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Maine VolunteerFare

From the Corporation

Published June 24, 2006

Corporation for National and Community Service

Contact: Sandy Scott


Nation?s Service Leaders Pledge to Expand Ranks of Volunteers by 10 Million by 2010: Disaster Response Is Major Focus of First Day of National Conference

June 18, 2006

SEATTLE ? More than 2,400 volunteer and national service leaders were inspired by stories of how volunteers are contributing to hurricane relief and recovery effort in the Gulf Coast, by the music of Sister Sledge and by the personal story of ?Good Morning America? co-anchor Robin Roberts, at the National Conference on Volunteering and Service. During the conference, which was co-convened by The Points of Light Foundation & the Volunteer Center National Network and the Corporation for National and Community Service, the participants pledged to join a new campaign to increase the number of volunteer nationwide by 10 million by the year 2010.

Marilee Chinnici-Zuercher, incoming chair of the Volunteer Center National Network Council, thanked Jeff Hoffman, vice president of Disney Worldwide Outreach, for The Walt Disney Company?s significant investment in the Points of Light Foundation. ?The relationship that Disney has with children and families gives us the avenue of educating families about local family volunteering opportunities. Disney?s participation will go a long way to getting more families involved in volunteering. By making volunteering a family activity, parents can strengthen family relationships while getting their children started on a life-long commitment to serving their communities.?

Roberts talked about the experience of helping her hometown, Pass Christian, Miss., recover from Hurricane Katrina, as well as the volunteer enrichment teacher who guided her mother in elementary school, and later helped her apply for a scholarship to Howard University. ?She not only helped my mother but all of her children,? Roberts said, noting that each of the four in the family received at least a bachelor?s degree and that her niece now attends medical school at Howard University. ?You think you?re helping one person, but you?re changing the course of a family,? she said.

Last year?s hurricanes underscored the importance of volunteers, according to Robert Goodwin, president and CEO of the Points of Light Foundation & the Volunteer Center National Network. To assist disaster response organizations in connecting with volunteers when the need arises, Goodwin announced a new website, ?The new website and national database registry lets volunteers actually list their skills and interests for volunteering. Those volunteers can then be identified by response and recovery organizations when disaster strikes.?

Recruiting more Americans to address social needs through volunteering and national service is the focus of a new initiative of the Corporation for National and Community Service, according to Corporation CEO David Eisner. He issued a challenge to conference participants: ?Let us commit to grow the number of volunteers by 10 million by 2010,? he said. ?It?s an ambitious goal but an achievable goal.?

Eisner added that increasing the number of volunteers by that number is only a possibility if it?s a priority at local and state levels. He encouraged conference attendees to make the Martin Luther King Day of Service in January a high-profile event for volunteer recruitment. ?If we can commit and follow through, we will make sure every child who needs one has a mentor, meet the needs of our expanding ranks of seniors, overcome our national teacher shortage, rekindle the sense of community through out our country, and help our nation live up to its promises of justice, fairness and opportunity for all.?

Responding to Eisner?s challenge, Goodwin pledged that the organization would increase its number of volunteers by 1 million people.

In keeping with the day?s focus on hurricane relief and recovery efforts, the opening session of the three-day conference concluded with a performance by the group Sister Sledge of their 1970s hit ?We Are Family.? An all-star remake of the song, featuring performances by such well-known musical artists as Ciara, Patti LaBelle, Ray J, Mary Mary, Brian McKnight and George Clinton, will be released publicly August 29?on the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina?as part of new 10-track CD to benefit services to strengthen American families, in particular those families displaced by the 2005 hurricanes.

?Rebuilding a sense of community is key to rebuilding people?s lives,? said Goodwin. ?Reaching out as a global family, we believe, can be the antidote to a lot of problems.?

