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OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Community Service Commission, joined by Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency that administers AmeriCorps, today announced new AmeriCorps and Senior Corps funding of more than $9.6 million to support AmeriCorps members and Senior Corps volunteers serving in nonprofits across Oklahoma.
CNCS will invest $6.5 million to support 830 AmeriCorps members serving with 11 nonprofits across the state. The AmeriCorps funding consists of $3.1 million in grants and an additional $3.4 million in education scholarships for AmeriCorps members. The federal investment is projected to generate an additional $3.7 million in local support to increase community impact and return on federal investment, bringing the total funding to $10.3 million to support AmeriCorps programs.
The 11 grants to Oklahoma nonprofits will be administered through the Oklahoma Community Service Commission, the Governor-appointed state service commission.
"We are excited to make this announcement with the Oklahoma Community Service Commission, our partner on the ground, who shares our belief that national service is a powerful and proven solution to community needs across the nation and here in Oklahoma,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “Today’s announcement will support Oklahoma schools and nonprofits and engage citizens and bring communities together. We congratulate the organizations receiving awards and thank all AmeriCorps members for their dedication to service.”
“AmeriCorps is an indispensable resource to help meet critical needs facing our communities and nation,” said Melinda Points, executive director of the Oklahoma Community Service Commission. "We are thrilled to receive this grant and excited to continue to collaborate with public schools and local nonprofits that recognize the lasting impact AmeriCorps members make throughout the community.”
Spencer also announced that the Regional Food Bank would receive 48 full-time AmeriCorps VISTA members serving across Oklahoma, including Oklahoma City. AmeriCorps VISTA members will help fight hunger in Oklahoma through various programs, including: Food and Resource Center Capacity Building Fresh Rx, Veteran’s Hunger Initiative, Marketing Research and Promotion, SNAP Program Outreach, Food and Nutrition Services Volunteer Engagement.
The agency will invest more than $1.7 million in funding over three years. In addition, AmeriCorps VISTA members who complete their service are eligible to earn a total of $825,000 in education scholarships to pay for higher education or pay back student loans. This commitment will be a total investment of $2.5 million to support 144 full-time AmeriCorps VISTA members over the next three years.
“The Americorps VISTA members have been an integral part of the Regional Food Bank from the very beginning and helped set the foundation for our future success,” said Rodney W. Bivens, executive director and founder of the Regional Food Bank. “We are excited about our new AmeriCorps VISTA members and look forward to working together in the fight against hunger in Oklahoma.”
The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma and CNCS also announced that the food bank has become an Employer of National Service, committing to employ AmeriCorps and Peace Corps alumni. The organization joins the ranks of more than 240 other employers, like Arizona State University, Sodexo, Disney, and the state of Montana and Virginia.
“By taking this step, the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma is making a smart move to attract talented, dedicated, and experienced leaders to work in addressing one of the communities most pressing issues - hunger,” Wendy Spencer, CEO of CNCS, the federal agency that administers AmeriCorps, said. “I am thrilled to see the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma recognize that AmeriCorps and Peace Corps alumni bring valuable skills and I commend their leadership in this effort.”
Employers of National Service was launched in September 2014 by President Obama in celebration of the 20th anniversary of AmeriCorps. The initiative builds a talent pipeline, which connects AmeriCorps and Peace Corps alumni with leading employers from the private, public, and nonprofit sectors to create recruitment, hiring, and advancement opportunities.
The Delta Community Action Foundation, Inc. was awarded more than $619,000 over three years to develop the Delta Senior Companion Program in today’s announcement. Senior Companions will serve in Southern Oklahoma to provide independent living support services to homebound clients and provide respite services for family caregivers. Senior Companions will help clients with chores such a light housekeeping, buying groceries, and finding transportation to medical appointments.
CNCS’s investment will leverage an additional $67,500 in local resources from the private sector, foundations, and other sources to increase community impact and return on the federal investment. The total investment of more than $685,000 will support up to 40 Senior Companions serving annually for three years.
Below is a listing of 2015 AmeriCorps grants in Oklahoma:
AmeriCorps engages 75,000 members in intensive service annually to serve through nonprofit, faith-based, and community organizations at 25,000 locations across the country. These members help communities tackle pressing problems while mobilizing millions of volunteers for the organizations they serve. Since 1994, more than 11,000 Oklahoma residents have provided more than 12 million hours of service addressing critical challenges and earning more than $24.4 million in education awards for their service.
AmeriCorps is administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, the Social Innovation Fund, and the Volunteer Generation Fund, and leads the President's national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit www.NationalService.gov.
The Oklahoma Community Service Commission currently administers 11 AmeriCorps programs varying from intensive tutoring, mentoring, and teaching in Title One schools and community-based organizations to poverty alleviation through economic opportunity and food security programs. For the 2015-16 program year, 830 AmeriCorps Members are serving throughout Oklahoma in 39 school districts and over 45 non-profit and community organizations state-wide, for a budget total of $3,163,461.00. Another $1 million is being leveraged locally each year in additional matching cash and in-kind support. The Commission is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit corporation established in 1994 and housed in Oklahoma City with a staff of 2.5.
The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma is the state’s largest private domestic hunger relief organization. The nonprofit provides enough food to feed more than 110,000 hungry Oklahomans each week through a network of nearly 1,200 schools and charitable feeding programs in 53 central and western Oklahoma counties. Since its inception in 1980, the Regional Food Bank has distributed more than 550 million pounds of food to feed Oklahoma’s hungry. For more information, visit http://www.regionalfoodbank.org; find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/regionalfoodbank or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/rfbo.