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Serve Wisconsin proudly announces that Wisconsin has received $7.1 million in AmeriCorps funding from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency responsible for AmeriCorps and other national service programs. Included within those funds are $233,819 in AmeriCorps funding for two AmeriCorps programs specifically centered in Racine County, with other statewide programs also having members serving within the county.
“We are so pleased to be supporting more AmeriCorps members in Wisconsin – Congratulations to all the organizations who were selected to receive funding,” said Chester Spellman, director of AmeriCorps. “AmeriCorps members are improving the lives of millions of citizens, including in Racine County, and are an indispensable resource for nonprofits, communities, and the individuals they serve. As we mark the 25th anniversary of AmeriCorps, we salute all AmeriCorps members and alumni for standing up and serving our country.”
This funding will help support a significant expansion of AmeriCorps service in Racine County. This upcoming program year will be the initial program year for the Racine Zoo AmeriCorps Program after its development under a planning grant last year and the United Way of Racine County will be operating under a planning grant this upcoming year to develop its program. “The AmeriCorps Planning grant that we have received at United Way will provide us the latitude to coordinate partners to align in a robust plan in order to leverage the power of an AmeriCorps program in our community schools initiative across Racine. Our goal is to maximize the impact of our out of school programs to support the level of learning our students need to meet and exceed grade-level proficiency,” stated Jaime Racine, Community Schools Manager at the United Way of Racine County.
This fall marks the 25th anniversary of the first class of AmeriCorps members, with over 26,000 Wisconsin residents having served since 1994. The AmeriCorps members announced today will take their AmeriCorps pledge at a statewide event hosted in Milwaukee in October.
The funding will support the following Wisconsin AmeriCorps programs centered in Racine County:
Racine Zoo AmeriCorps Program 15 AmeriCorps members will provide environmental education programming to elementary, middle school, and high school students to reinforce grade-level science curriculum through inquiry and research activities, environmental presentations, and programming for participating classes at the zoo.
United Way of Racine County This program is being developed through a planning grant. The program is being designed to support students in predominately low-income elementary community schools where AmeriCorps members will support programming to reduce chronic absenteeism and foster social-emotional and academic growth, including an expansion in the availability of afterschool programs available to students and families.
In addition to the impacts of AmeriCorps service on environmental education and student support in Racine County, the national funding from CNCS will have wide-ranging impacts for the people of Wisconsin. “These funds will put more than 900 AmeriCorps members on the ground to tackle some of the toughest problems in Wisconsin including the opioid epidemic, the academic achievement gap, housing shortages for low-income families, and healthcare access,” stated Jeanne Duffy, Executive Director, Serve Wisconsin.
AmeriCorps’ unique model means the Wisconsin AmeriCorps programs will leverage an additional $5.9 million from the private sector, foundations, and other sources, including $89,159 for the programs in Racine County – further increasing the return on the federal investment for Wisconsin communities.
After completing a full term of service, AmeriCorps members receive an award of approximately $6,000 that they can use to pay for college or to pay off student loans, resulting in an additional $3.5 million in Segal AmeriCorps Education Award funding for the over 900 Wisconsin AmeriCorps members that will be serving this program year.
Every year, 75,000 AmeriCorps members serve nationwide through 21,000 schools, nonprofits, and community and faith-based organizations across the country. AmeriCorps members make a critical difference through their service by educating students for the 21st-century workforce, supporting veterans and military families, completing conservation projects, tackling the opioid epidemic, promoting economic opportunity in our communities, helping people to live healthier lives, and through several other projects to make their local communities stronger. Additionally, they have played a critical role in helping communities throughout the United States recover from flooding, hurricanes, wildfires, and other national disasters, including several disaster relief projects in Wisconsin over the past year.
Since 1994, AmeriCorps members nationwide have provided more than 1.5 billion hours of service and earned more than $3.6 billion in education scholarships, more than $1 billion of which has been used to pay back student debt. Included within those numbers are the more than 26,000 Wisconsin residents who have served approximately 40 million hours through AmeriCorps, earning Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards totaling more than $101.2 million. Those interested in joining AmeriCorps can learn more at AmeriCorps.gov/Join.
Serve Wisconsin works with AmeriCorps programs throughout the state of Wisconsin to addresses human, educational, environmental, public safety and homeland security needs. AmeriCorps members are given the opportunity to enrich the lives of the people and communities they serve and their own lives through professional and personal development. Serve Wisconsin is governed by a 21-member citizen body appointed by Governor Walker. For more information visit https://servewisconsin.wi.gov. AmeriCorps is administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that engages millions of Americans in service through its AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs and leads the nation’s volunteer and service efforts.