Other highlights of the first day of the annual conference, whose theme this year is ?Climbing Mountains, Lifting Lives,? included:

A Service Project in which conference participants joined Robin Roberts, Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels and other local and conference dignitaries in assembling Emergency Preparedness Kits for 1,000 low-income residents within the Seattle community. The kits include radios, flashlights, water, snacks, batteries and first aid items, and are designed to help people get by for 72 hours in the immediate aftermath of a disaster such as an earthquake or terror attack.

The announcement of the 2006 ?Spirit of Service Awards,? which recognize and celebrate outstanding participants in each of the Corporation?s three main programs?Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America?as well as outstanding corporation or foundation partners.

Barb O?Neill of Olympia, founder of an organization that engages 200 volunteers to serve meals and deliver dinners to the poor, was named a Daily Point of Light today by the Points of Light Foundation. For the past 35 years on both the day before Thanksgiving and on Christmas Eve, O?Neill has prepared meals for the poor, homeless and lonely in Olympia.

The Conference will continue through Tuesday at the Seattle Convention Center. Monday?s highlights include a luncheon address by Sally Jewell, President and CEO of the outdoor equipment retailer Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI), and presentation of the Awards for Excellence in Workplace Volunteer Programs. Tuesday?s highlights include presentation of the Romney Award to Andrew Young, chairman of Good Works International and a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Member of Congress, and Mayor of Atlanta; and a keynote address on mentoring by Seattle-area author Eric Liu.

The many sponsors of the National Conference on Volunteering and Service include Washington Mutual, United Parcel Service Foundation, The Walt Disney Company, The Schwann Food Company, Target Corporation, Anheuser-Busch Companies, Wells Fargo, The Home Depot, Starbucks Coffee Company, The Boeing Company, General Electric, KPMG LLP, Northrop Grumman, Safeco Insurance, The Henry M. Jackson Foundation, Casey Family Programs and others.

The Points of Light Foundation & Volunteer Center National Network engages and mobilizes millions of volunteers who are helping to solve serious social problems in thousands of communities. Through a variety of programs and services?including research, training, creation of model programs and compilation of resources?the Foundation helps organizations of all types manage their volunteer activity more effectively. For more information, visit

The Corporation for National and Community Service administers the Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America programs, as well as a number of special initiatives. The mission of the Corporation is to improve lives, strengthen communities and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering. Together with USA Freedom Corps, the Corporation is working to foster a culture of citizenship, service and responsibility in America. For more information, visit


Volunteers Do It Differently in Every State, Federal Study Shows;

Nationally, Women with Jobs, Kids Lead the Way; West and South See Fastest Volunteer Growth; Utah #1 in Most Measures

June 12, 2006

(Washington, D.C.) ? A first-ever federal report released today by the Corporation for National and Community Service finds that states vary widely in how, when, and what percent of their citizens volunteer, while in every state women volunteer at a higher rate than men, and women with children and women who work have higher volunteer rates than other women. The study also found that of America?s 65.5 million adult volunteers, more serve through religious organizations than any other type of organization.

?Volunteering in America: State Trends and Rankings? is based upon the most statistically significant study of volunteering ever conducted in America ? an annual survey of 60,000 households begun in 2002 by the U.S. Census Bureau. It is the first study to give a detailed breakdown of America?s volunteering habits and patterns by state and region. The full report, including highlights, state-by-state rankings, profiles of volunteering in each region and state, statistical tables, and technical notes, is available at

?This Administration, together with the nation?s leading volunteer-based organizations and service commissions in every state, wants to see millions more Americans bringing hope and solutions to our communities through volunteering ? 10 million more, in fact, by 2010,? said David Eisner, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, an independent Federal agency. ?The study we?re releasing today will help every state create stronger volunteer networks by showing what?s working, what?s not, and highlight the best opportunities to engage citizens in the future.?

