Volunteer Florida Announces AmeriCorps Grants to Tutoring Programs

CONTACT: Jayme O’Rourke, 850-414-2974

Tallahassee – Chester Spellman, CEO of Volunteer Florida, announced today that 3 organizations in Florida have received competitive AmeriCorps grants from the Corporation for National and Community Service.

City Year MiamiCity Year Orlando and the Polk Education Foundation have received grants to support 157 AmeriCorps members who will provide intensive tutoring and mentoring to help students learn to read and stay on track to graduate. In 2011, 80% of students who were tutored by one of Volunteer Florida’s AmeriCorps members achieved a full year of reading grade gain.

These programs were selected in a highly competitive national process, and will receive $1.87 million in federal funding to support the programs. Later this summer, Volunteer Florida will announce additional AmeriCorps programs receiving formula funding.

“National service is an essential part of the solution to many of the social challenges facing our communities,” said CEO Spellman.  “These AmeriCorps members will meet pressing local needs and strengthen Florida’s schools as they develop civic and leadership skills that can last a lifetime.”

The current year’s AmeriCorps grant cycle was highly competitive, due to the strong and growing demand by organizations seeking AmeriCorps resources.  Demand is also strong from individuals wanting to serve.  CNCS received a record-breaking 582,000 AmeriCorps applications in 2011, a dramatic increase from the 360,000 seen in 2009.

“AmeriCorps members are improving the lives of millions of citizens and having a positive and lasting impact on the toughest challenges facing our communities,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “I congratulate these organizations for their strong applications in a highly competitive year. Thanks to the dedicated service of AmeriCorps members, these organizations will increase their reach and impact on meeting local needs.”

The grants advance the priorities of the bipartisan 2009 Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act and focus AmeriCorps resources on six key service areas: disaster services, economic opportunity, education, environmental stewardship, healthy futures, and veterans and military families.

On a national level, AmeriCorps engages 80,000 Americans of all ages and backgrounds in service to meet critical needs. Members serve through more than 14,000 organizations in rural and urban communities throughout the nation. Among other accomplishments, AmeriCorps members last year mobilized 3.4 million community volunteers, and tutored, mentored or served more than 3.5 million disadvantaged youth.

Since 1994, more than 775,000 Americans have provided more than 1 billion hours of service to their communities and country through AmeriCorps.

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The Governor’s Commission on Community Service, Volunteer Florida, was established in 1994 by the Florida Legislature to administer grants under the National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993. The Commission grants funds to Florida AmeriCorps and National Service programs; coordinates volunteers in a disaster; and inspires everyone from youths to seniors to people with disabilities to serve their communities. For more information, visit:www.volunteerflorida.org.

AmeriCorps is a national service program administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that engages more than 5 million Americans in service each year and administers President Obama’s national service initiative United We Serve.  Interested individuals can learn about available opportunities and apply online by visiting AmeriCorps.gov.