WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) and U.S. Representatives David Price (D-N.C.) and Doris Matsui (D-Calif.), all co-chairs of the National Service Caucus, celebrated the passage of $1 billion in funding for AmeriCorps as part of the American Rescue Plan.
The new funding, which Coons, Price, and Matsui secured in the relief package, will deploy additional members to support communities’ response to COVID-19 and increase members’ living allowances. It also includes provisions to strengthen programs’ diversity and ensure the delivery of culturally competent and, where appropriate, multilingual services.
“Over the last year, people of all ages and backgrounds have answered the call to serve their communities – whether by tutoring students, delivering meals, or coordinating logistics at vaccine and testing centers,” said Senator Coons. “AmeriCorps members have made a real difference in our pandemic response and recovery. That’s why Congress is doubling down on the power of national service programs to help build us out of this crisis. This $1 billion in new funding is a down payment as we work to expand national service in the longer term, better support members during and after their service, and allow more Americans to take part in this important work giving back to their communities and country.”
“The American Rescue Plan delivers for the people. As Co-Chair of the Congressional National Service Caucus, I worked to include $1 billion in funding to expand national service programs that will help respond to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Representative Price. “National service volunteers are already on the ground supporting our communities and filling the gaps exacerbated by the pandemic, but more help is urgently needed. This new funding will augment these critical community-based programs, increase benefits to those who serve, and deploy additional members to communities hardest hit across the country."
“The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated a network of strength and support from every corner of our nation and opened up opportunities in our communities to give back and serve,” said Representative Matsui. “Over the past year, AmeriCorps members have once again proved their ability to bridge divides, drive meaningful change, and implement a national plan to serve American families. As we move forward in our recovery, I am proud that we have secured $1 Billion in new funding through the American Rescue Plan to help extend this helping hand to more Americans and empower a new generation of AmeriCorps members to serve their country.”
National service programs like AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps Senior are already on the front lines of the pandemic response – supporting students with distance learning, helping schools to reopen safely, providing counseling and mental support to families, delivering food and medicine to vulnerable populations, helping struggling Americans access government nutrition and rental assistance, and staffing 311 and COVID-19 vaccine hotlines. The new allocation grows members’ role in our recovery by nearly doubling the overall funding available to AmeriCorps this year and providing flexibility to allocate those funds to response and recovery priorities over the next several years.
This funding was inspired by the CORPS Act, a bipartisan bill introduced by Senator Coons and Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), and the Pandemic Response and Opportunity Through National Service Act, a bipartisan bill introduced in the House by Representatives Price and Matsui to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. Last year, the CORPS Act gained the support of 18 bipartisan senators and more than 160 organizations. The CORPS Act will be reintroduced in the coming weeks.