On a national level, 65.4 million or 28.8 percent of American adults volunteered in 2005, an increase of nearly six million volunteers since 2002. American volunteers spent a median of 50 hours per year volunteering, and gave a total of 8.2 billion hours of volunteer service in 2005. Using Independent Sector?s estimate of the dollar value of a volunteer?s time, volunteering in America equated to a value of $147.6 billion dollars in 2005. The typical American volunteer is a white female who gives 50 hours per year volunteering through a religious organization as a tutor, mentor, coach, or referee.

Among key findings, the study reveals that:

-Females volunteer at significantly higher rates than do males in every state; nationwide, women with children under age 18 volunteer at a significantly higher rate (39.9%) than do women without young children (29%), and women who work volunteer at a significantly higher rate (36.1%) than women who do not work (27.2%).

-The greatest percentage of volunteers serve primarily through religious organizations (34.8%).

-The highest regional volunteer rate last year was in the Midwest, at 33.3%. The largest growth in volunteering since 2002 has come from the South (2.4 million) and the West (2 million).

-The top volunteer activities by category are mentoring, tutoring, coaching, and refereeing (35%), fundraising (29.7%) and collecting, preparing, distributing, or serving food (26.3%).

?Adult volunteering generally follows a life cycle, with people age 35-54 volunteering at the highest rate, and rates subsequently declining as people age, particularly for individuals over 65.

?Volunteers are the lifeblood of our nation. From schools and shelters to hospitals and hotlines, volunteers are vital to America?s social and economic well-being,? said Eisner. ?By giving us a clear picture of who volunteers, this report is a powerful tool for expanding volunteering in America.?

The Corporation is the nation?s largest grant maker for volunteering and service, and it administers the Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America programs. It will be working with a broad-based coalition of nonprofit, corporate, and government leaders to increase the number of volunteers in America from its current level of 65 million to 75 million by the year 2010. This initiative, called ?10 by 10,? will be launched at the National Conference on Volunteering and Service, an annual gathering of volunteer sector leaders taking place June 18-20 in Seattle. The Corporation put forth the 10 million goal as part of its five- year Strategic Plan released in February 2006.

?It is encouraging to see there is an increasing trend of Americans from diverse backgrounds who are responding to President Bush?s call to service. However, there is still a need for more Americans to understand how serving their neighbors would have positive social and economic effects at the local and national levels," said Desiree T. Sayle, who is the Deputy Assistant to President George W. Bush and Director of USA Freedom Corps. ?We at USA Freedom Corps have great expectations that this report will be resourceful in helping to expand volunteer service in America.?

In terms of state and regional differences, the study found that:

-One state ? Utah ? led the nation in virtually all categories of volunteering, including highest volunteer rate (48%), annual hours donated by a typical volunteer (96), and overall volunteer rates by seniors (51.8%), college students (62.9%), and young adults (45.4%).

-The volunteer rate in the Midwest is 29% higher than the rate in the Northeast, 21.5% higher than the rate in the South, and 14% higher than the rate in the West.

-The states with the highest volunteering rates are Utah (48%), Nebraska (42.8), Minnesota (40.7), Iowa (39.2), and Alaska (38.9) ? all well above the national average of 28.8 percent.

-The states with the highest number of hours contributed by the typical volunteer are Utah (96), Idaho (64), and Arizona, Maryland and Montana (60) ? all above the national median of 50 hours.

-In general, volunteer rates for minorities (race and ethnicity) are substantially lower than non-Hispanic whites in most states.

-While the influence of religion and the size of a state?s rural population appear to have an overall positive influence on volunteer rates, some states with lower religious activity or substantial urban populations (such as Vermont and Michigan, respectively) have very strong volunteer rates. Meanwhile, Bible Belt states have a lower volunteer rate than most Midwest and West states.

Robert Grimm, Director of the Corporation?s Office of Research and Policy Development, noted how the changing demographics of America could have a substantial impact on the future of volunteering. ?The fact that minorities have lower volunteer rates may suggest that organizations will need to reach out to them more in the future or face volunteer shortages as white non-Hispanics become a smaller part of the U.S. population. Similarly, with the aging of the boomer population, we need to challenge ourselves to make sure their volunteering prevalence does not decline,? said Grimm.

