AmeriCorps to reinforce Illinois programs with largest grant award to date
Acting manager of AmeriCorps’ Illinois-based programs, the Serve Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service (Serve Illinois), recently reported $17.5 million in federal grants for AmeriCorps members.
“This is the largest AmeriCorps award that Illinois has seen in the 24 year history of the program,” Serve Illinois Executive Director Scott McFarland said.
The grants, which amount to nearly $2 million more than the previous year, will enable AmeriCorps to station more members in the field and to better support ongoing efforts. They are bolstered by AmeriCorps’ pledge to contribute $15.9 million in locally sourced matching funds.
Programs in Cook County receiving funding include American Red Cross, Asian Human Services, Chicago HOPES for Kids, City Year Chicago, College Possible, First Defense Legal Aid, Gardeneers, Greater Chicago Food Depository, Housing Forward, Illinois Bar Foundation, Illinois Public Health Association, Leave No Veteran Behind, Literacy Volunteers of Illinois, Northwestern University Settlement Association, Public Allies, Relay Graduate School of Education, Rincon, Schuler Family Foundation, Teach for America, United Way of Metropolitan Chicago, University of Illinois-Chicago, Up2Us - Coach Across America, Youth and Opportunity United Inc. and Youth Guidance.
Currently, 1,671 AmeriCorps members serve in 39 programs across the state.
“Last year, AmeriCorps Illinois served nearly 300,000 Illinoisans, including more than 180,000 disadvantaged youth; nearly 40,000 veterans, active military, and military family members; and more than 13,000 people impacted by disasters,” McFarland said.
The incoming donations are dedicated to improving and supporting the work members do in local communities, which ranges in scope from donating emergency supplies and providing disaster relief to leading youth mentorship programs and promoting sound environmental practices.
This move comes as part of a push to grow the reach of AmeriCorps members. The funding increase will effectively place them in an additional 20 counties across Illinois.
Of the total amount, $6.4 million represents dedicated tuition and educational expense assistance for members to tap into after completing their service with AmeriCorps.
Serve Illinois is a bipartisan commission that strives to help Illinois communities via a variety of community activities and programs.