FRANKFORT – Governor Steve Beshear announced that Kentucky has received more than $3.7 million in AmeriCorps funding from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) for 12 programs on Tuesday.
Programs receiving funding include Teach for America-Kentucky in Hazard, Operation Unite in Prestonsburg and Disaster Services Corps in Owensboro.
Some of the grants are for programs in eastern Kentucky communities that are part of the Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) initiative, and the awards will complement other AmeriCorps activities in the region.
“The Commonwealth sees great rewards from national service,” Gov. Beshear said. “AmeriCorps fills pressing social needs and makes our communities stronger. Members gain leadership skills and career experience. We value AmeriCorps partnerships and congratulate the programs that have received grant funding.”
Gov. Beshear said that including additional local funding and educational grants, AmeriCorps programs will result in a $12.6 million investment in Kentucky.
“AmeriCorps is enriching both communities and individuals through specific service programs and education grants,” he said. “Kentucky AmeriCorps is making an extraordinary impact on the future of our citizens’ well-being.”
The 2015 AmeriCorps grant cycle was highly competitive due to the strong demand by organizations competing for AmeriCorps resources. The national competition prioritized investments in economic opportunity, education, veterans and military families, disaster services and an initiative for governors and mayors. Kentucky programs receiving grants will focus on several initiatives, including education, mentoring for college readiness and providing in-home services and support to senior citizens.
AmeriCorps is a national service program administered by the Kentucky Commission on Community Volunteerism and Service (KCCVS), part of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, and the federal Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). AmeriCorps members serve faith-based and nonprofit organizations with critical educational, environmental and safety needs. Grant recipients include programs dedicated to efforts such as teaching and tutoring children, combating homelessness, providing drug resistance education and empowering victims of domestic violence.
KCCVS Executive Director Joe Bringardner said he is proud of Kentucky programs’ showing among the national grant awardees.
“These programs have distinct goals to help educate youth, provide comfort to seniors and rebuild families’ lives by building homes,” he said. “Our AmeriCorps members use their talents, their vision and their boundless energy to establish immediate and long-lasting change in Kentucky.”
Kentucky received $1.8 million in national competitive grant funding and received an additional $1.9 million in formula grant funds, awarded based on state population. With these funds, the KCCVS awarded grants to six additional AmeriCorps programs in nonprofit organizations and public agencies across the Commonwealth. The law creating AmeriCorps gave a key role to states in determining how national service resources are used and promoting service and volunteering to meet specific community needs.
AmeriCorps programs are also contributing a total of $3.2 million in local funding matches, money from the private sector, foundations, community partnerships and other sources.
In addition to the grant funding, CNCS will make available $1.9 million in Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards for the AmeriCorps members funded by these grants. After completing a full term of service, AmeriCorps members are eligible for an education award equal to the Pell grant – currently $5,730 – that can be used to repay student loans or cover tuition costs.
Bringardner said AmeriCorps can clear a path to higher education for many Kentuckians.
“Kentucky AmeriCorps provides millions of dollars for college,” he said. “It gives members a way to move toward a degree and gain specialized skills while they serve their communities.”
Since 1994, more than 9,400 Kentucky residents have served more than 14 million hours and have received education awards totaling more than $32.5 million. During the 2013-14 program year, AmeriCorps members recruited 13,235 volunteers who provided more than 92,200 hours of service to the Commonwealth of Kentucky and its citizens.
Competitive grants are awarded nationally for fixed time periods for specific projects and costs. Formula grants are awarded by the bipartisan KCCVS commission. The KCCVS received formula grant requests for more than $3 million, but only had $1.9 million funding available.