?We believe that a better future for all Americans includes a more widespread culture of service and volunteering,? said Eisner. ?We are committed to working with volunteer and service-driven organizations everywhere to expand the number of Americans who volunteer by 15 percent over the next five years. America needs more mentors for our youth, companions for our elderly, and helpers after disasters. I encourage any American who wants to make a difference to visit to find the right volunteer opportunity for you.?


?Volunteering in America: State Trends and Rankings? presents an overview of volunteering at both the national and regional levels, as well as state rankings on volunteering indicators such as volunteering rate and intensity, and volunteering among seniors and students. The report features a two-page state profile for each state and the District of Columbia that displays information on the number of people volunteering, the volunteering rate, the number of hours volunteered, the primary organizations at which volunteers perform work, and the types of activities volunteers perform in each state. The report is based on data obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics through a ?volunteering supplement? to the Current Population Survey (CPS) from 2002 to 2005. The volunteer supplement is administered annually to approximately 60,000 households nationwide.

The Corporation for National and Community Service improves lives, strengthens communities, and fosters civic engagement through service and volunteering. Each year, the Corporation provides opportunities for nearly 2 million Americans of all ages and backgrounds to serve their communities and country through Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America. National service participants help thousands of national and community nonprofit organizations, faith-based groups, schools, and local agencies meet critical community needs in education, the environment, public safety, disaster response, and other areas. Together with the USA Freedom Corps, the Corporation is working to build a culture of citizenship, service, and responsibility in America. For more information, go to


Learn and Serve America Announces $520,000 in Grants

to Expand Hurricane Relief Efforts in Gulf Coast

June 2, 2006

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) ? Learn and Serve America announced today that it will award $520,000 in new grants to support and expand ongoing hurricane relief and recovery efforts by students and school groups in the Gulf Coast.

?College students and other young people, especially those living or studying in the Gulf region, have a tremendous amount to give to the rebuilding effort, and their idealism and energy is needed,? said David Eisner, CEO of the Corporation for National Service, which administers the Learn and Serve America program. ?These grants will help our nation recover from one of the most devastating disasters in our history.?

The grants, which range in size from $49,000 to $111,000, will go to six current Learn and Serve grantees and will support a variety of activities, from enabling K-12 students to help rebuild their schools to helping historically black universities severely impacted by storm. The six grantees are: the University of Southern Mississippi (Hattiesburg); the Mississippi Commission on Volunteer Service (Jackson); the Mississippi Department of Education (Jackson); the Institute for Global Education and Service-Learning (Levittown, Pa.); Campus Compact of Brown University (Providence, R.I.); and the United Negro College Fund Special Programs (Fairfax, Va.).

"Learn and Serve grantees are playing an important role in engaging students, including many in the storm-affected region, in helping residents and community institution rebuild in the aftermath of this unprecedented disaster,? said Amy Cohen, director of Learn and Serve America. ?We know that the rebuilding effort will take many years, and we will do all we can to provide assistance over the long haul.?

A list of grantees, the grant amount awarded, and the purpose for which it is to be used follows:

Campus Compact ($90,000)

Campus Compact?s national office, headquartered at Brown University, is working closely with Louisiana Campus Compact and local agencies to address the needs of hard hit higher education institutions in Louisiana. Colleges and universities in Louisiana will use the grant to meet their own needs and the needs of communities surrounding their campuses. Services will include: building restoration, distribution of supplies, tutorial services, health care assistance, assistance with locating or providing temporary housing, and testing for water quality and other environmental effects.

United Negro College Fund Special Programs ($90,000)

This grant will allow the program to continue to support Historically Black Colleges and Universities in New Orleans, including Xavier and Dillard, that were hit hard by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Subgrants to both Dillard and Xavier will support volunteer matching and support efforts on each campus, including the development of three Centers for Community Engagement to function as coordinators for students, faculty, community residents, leaders, and community-based organizations in three New Orleans neighborhoods.

