Statement by Michael Brown, CEO and Co-Founder of City Year, on the White House’s Proposed Elimination of AmeriCorps and the Corporation for National and Community Service
Administration’s Budget Proposal Puts at Risk Critical Community Supports and Highly Successful Civic Platform
BOSTON, MA (March 13, 2019)—City Year, an education nonprofit fueled by AmeriCorps that helps students and schools succeed, today issued a statement from its CEO and Co-Founder, Michael Brown, on the White House FY20 Budget, which proposes to eliminate AmeriCorps and the Corporation for National Community Service.
“The White House released a budget blueprint that, for the third straight year, calls for the elimination of AmeriCorps, the national service program through which one million Americans have served their country for nearly 25 years—responding to disasters, serving in schools, connecting veterans to jobs, fighting the opioid epidemic, building affordable housing and working with rural communities.
“The loss of AmeriCorps would be a grave and serious loss for our country and the many people whose lives have been transformed through national service – both those who are served, and those who step forward to serve. AmeriCorps represents one of our nation’s most successful public-private partnerships. Every dollar invested by the federal government is matched 1:1 from private and local sources and economists have found that national service provides a nearly four-to-one return on every dollar spent.
“For City Year, the proposed elimination of AmeriCorps puts at risk the service of 3,000 City Year AmeriCorps members who support more than 234,000 students in 349 high-need urban schools in 29 U.S. cities every day.
“We are grateful to Congress for strongly rejecting the Administration’s call to eliminate CNCS for the past two years. Last year (FY 2019) Congress funded a $13 million increase for AmeriCorps and a $6 million increase for Senior Corps over the previous year levels.
“We join Voices for National Service and our colleagues in the national service field in urging Congress to once again reject these cuts and increase funding for national service and critically needed education programs that have evidence of successfully improving outcomes for students across the country. We ask the many supporters of national service, including the more than one million AmeriCorps alumni, to speak out and share their personal stories of service and impact, making the case to protect and expand the federal investment in national service.
“AmeriCorps members serve with more than 3,000 local organizations across the country that are selected through a highly competitive process that awards funding based on evidence of impact. These organizations include: City Year, Teach For America, Reading Partners, Jumpstart, Citizen Schools, YouthBuild, Habitat for Humanity, the Student Conservation Association, Playworks, FoodCorps and many others.
“At City Year, we harness the energy and talent of our nation’s young adults to help students and schools succeed. AmeriCorps makes it possible for our diverse teams of City Year AmeriCorps members to serve full-time alongside teachers, establish positive relationships with students, and provide evidence-based academic and social-emotional supports to help students thrive in school and in life.
“At a time when students and families struggle to meet the costs of college, AmeriCorps provides college scholarships and debt relief—more than $3.3 billion total since AmeriCorps’ founding—to those who serve.
“For decades, AmeriCorps has enjoyed bipartisan support in Congress and from both Republican and Democratic presidents since 1994. AmeriCorps also has widespread public support—a poll showed that 83 percent of registered voters, including 78 percent of Republicans, support increased or maintained federal investment in national service.
“We are also concerned that the budget includes $7.1 billion in cuts to the Department of Education, including programs that provide opportunities for students to access a quality education, afterschool and summer programs for students in high-poverty areas. Federal investments in national service and education are critical to enabling local districts and schools to have the capacity needed to ensure that high-need schools are establishing the conditions for learning necessary for student success.
“AmeriCorps—and the young people who raise their hands to serve their country—represent the very best of America. Now, more than ever, we need to do more to say ‘yes’ to the patriotism and idealism of young people. We need to do more to offer all Americans the opportunity to serve, and to make a difference for our children, our families and our communities.”