Letter to the Editor: Save National Service

Letter to the Editor: Save National Service

As an active community volunteer as well as a member of the Governor’s Advisory Board on Volunteerism and Service, I have collaborated with many organizations that match passionate volunteers with service projects designed to meet the needs of the community. One of these outstanding programs is AmeriCorps, a public service organization that employs over 80,000 members nationally in public service positions each year, including 5,600 in Virginia.

AmeriCorps members are active across our Commonwealth, working to meet education, health, economic, environmental and other needs in local communities. Since the program’s founding in 1994, AmeriCorps members have served an incredible 26 million hours in community service in Virginia. Those hours translate into dollars. AmeriCorps is partially funded by the federal government through the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). Through public-private partnerships, grants and sponsors, CNCS leveraged $1.2 billion nation-wide from outside resources in 2015.

Columbia University research estimates that every dollar invested in community service programs yields a $3.95 return to society. AmeriCorps has become an investment in our communities, improving the quality of life for Virginians through civic engagement. Unfortunately, federal funding for AmeriCorps is threatened.

The latest White House budget proposal could eliminate funding for CNCS and AmeriCorps. During a time when communities in Virginia are benefiting from the much-needed services provided by AmeriCorps, cutting these investments would be detrimental to our neighborhoods and quality of life.

Please contact your member of Congress and ask that funding for AmeriCorps and CNCS not be cut from the federal budget.

Jessica Bowser

Governor’s Advisory Board on Volunteerism and Service