University of Southern Mississippi ($90,000)

This grant will support the recovery efforts of subgrantee members of the Mississippi Higher Education Consortium. Service fellowships will be granted to college groups, community and faith-based groups, and K-12 groups to support service efforts in hurricane-impacted areas. Mini-grants will be provided specifically to vocational-technical departments from community and four-year colleges to use their students? expertise in masonry, carpentry, electrical, and plumbing work to rebuild hurricane-affected areas.

Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service ($49,000)

This grant will support summer programming, including youth summer day camps that will engage young people in the Gulf Coast region in service-learning projects related to hurricane recovery. The projects include capturing residents? and volunteers? stories of hope, compassion and courage through photographs, video, and writing; students will also document their own service efforts.

Mississippi Department of Education ($111,000)

Working closely with the Mississippi Commission of Volunteer Service and the University of Southern Mississippi, this grant will provide training and technical assistance to five school districts directly affected by Hurricane Katrina to enable them to engage K-12 students in disaster relief projects. Funds will also be used to recruit community volunteers to work with the students and their families to restore schools and communities.

Institute for Global Education and Service-Learning ($90,000)

This grant will support the ?Walk About? summer-school service-learning program, which engages youth in community-based service projects and strengthens their basic academic skills. Specifically, the grant will allow youth from communities that have experienced extensive damage, including youth who currently reside in temporary housing or who resettled to other communities, to contribute to the relief efforts.

Learn and Serve America provides an ?on ramp? to a lifetime of civic engagement for approximately 1.5 million students each year by awarding grants to schools, colleges, and community organizations to engage students in service activities linked to academic achievement. This type of learning, called service-learning, improves communities while developing the lifelong habit of service in young people.

Through its AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and Learn and Serve America programs, the Corporation for National and Community Service provides opportunities for Americans of all ages and backgrounds to serve their communities and country. Together with the USA Freedom Corps, the Corporation is working to build a culture of citizenship, service, and responsibility in America. For more information, visit


AmeriCorps Boosts Disaster Response, Youth Service with

$139 Million in New Funds to Support Nearly 18,000 Members

June 1, 2006

(Washington, D.C.) ? As hurricane season kicks off today with experts predicting another extremely active season, help is on the way from thousands of new AmeriCorps members who will work with Gulf Coast communities to prepare for upcoming disasters and rebuild from last year?s devastating storms.

The disaster relief support ? $49.6 million in new funds to support 5,400 AmeriCorps members ? is part of the annual announcement of $139 million in new AmeriCorps grants made today by the Corporation for National and Community Service, AmeriCorps? parent agency. Helping youth succeed is another key thrust of the new grants, which will support more than 7,700 new AmeriCorps members as teachers, tutors, mentors, and afterschool and service-learning coordinators for children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

All together, the new grants will support a total of 141 organizations and 17,725 new AmeriCorps members for the 2006-07 program year. In addition, if all members complete their terms of service, they collectively will be eligible to receive more than $51 million in AmeriCorps Education Awards to pay for college or pay back student loans. A complete list of grants can be found at

?In communities across the country, our dedicated AmeriCorps members will be tackling some of America?s toughest social issues,? said Corporation CEO David Eisner. ?We are excited about the quality and diversity of these grantees, and the powerful contribution their AmeriCorps members will make to mobilizing volunteers, responding to disasters, improving education, helping youth, and meeting other critical needs."

In total more than $60 million in grants funds and 7,700 of the new AmeriCorps positions are geared towards helping youth succeed or serve. These include programs such as the Harlem Children?s Zone program, which will support 117 AmeriCorps members in eight Harlem schools to assist teachers, provide afterschool activities, and spur parental involvement in schools. Acting on the belief that young people should be asked to serve, not just be served, a number of grants support AmeriCorps members who organize projects to engage youth in service at a young age so that they will grow into active, involved citizens.

