Money for 39 programs will place more than 1,600 AmeriCorps Members in 65 counties
SPRINGFIELD – The Serve Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service (Serve Illinois) today announced $17.5 million in Corporation for National and Community Service federal grants to place 1,671 AmeriCorps Members in 39 programs to serve Illinois communities. This is an increase of $1.9 million over last year, allowing AmeriCorps Members to serve in 20 additional counties. These awards include $6.4 million in education awards that AmeriCorps Members can use to pay for college after their term of service. AmeriCorps programs will match these funds with an additional $15.9 million in local funding.
AmeriCorps Members dedicate up to one year to help communities meet unmet economic, education, health, public safety, disaster preparedness, veteran services, and environmental needs. Members may receive a modest living allowance, student loan deferment, health insurance, childcare, and professional development. Members who successfully complete their service receive an educational award of up to $5,815 to help pay for college, graduate school, vocational training, or to pay off student loans.
“This is the largest AmeriCorps award that Illinois has seen in the 24 year history of the program,” said Serve Illinois Executive Director Scott McFarland. “Last year, AmeriCorps Illinois served nearly 300,000 Illinoisans, including more than 180,000 disadvantaged youth; nearly 40,000 veterans, active military, and military family members; and more than 13,000 people impacted by disasters.”
These federal grants will be used for services in Illinois, including tutoring and mentoring at-risk youth, preparing communities to respond effectively to emergencies, feeding those in need, providing legal support services, assisting incarcerated individuals re-enter into their communities, promoting environmental stewardship, supporting veterans, and improving youth and adult literacy. Serve Illinois, a part of the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), administers the AmeriCorps programs in Illinois.
“The growth of this program in Illinois is a testament to the hard work our AmeriCorps Members perform each day in their communities throughout Illinois,” said Scott McFarland. “When you see the AmeriCorps “A”, you know things are getting done.”
Since 1994, 39,000 people have served 55 million hours in Illinois through AmeriCorps. Those hours equal more than $1.4 billion in community impact. AmeriCorps Members have also earned $131.7 million in education awards.
Serve Illinois is a 40 member (25 voting and 15 non-voting), bipartisan commission appointed by the Governor and administered by IDPH. Its mission is to improve Illinois communities by enhancing traditional volunteer activities and supporting national service programs. Serve Illinois supports local community-based efforts to enhance volunteer opportunities and the administration of Illinois' AmeriCorps program. For more information on the Serve Illinois and AmeriCorps, visit www.Serve.Illinois.gov.