Statement by AmeriCorps Acting CEO Mal Coles on the President’s FY22 Budget Request
President Proposes Increase in AmeriCorps Budget to Prioritize Economic Opportunity, Racial Equity, and Underserved Communities through National Service and Volunteering
The Biden-Harris Administration has submitted to Congress the President’s Budget for fiscal year 2022. As the Administration continues to make progress defeating the pandemic and getting our economy back on track, the Budget makes historic investments that will help the country build back better and lay the foundation for shared growth and prosperity for decades to come.
“Over the past year, America’s spirit of service has been on dramatic display. All across the country, Americans have united to combat COVID-19, address racial and economic inequity, and bring hope and help to those in need. For nearly three decades, AmeriCorps has tapped the ingenuity and can-do spirit of the American people to meet our toughest challenges.
As our nation grapples with a series of converging crises, AmeriCorps will continue to connect local organizations with people who want to serve to meet pressing challenges, including building a more inclusive and equitable economy for all.
For decades, national service has engaged Americans of all backgrounds in tackling our toughest challenges, uniting people to work together for the common good. Time and time again, we have seen that when our nation invests in national service, we all win. Together with community partners, AmeriCorps engages dedicated individuals in making our nation more fair, equitable, and united. The FY 2022 Budget continues this smart investment in the American people—an investment that solves problems, expands opportunity, strengthens communities, connects us with our neighbors, and unites our nation.”
The FY 2022 President’s Budget includes the two historic plans the Administration has already put forward — the Americans Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan – and reinvests in education, research, public health, and other foundations of our country’s strength.
The Budget provides AmeriCorps with $1.2 billion, an increase of $89.2 million over the FY 2021 Enacted level, that will support AmeriCorps and its state and local partners in service to improve lives, strengthen communities, foster civic engagement, and engage Americans in national service and volunteerism. At AmeriCorps [the Corporation for National and Community Service], the Budget would:
- Advance Racial and Economic Equity. The Budget provides $3.4 million to help nonprofit and voluntary organizations broaden their volunteer base, mobilize underserved individuals in volunteering, and increase their impact on community challenges. AmeriCorps will focus the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service on advancing racial justice and equity solutions and the September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance on increasing support for veterans, military members, and their families. The Budget also provides funding to support more individuals with different abilities to participate in national service. The Budget will help underserved and under-resourced communities develop program models that will benefit their communities and engage community members as AmeriCorps members.
- Prioritize Underserved Individuals and Communities. The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to supporting and building on the investment made by the American Rescue Plan to expand national service opportunities to more people. In FY 2022, AmeriCorps will increase the stipend provided to AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers and also will work to optimize use of the Segal Education Award to make higher education more accessible. The agency will take steps to recruit and retain a diverse corps of members and volunteers from underserved populations, including strengthening relationships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and Tribal Colleges; increasing our consultation and collaboration with Tribal communities; and undertaking targeted recruitment efforts. Through these and other efforts, more individuals from underserved communities will engage in national service and have stronger pathways to employment and economic opportunity.
- Expand Use of Evidence-Based Approaches to Drive National Service. The Budget provides $4.3 million for AmeriCorps evaluation, an increase of $250,000 above the FY 2021 Enacted level that will bolster agency’s use of evidence and evaluation to drive programmatic and funding decisions and increase the use of evidence-based approaches in AmeriCorps programs. These efforts will strengthen the agency’s efforts to promote a culture of evidence and evaluation within the agency and among grantees by facilitating evidence- based and evidence-informed grantmaking.
As America confronts a series of converging crises, the role of national service and volunteering have never been more important. This Budget will provide resources to support AmeriCorps and its large network of partners in helping to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, rebuild the economy, address racial inequity, tackle the climate crisis, and meet other challenges with higher levels of impact, accountability, and efficiency. The agency’s primary programs are included in the Budget with the following funding recommendations:
- AmeriCorps State and National. The Budget provides $501 million to AmeriCorps State and National, an increase of $46 million above the FY 2021 Enacted level that will support approximately 52,000 AmeriCorps members who will help communities in tackling challenges related to COVID-19, economic opportunity, environmental stewardship and climate change, and other community needs. With this funding, AmeriCorps State and National will continue to invest in evidence informed and evidence-based community solutions, providing a source of human capital to meet pressing community needs across the country and a pathway to economic and educational opportunities for Americans who serve.
- AmeriCorps VISTA. The Budget provides $103.86 million to AmeriCorps VISTA, an increase of $6.5 million above the FY 2021 Enacted level that will support an estimated 8,000 full-time AmeriCorps members and summer associates, focused on capacity building for anti-poverty projects to enhance the diversity, equity, and inclusion of both AmeriCorps members and beneficiaries, and direct resources to under-served communities. VISTA will continue to promote evidence-informed activities that address needs including food insecurity, a long-time area of need made especially acute during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, VISTA projects will support safe and affordable housing, improve access to health care, provide support for veterans and their families, and help communities become more resilient to the impacts of extreme weather, disasters, and climate change.
- AmeriCorps NCCC. The Budget provides $37.7 million to AmeriCorps NCCC, an increase of $4.2 million above the FY 2021 Enacted level that will support an estimated 2,080 members in direct, team-based national service. This includes 1,440 members in the traditional program and 640 members in the AmeriCorps-FEMA Corps program. AmeriCorps NCCC will expand its impact with the addition of 80 members who will support priority needs around climate change and support veterans and military families. The Budget will also support a 28 percent increase in the daily food allowance and enhanced support to meet behavioral health needs.
- AmeriCorps Seniors. The Budget provides $244.5 million, an increase of $19.5 million above the FY 2021 Enacted level that will support an estimated 175,000 Americans age 55 and older to address ongoing impacts of the pandemic including learning loss and food insecurity and meet other community needs in independent living, disaster response, substance abuse prevention, and the environment. The Budget will expand the number of RSVP volunteers serving communities, increase the stipend for Senior Companion and Foster Grandparent volunteers, and support outreach to new organizations and communities. The Budget provides for funding increases across all three AmeriCorps Seniors programs.
Enacting the Budget policies into law this year would strengthen our Nation’s economy and lay the foundation for shared prosperity, while also improving our Nation’s long-term fiscal health.
For more information on the President’s FY 2022 Budget, please visit: https://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/.