The grants continue AmeriCorps? heavy involvement in helping Gulf Coast communities recover from the devastating 2005 hurricanes. For example, 75 AmeriCorps members will serve with the Housing Authority of Meridian, Miss., to help rebuild homes; 150 members will serve with the Trinity Christian Community in New Orleans to do case management and rebuilding, and 96 AmeriCorps members will provide preparedness training for natural disasters, terrorist attacks, and fire safety through local American Red Cross chapters across the county. Thirteen of the disaster relief programs were funded for three years at the outset with $18 million in funds specifically available for disaster recovery and preparedness.

The grants reinforce AmeriCorps? long term commitment to helping the Gulf Coast recover from the Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma. Since September, more than 3,500 AmeriCorps members have served in the Gulf, where they have established and operated shelters, mucked and gutted homes, provided meals and services to evacuees, tarped and rebuilt homes, coordinated the warehousing and distribution of donated goods, and managed tens of thousands of community volunteers. AmeriCorps has already approved nearly $14 million in AmeriCorps funds to support recovery efforts by current grantees and to create service opportunities for more than 900 new AmeriCorps members.

Among the AmeriCorps grants announced today are 18 faith-based and 170 community-based programs, many of which further the priorities of the Corporation's Faith-Based and Community Initiative of working with children of inmates, prisoners re-entering society, and their families. Lutheran Social Services of Illinois will engage 16 AmeriCorps members to re-connect children of incarcerated parents with their family member in prison and to launch a prisoner reentry program. Amachi, a Philadelphia based program focusing on mentoring children of incarcerated parents, will engage 60 AmeriCorps members as congregation volunteer coordinators at faith-based organizations to recruit and train mentors.

Today?s grant announcements represent the cumulative results of nine separate competitions. All of the groups announced today are beginning a new three-year grant cycle with AmeriCorps. The 141 organizations were selected from among 482 applicants in a highly competitive process. AmeriCorps grants typically are awarded for a period of three years, renewable contingent on grantee performance, compliance, and availability of funds.

AmeriCorps is a highly decentralized program which provides men and women the opportunity to meet local needs by serving with existing nonprofits groups, local agencies, and faith-based and community organizations. Roughly three-quarters of all AmeriCorps grant dollars go through and are administered by Governor-appointed state service commissions. Because of its decentralized structure which emphasizes grassroots solutions to local problems, AmeriCorps members supported by these grants will serve in a range of activities including teaching disadvantaged students, mentoring youth, responding to disasters, and mobilize volunteers to meet vital community needs.

AmeriCorps grants are made in two general categories: ?state grants? made either to Governor-appointed state service commissions or to organizations nominated by those commissions; and ?national grants? made directly by the Corporation to organizations operating in multiple states, institutions of higher education, and American Indian tribes.

AmeriCorps State Grants

AmeriCorps State Competitive: These grants are awarded to organizations nominated to participate in a nationwide competition by Governor-appointed state service commissions. The 90 organizations selected in this category, out of 278 applications, will receive grants totaling $62.7 million to support 8,006 AmeriCorps positions.

AmeriCorps State Education Award Program: Under this program, organizations operating in a single state receive only a small administrative grant?approximately $400 for each full-time member?and most use their own or other resources to cover AmeriCorps members? living allowance and other program costs. Of the grants awarded in this category, 13 were either new or renewed grants. The $222,640 awarded to these grantees will support 1,143 members. The remaining nine grantees received continuation grants of $136,700 that will support 1,207 AmeriCorps members.

AmeriCorps National Grants

AmeriCorps National: These grants are awarded to organizations that operate in more than one state. The 18 grantees in this category, out of 42 applications, will receive a total of $23.5 million to support 3,412 members.

AmeriCorps National Education Award Program: Under this program, organizations operating in more than one state, or institutions of higher education, receive only a small administrative grant?approximately $400 for each full-time member?and most use their own or other resources to cover AmeriCorps members? living allowance and other program costs. The three grantees in this category will receive $768,000 to support 3,798 members.

