2014-08-29

September 12th, 2014 marks the 20th Anniversary of the swearing-in of AmeriCorps' first corps of volunteers who pledged to get things done for America. This Photo Friday, we honor and commemorate the upcoming occasion by sharing some history (and of course, some pics!) about the partnership between AmeriCorps and City Year that is 20 years strong!

At City Year, we believe that national service has a powerful role to play in improving education outcomes for our country’s highest-need students and schools.

City Year has been a proud member of the national service program, AmeriCorps, since its creation 20 years ago. To date, more than 900,000 people have served with AmeriCorps programs, helping to address some of the country’s greatest needs in education, the environment, public safety, health, homeland security and more. Since President Bill Clinton launched AmeriCorps 20 years ago, it’s been the driving force in City Year’s expansion from one city to 25 cities nationwide. AmeriCorps provides critical funding to City Year and helps make higher education more affordable by allowing all graduating corps members to receive the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award to pay for college or pay off qualified student loans.

AmeriCorps has created a growing movement of citizens committed to improving our communities and nation—City Year is proud to be part of this sweeping national service network. We’re excited to celebrate AmeriCorps’ extraordinary impact over the past 20 years and look forward to another 20 years of even greater impact and growth.

Fast Facts about AmeriCorps

900,000: Number of individuals who have joined AmeriCorps since 1994.

1.2 billion: Total number of hours served by AmeriCorps members.

$2.7 billion: Total amount of Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards earned by AmeriCorps members to pay for college or pay back student loans since 1994.

4 million: Number of community volunteers managed or mobilized by AmeriCorps members in 2013.

25,000: Number of sites that AmeriCorps members serve at each year.

AmeriCorps and City Year: 5 pictures that sum up 20 years!

Photo Courtesy of City Year, Inc. In 1991, second-year City Year corps member Stephen Spaloss gives his City Year sweatshirt to then-Governor of Arkansas Bill Clinton. Clinton, who was not well-known at the time, wanted to learn more about City Year as he developed his idea for a model national service program. Spaloss sat down with Clinton and other notables such as Mitt Romney (then CEO of Bain and Company) and Ray Flynn (the mayor of Boston at the time) to tell his story of how he came to City Year, and how City Year transformed not only the community he was serving, but was transforming him, too. 

Photo Courtesy of servicenation.org. One year later, after the presidential election of 1992, CNN captures footage of President-Elect Bill Clinton jogging in the City Year sweatshirt that Spaloss had given him. Clinton had promised Spaloss that he wouldn't forget about City Year, and he kept that promise. Michael Brown, CEO and co-founder of City Year, recalls this as the moment that changed everything. 

Photo Courtesy of servicenation.org. On September 21, 1993, Bill Clinton signed the official legislation that created AmeriCorps. Just two years earlier, he had a vision for what a national service model for young people might look like, and City Year helped to inspire him. Less than a year into his presidency, he made the vision a reality by signing the National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993.

Photo Courtesy of americaspromise.org.  In celebration of the landmark legislation, President Clinton marches alongside volunteers from the programs that helped to inspire him. I spy 2 City Year bombers by his side!

Photo Courtesy of the Boston Globe. Spaloss and Clinton embrace as Clinton is honored at City Year's 25th Anniversary Gala in May 2014. Almost 23 years after giving up his sweatshirt for national service, Spaloss continues to serve City Year as Regional Vice President for the Southern sites, including City Year Baton Rouge! And President Clinton is still a champion of City Year, stating, "Every time City Year shows up anywhere, it is the living embodiment of the effort we're making to define the terms of interdependence - so that our children and our grandchildren will live in the world of most peaceful times... even though my heart was singing 23 years ago when I ambled into City Year, I believe that it's more important today." And as AmeriCorps turns 20 in two weeks, it is absolutely more important than ever to have a national service program to support volunteers across the country. 

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