel civic renewal.” 

Service Year Alliance Releases State Innovations in National Service & Volunteering Report, Co-Authored with More Perfect and ASC
Service Year Alliance Releases State Innovations in National Service & Volunteering Report, Co-Authored with More Perfect and ASC
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