BOSTON, Nov. 17, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In response to the imminent approval of spending proposals that would devastate national service programs in communities nationwide, Michael Brown, CEO and Co-Founder of City Year, the education-focused AmeriCorps program, issued the following statement:
"With Congress set to conclude the appropriations process before Thanksgiving, it is critical that Americans urge their elected officials to prioritize funding for the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency that oversees AmeriCorps.
A proposal in the US Senate to cut 20,000 AmeriCorps positions would be a devastating blow to communities, schools and families that receive vital services provided by AmeriCorps members. City Year AmeriCorps members serve as full-time tutors, mentors and role models in many of the highest need elementary, middle and high schools in the nation.
This cut, if applied proportionately to all City Year programs, would result in 52,000 students in 80 high poverty schools losing the critical academic, social-emotional and whole school supports that City Year AmeriCorps members provide every day in 27 US cities. Students would lose more than 1.4 million hours of school-based services.
City Year AmeriCorps members deliver results. A recent study by Policy Studies Associates found that schools that partner with City Year were two-to-three times more likely to improve school-wide proficiency rates in English Language Arts and math than schools with similar demographic and performance profiles.
At a time when college student debt is at an all-time high, these cuts would also wipe out $4.8 million in college scholarships earned by City Year AmeriCorps, in the form of Segal Education Awards. Our newest City Year program, in Kansas City, Missouri, would be threatened if the cuts were enacted.
City Year is just one example of the devastating impact these cuts would have. Nationwide, a cut of 20,000 AmeriCorps members would result in the loss of more than 23.5 million hours of vitally needed service provided by scores of community-based organizations, including City Year programs, deploying AmeriCorps members nationwide to help students, families, seniors, and veterans. This cut would also eliminate $80 million in needed higher education scholarships earned by AmeriCorps members.
Cuts to AmeriCorps also eliminate millions of dollars in matching funds that support communities. Unlike most federal programs, national service programs, such as Teach For America, Habitat for Humanity, The American Red Cross and City Year, include AmeriCorps matching requirements that leverage more than $1 billion in support from private, philanthropic, and local sources to strengthen community impact. Every federal dollar invested in national service generates returns to society of $3.95 in terms of higher earnings, increased output and other community-wide benefits. National service is more than a nice idea – it's a smart investment for the nation.
A bi-partisan initiative since its founding in 1993, AmeriCorps helps build our workforce and maintain our competitive edge globally, while delivering critically needed services to students in high-need schools, veterans, military families, communities recovering from natural disasters and our elderly. Funding for these programs must be protected. The current Congressional proposals --- reducing AmeriCorps by 20,000 members --- would have a drastic impact in communities across the country.
The vast majority of Americans (83%) want Congress to maintain or increase federal investment in national service, according to a new poll by TargetPoint Consulting. This support includes 90% of Democrats, 78% of Republicans and 84% of Independents. Voters overwhelmingly agree that national service prepares young people for the workforce, builds stronger neighborhoods and communities, and restores American values of patriotism and civic duty.
At a time when our global competitiveness is at stake, we cannot afford to walk away from low cost programs that are proven to deliver results, expand opportunity and save taxpayer dollars. We urge Congress to reject cuts to the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), and call on the White House to prioritize funding for national service."
About City Year
In 27 US cities, City Year's more than 3,000 AmeriCorps members serve as full-time tutors, mentors and role models in many of the nation's highest need elementary, middle and high schools, helping students stay in school and on track to graduate from high school, ready for college and career success. City Year AmeriCorps members deliver results. A recent third-party study of City Year's impact found that schools that partner with City Year were two-to-three times more likely to improve school-wide proficiency rates in English Language Arts and math than schools with similar demographic and performance profiles. City Year also builds a leadership pipeline of young adults with the civic motivations, skills and knowledge to affect change during their term of service and beyond, many of whom choose to pursue careers in education. According to a longitudinal study, City Year alumni excel in comparison to similarly situated individuals on every major indicator of civic engagement. City Year AmeriCorps alums are 65% more likely to participate in volunteer activities; 45% more likely to vote and 48% more likely to belong to a community group or civic organization. Founded in 1988, City Year is made possible by support from the Corporation for National and Community Service, school district partnerships, and private philanthropy from corporations, foundations and individuals. Learn more at www.cityyear.org.