AmeriCorps Indian Tribes, Territories, and Puerto Rico Grants: The three grantees in this category will receive $528,745 to support 42 AmeriCorps members.

Professional Corps: The sole grantee in this category received a $150,000 grant that will support 100 AmeriCorps members.

South Dakota: the sole grantee in this category will receive a $208,781 grant to support 17 AmeriCorps members.

AmeriCorps Planning Grants: Grants are awarded to organizations to assist with the setting up of an AmeriCorps project. This is a one-year grant, and no members will be supported with this grant. The three grantees in this category will receive a total of $149,664.

The grants announced today represent only part of the grants to be made this year by AmeriCorps. In April, the Corporation announced $57.3 million in second- and third-year grants to 128 organizations to support 9,682 AmeriCorps members for the 2006-07 program year. (Click here for detailed information on those grants). More grant announcements will be made in the coming months. In total, the fiscal year 2006 budget for AmeriCorps will support approximately 73,000 positions. Most of the positions will be available starting in the fall. Interested individuals can learn about opportunities and submit an online application by visiting

"Joining AmeriCorps is an excellent way for people of all ages to fulfill the responsibilities of citizenship,? said Liz Seale, Interim Director of AmeriCorps. ?I?m continually impressed by our AmeriCorps members? drive, commitment, and accomplishments. The opportunities supported by these grants are a great option for Americans looking to make a difference in their communities."

At the end of a successful full-time term of service, AmeriCorps members earn an AmeriCorps Education Award of $4,725 that they can use to pay for college or to pay back qualified student loans. Part-time members earn awards in pro-rated amounts. Most AmeriCorps members also receive health benefits, student loan deferment, and a living allowance to offset food and housing costs during their term of service.

In addition to the AmeriCorps*State and National grant programs, of which these competitions are a part, AmeriCorps also includes AmeriCorps*NCCC, a 10-month, full-time residential program for 1,100 men and women between the ages of 18 and 24 who carry out projects in public safety, public health, and disaster relief; and AmeriCorps*VISTA, whose 6,600 members help bring individuals and communities out of poverty by serving full-time to fight illiteracy, improve health services, create businesses, increase housing opportunities, or bridge the digital divide.

AmeriCorps is administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, which also oversees Senior Corps and Learn and Serve America. The Corporation?s mission is to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering. Together with the USA Freedom Corps, the Corporation is working to build a culture of service, citizenship, and responsibility in America. For more information, visit


VISTA Marks 40 Years of Fighting Poverty with New Book of Volunteer Stories, Forum:

May 23, 2006

"More than 177,000 ?Anti-Poverty Entrepreneurs? Have Served Since 1965"

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) ? The Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) program today released a new book of volunteer stories as part of a two-day series of events to mark more than 40 years of fighting poverty in America.

The book, VISTA? In Service to America, celebrates VISTA?s enduring history of service to those in low-income areas through the personal photographs, reflections, and experiences of 21 VISTA members and alumni. It will be released at an evening reception that will gather together some of the key people who developed VISTA as part of the War on Poverty, including Sargent and Eunice Shriver, former Senator Harris Wofford, and Frank Mankiewicz; VISTA members and alumni; nonprofit and anti-poverty leaders; and current administrators of the program from the Corporation for National and Community Service. To read the book and view VISTA photos, visit

The VISTA celebration will include the awarding of the ?Shriver Award for Fighting Poverty? to several lawmakers who have been influential in supporting the program over the years. They include: U.S. Representative Howard Berman of California; U.S. Representative John Lewis of Georgia; U.S Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland; U.S. Representative George Miller of California; U.S. Representative Gwen Moore of Wisconsin; Ralph Munro, long-time Secretary of State in the state of Washington; and U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia. Reps. Berman and Moore and Senator Rockefeller served as VISTA volunteers.

