SPRINGFIELD – Governor Pat Quinn and his Serve Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service today announced that a $4.4 million federal grant will help more than 1,000 volunteers in seven AmeriCorps programs better serve Illinois communities. The federal Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) funding represents a 36 percent increase over 2013. Today’s announcement is part of Governor Quinn’s commitment to supporting volunteer service in Illinois.
“AmeriCorps is the foundation of the volunteer infrastructure in Illinois, and this investment will help them do even more in Illinois,” Governor Quinn said. “There is no better way to celebrate the 20th anniversary of AmeriCorps than by investing in their mission to address the most challenging problems our communities face.”
This competitive grant will go towards teaching, tutoring and mentoring at-risk youth, supporting literacy programs, preparing for disasters, and improving underserved communities. CNCS is the federal agency that administers AmeriCorps, and its goal with the grant is to develop and expand volunteer organizations across the country. The Serve Illinois Commission administers AmeriCorps programs in Illinois.
The seven programs competed on a national stage with hundreds of programs submitted by other state commissions. The AmeriCorps programs in Illinois funded by the $4.4 million CNCS grant include:
American Red Cross, Chicago, Safe Families AmeriCorps. $332,085 (27 AmeriCorps Members)
Serving: Adams, Cook, Macon, Rock Island County, and Winnebago Counties
The Safe Families program helps the Red Cross achieve its mission by paying special attention to the neighborhoods and communities that need services the most, yet are least likely to be able to afford them. The AmeriCorps program brings Red Cross safety and health programs to underserved neighborhoods, schools and communities. These programs include CPR, first aid, disaster education, and youth programs.
Literacy Volunteers of Illinois, VOCAL AmeriCorps. $261,825 (31 AmeriCorps Members)
Serving: Chicago, suburban Cook, DuPage, Henry, Kane and Saline Counties
The goal of the VOCAL AmeriCorps (Volunteer Outreach for Community Action in Literacy) program is to assist community and faith-based agencies in providing increased services to low literacy adults in their communities and teens in Illinois Youth Centers.
Southwestern Illinois College, Belleville AmeriCorps. $401,089 (73 AmeriCorps Members)
The Belleville AmeriCorps program is a partnership between Southwestern Illinois College, Belleville School District #118, the City of Belleville, Franklin Neighborhood Association, 17th Street Neighborhood Association, Lebanon Kids and YMCA of Southwest Illinois. It supports neighborhood and school initiatives that strengthen the community through service. AmeriCorps members serve as tutors, computer coaches, volunteer coordinators, mentors, and summer camp counselors.
City Year Chicago. $2,331,200 (188 AmeriCorps Members)
City Year unites young people of all backgrounds for a year of full-time service, giving them the skills and opportunities to change the world. As tutors, mentors and role models, these diverse young leaders make a difference in the lives of children, and transform schools and neighborhoods. City Year leverages the talent, energy and idealism of corps members to help students stay on track.
Public Allies Chicago. $637,000 (49 AmeriCorps Members)
Serving: Chicago and Cook County
Public Allies Chicago is a leadership development program that recruits diverse young adults with a passion for community service and places them into intensive non-profit capacity building apprenticeships. Public Allies combines leadership development training and non-profit best practices to give their members a well rounded non-profit and cultural experience.
Teach for America. $249,075 (615 AmeriCorps Members)
Teach for America members commit two years to serve as full time teachers in urban and rural public schools and become lifelong leaders in the effort to expand opportunity for children. Members are placed in pre-K through high school teaching positions throughout Chicago.
University of Illinois-Chicago, Project MORE : Making Opportunities for Reading Enrichment.
$151,474 (21 AmeriCorps Members). Serving: Chicago
Project MORE provides support for early childhood and family literacy programs throughout the Chicago area. MORE provides tutoring for parents in GED, English as a Second Language classes, computer instruction, financial literacy workshops, early childhood resources, parent-child literacy activities, and facilitates financial literacy and other parent training workshops.
AmeriCorps provides opportunities for all adults to serve through partnerships with local and national nonprofit groups. Since 1994, more than 33,000 Illinoisans have taken the AmeriCorps pledge to “get things done for America.” Members have given back more than 45 million hours to their communities, which equates to a nearly $1.1 billion impact. AmeriCorps members are eligible for a modest education award to pay a portion of their student loans or college courses they plan to take. For more information, visit AmeriCorps.gov.
The Serve Illinois Commission is a 40 member, bipartisan board appointed by the Governor. Its mission is to improve Illinois communities by enhancing volunteerism and instilling an ethic of service. The Commission is accomplishing this mission through the support of local community-based efforts to enhance volunteer opportunities and the administration of Illinois' AmeriCorps program. For more information on Serve Illinois, or to find one of over 40,000 volunteer opportunities in the state, please visit Serve.Illinois.gov.