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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 Blueprint Puts at Risk Critical Service in High-Need Schools and Highly Successful Civic Platform
BOSTON (March 16, 2017) – City Year, an education nonprofit fueled by AmeriCorps that is dedicated to helping students and schools succeed, today issued a statement from its CEO and Co-Founder, Michael Brown, on the White House FY18 Budget, which proposes to eliminate AmeriCorps and the Corporation for National Community Service.
“Today the White House released a budget blueprint that calls for the elimination of AmeriCorps, the national service program through which one million Americans have served their country with passion, energy and distinction since 1994.
“AmeriCorps is one of the most successful federal programs of the last 50 years – it should be dramatically expanded, not proposed for elimination.
“For City Year, the elimination of AmeriCorps puts at risk the service of 3,000 City Year AmeriCorps members serving more than 200,000 students in more than 300 schools in 28 U.S. cities every day. AmeriCorps makes it possible for our diverse teams of City Year AmeriCorps members to serve full-time alongside teachers, establishing relationships with students and providing evidence-based, integrated academic and social-emotional supports to help students and schools succeed.
“The loss of AmeriCorps would be a grave and serious loss for our country and the many individuals whose lives have been transformed through national service – both those who are served, and those who step forward to serve.
“Also at risk is an extraordinary national civic platform that mobilizes Americans, especially young adults, in locally-focused, high-impact civilian service across the country. Each year, 80,000 AmeriCorps members respond to disasters, serve in schools, support veterans, build affordable housing, provide job training in rural communities and respond to other critical local needs. AmeriCorps members serve with more than 3,000 organizations – selected through a highly competitive process that awards funding to organizations with evidence of impact – including City Year, Teach For America, Reading Partners, Jumpstart, Citizen Schools, YouthBuild, Habitat for Humanity, Student Conservation Association, Playworks, Food Corps, FEMA Corps and many others.
“AmeriCorps is a wise federal investment – every federal dollar is matched by more than two dollars from donations and in-kind support from private and other local sources. AmeriCorps yields remarkable results for communities – researchers at Columbia University estimated that every dollar invested in national service programs produces a $3.95 return to society in higher earnings, increased output, and other community-wide benefits.
“If AmeriCorps were eliminated, young people who want to serve would lose the opportunity to gain skills and experiences that help prepare them for the workforce and the chance to develop as citizen leaders. A study showed that those who serve are 27 percent more likely to secure jobs. AmeriCorps also provides college scholarships and debt relief – more than $3 billion total since AmeriCorps’ founding – to those who serve. And by bringing together Americans of all walks of life, AmeriCorps imbues young people with a civic commitment, a deep appreciation of diversity and teamwork, and a can-do civic outlook that leads to lifelong community engagement.
“AmeriCorps enjoys broad wide-bipartisan support – from President George HW Bush, President Clinton, President George W. Bush and President Obama. In Congress, it has strong support across the aisle, including from leading Republicans. Last year, the Republican-led House and Senate voted in favor of a $51 million increase in AmeriCorps funding. AmeriCorps also enjoys widespread public support – a recent TargetPoint poll showed that 83 percent of Americans across the political spectrum say they want Congress to maintain or increase the federal investment in national service.
“The budget proposed by the White House is a first step in a lengthy process, and ultimately, Congress will make the final decisions on funding. We call upon the administration to reconsider this proposal and support federal funding for national service. We also urge Congress to continue its strong bipartisan support of national service and reject this proposal to eliminate the Corporation for National and Community Service. We ask the many supporters of national service, including more than one million AmeriCorps alumni, to speak out and share their personal stories of service and impact, making the case to protect and even expand our federal investment in national service.
“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.”
About City Year
City Year is dedicated to helping students and schools succeed. Diverse teams of City Year AmeriCorps members provide high-impact student, classroom and school-wide supports to help students stay in school and on track to graduate from high school, ready for college and career success. A 2015 study shows that schools that partner with City Year were up to 2-3 times more likely to improve on math and English assessments. A proud member of the AmeriCorps national service network, City Year is funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service, local school districts, and private philanthropy from corporations, foundations and individuals. Learn more at www.cityyear.org, City Year’s Facebook page, on Twitter, and LinkedIn.