AmeriCorps CEO Tours National Service Projects in New England
Michael D. Smith visited AmeriCorps projects, met with local officials, and swore in new AmeriCorps members
WASHINGTON, DC- Michael D. Smith, AmeriCorps CEO, visited New England last week to see the impact of national service programs in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, meet with local leaders, and participate in the Massachusetts Service Alliance and Serve Rhode Island Opening Day Ceremonies.
On Wednesday, Nov. 2, Smith moderated a roundtable in Hartford, Conn. hosted by Serve Connecticut, the Governor’s Office of Volunteer Services, to hear first-hand experiences from the AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers that serve over 300 locations across the state. More than 2,100 Americans of all ages and backgrounds unite to meet local needs, strengthen communities, and expand opportunity through national service in Connecticut. Last year, AmeriCorps invested more than $10.6 million in federal funding to support cost-effective community solutions.
Smith then toured the new Connecticut River Valley YouthBuild in his hometown of Springfield, Mass. Since 1994, YouthBuild USA has served as a national intermediary for YouthBuild AmeriCorps funds and education awards, bringing additional resources to a subset of local YouthBuild USA affiliate programs to expand their capacity and service within their community. In July of 2021, Connecticut River Valley YouthBuild received a two-year $1.5 million Department of Labor YouthBuild operational grant to expand its services in workforce development, mental health counseling, intervention, outreach, recreational after school and summer programing.
Smith, State Senator Eric Lesser (D-MA), and Council Member Justin Hurst joined a community roundtable with Springfield nonprofit, foundation and civic leaders on ways national service can meet the community’s needs and priorities at the Springfield Boys and Girls Club Family Center. The event focused on the role of national service and AmeriCorps in Western Massachusetts.
On Thursday, Nov. 3, Smith met with Representative Richard Neal (MA-01) and local AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Senior volunteers in Springfield, Mass. to discuss local community service.
Smith then hosted a Massachusetts Higher Education Roundtable at Brandeis University. Leaders from 10 higher education institutions in the Boston area met to discuss how national service and higher education can work together to address critical community challenges, expand opportunity, and strengthen and unite communities. Massachusetts is a national leader in both higher education and national service, with five institutions currently operating AmeriCorps programs and 14 Schools of National Service.
On Friday, Nov. 4, Smith, Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Representative Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) and Massachusetts Service Alliance leadership swore-in more than 600 AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers at Massachusetts Opening Day ceremony, Massachusetts Service Alliance, the state service commission, provides individuals and organizations with funding, training, and support, which enables them to strengthen communities and make the Commonwealth a better place to live.
Smith later met with Setti Warren, interim director of the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School and then joined students for a discussion about national and public service. Smith ended his trip with a group of AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers serving in Foster Grandparent, Senior Companion, and RSVP programs in Boston who shared how their service was making an impact on their lives.
Last year, AmeriCorps invested more than $33.2 million in federal funding to support cost-effective community solutions and 7,000 AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Seniors Volunteers to help Massachusetts communities. Members and volunteers serve at more than 1,000 locations across the state, including schools, food banks, homeless shelters, health clinics, youth centers, veterans’ facilities, and other nonprofit and faith-based organizations.
On Saturday, Nov. 5, Smith participated in the Opening Day of Serve Rhode Island, the Governor’s Office of Volunteer Services. AmeriCorps members and supporters came together to celebrate a year of service in Rhode Island. Smith discussed the impact of national service in local communities, then led the members in reciting the AmeriCorps pledge.
Each year, more than 2,400 AmeriCorps members and volunteers unite to meet local needs, strengthen communities and expand opportunity at more than 200 locations in Rhode Island. In 2021, AmeriCorps invested more than $2.8 million in federal funding to support cost-effective community solutions and work with local partners to empower individuals to help communities.