Tomorrow a forum on VISTA?s past, present, and future will be held at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center from 1:00 to 4:00 pm. It will be moderated by Mimi Mager, a member of the Board of Directors of the Corporation and longtime VISTA supporter, and AmeriCorps*VISTA Director Jean Whaley In addition to Mr. Mankewicz and Mr. Wofford, other panelists will include Clarence Carter, Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture?s Food Stamps Program; Jim Richardson, CEO of the National Rural Funders Collaborative; John Taylor, President and CEO of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition; Nan Roman, President and CEO of the National Alliance to End Homelessness; Jim Scheibel, former Vice President of VISTA; and James Thibeault, a former VISTA volunteer who launched the Cabin Creek Quilts Cooperative in West Virginia.

?For more than 40 years, VISTA volunteers have been on the frontlines of the War on Poverty, doing extraordinary work to help people and communities lift themselves out of poverty,? said Corporation CEO David Eisner. ?VISTA?s mission is more important today than ever, and VISTA?s legacy lives on through its 6,000 current members, the civic leadership of its alumni, and the ongoing work of the thousands of anti-poverty programs started by VISTAs over the years.?

Since its founding in 1965, more than 177,000 Americans have answered VISTA?s call to devote a year of full-time service living and working in low-income communities to help eradicate poverty. Today, VISTA is part of AmeriCorps, and it supports more than 6,000 members each year to develop programs, recruit community volunteers, raise funds, help manage projects, and otherwise build the capacity of nonprofit organizations to help low-income people and communities improve their economic conditions. VISTA members help to fight illiteracy, expand job opportunities, develop financial assets, reduce homelessness, improve health services, reduce unemployment, increase housing opportunities, and expand access to technology.

Last year AmeriCorps*VISTA members served with more than 1,600 local projects, raised more than $157 million in cash and in-kind resources for their projects, and recruited or managed 509,000 community volunteers ? an average of 76 volunteers per AmeriCorps*VISTA member. More AmeriCorps*VISTA facts are available at

The original idea behind VISTA ? that of creating a domestic service program to provide urgently needed services in urban and rural areas of poverty in America -- came from President John F. Kennedy in 1963. Less than years later, President Kennedy?s dream was realized when President and Lady Bird Johnson welcomed the first group of 20 VISTA volunteers to the White House, telling them, ?Your pay will be low; the conditions of your labor often will be difficult, but you will have the satisfaction of leading a great national effort and you will have the ultimate reward which comes to those who serve their fellow man.?

Throughout the decades, VISTA has evolved to respond to local problems and the changing face of poverty in America. In its first decade, the program helped develop a range of projects around the United States, including Head Start centers, block watch clubs, credit unions, and agricultural cooperatives. As experience with poverty issues grew, VISTA also recruited lawyers, doctors, and architects to work in underserved areas. In the 1980s, the program placed a strong focus on literacy and substance abuse prevention and treatment. In the 1990s, VISTA members created programs to help individuals transition from welfare to work and to provide constructive out-of-school activities for disadvantaged youth. In 2001, VISTA launched an entrepreneur corps to tap volunteers with business and computer skills to run programs providing microenterprise credit, financial literacy, and technology access to poor communities.

?AmeriCorps*VISTA provides a unique approach to fighting poverty through locally developed projects that empower people in the community to work together to solve local problems,? said current AmeriCorps*VISTA Director Jean Whaley. ?Our members are anti-poverty entrepreneurs who bring strong energy and deep dedication to making a difference in their communities.?

AmeriCorps*VISTA is part of AmeriCorps, a network of national and community service programs that each year supports the engagement of more than 70,000 Americans in intensive service to meet critical needs in education, the environment, public safety, homeland security, and other areas. AmeriCorps is administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, which also administers Senior Corps and Learn and Serve America. Together with USA Freedom Corps, the Corporation is working to foster a culture of citizenship, service, and responsibility in America. For more information, visit

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