Increase to $20,000 a first step in Commission's ongoing effort to make AmeriCorps service in Maine a viable option for all
The Commissioners of Volunteer Maine, the Maine Commission for Community Service, voted to increase the minimum stipend for AmeriCorps members serving full-time in Maine to $20,000. The increase received unanimous support during the board's February business meeting.
The vote builds off of and strengthens the work of the AmeriCorps federal agency to increase to $16,502 the nationwide minimum stipend for any person serving 1,700 hours. The stipend, also called a living allowance, permits individuals to devote all their time to serving in programs that address response to COVID-19, energy conservation, climate impacts, education, youth development, and economic development. The added increase in Maine is made possible by American Rescue Plan Act funds awarded to the Commission. The new minimum living allowance will take effect July 1, the beginning of the 2022-23 AmeriCorps program year.
The increase of the living allowance in Maine is part of a larger, ongoing effort to reduce barriers to service. Commissioners also increased the funds per full-time member provided to grantee organizations to $26,000 per 1700 hours of service to support the new minimum living allowance and related member insurances. AmeriCorps is a cost-share program that provides federal funds for the added human resources (AmeriCorps members) while community agencies provide the staff and other elements needed to carry out service activities.
"The aim of the changes is to return AmeriCorps to its original goal of making service an option for any eligible person, regardless of economic means," stated Volunteer Maine Executive Director Maryalice Crofton. "Maine communities need the time, talent, and passion of residents from all walks of life as they tackle local needs through AmeriCorps service programs. And the AmeriCorps opportunities for skill development, career exploration and post-secondary education funds need to be available to anyone who is willing to devote a year to the efforts."
"The Commissioners' decision to increase AmeriCorps member stipends is a most welcome one," shared David Cote, Director of the Van Buren Resiliency Project, which sponsors the AmeriCorps Five to Ninety-Five program. "I have always found AmeriCorps members to be deeply committed to sharing their considerable talents by dedicating themselves to eradicating poverty and improving the lives of seniors, children, and families. Now, with this moderate boost, the opportunity to become involved in making a solid, positive difference in a community's quality of life will be open to a greater number of gifted people."
In addition to the increased living allowance, AmeriCorps members are also eligible to earn additional benefits while serving. They include student-loan forbearance, health coverage, and childcare (if needed). After successfully completing their term of service, members receive an AmeriCorps Education Award. This award can be used to pay off qualified student loans or to finance college, graduate school, or vocational training at eligible institutions.
Photo of Amanda, an AmeriCorps member serving the First4 AmeriCorps program. Photo by Dmitry Pepper.
AmeriCorps, a federal agency, brings people together to tackle the country's most pressing challenges, through national service and volunteering. AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers serve with organizations dedicated to the improvement of communities. AmeriCorps helps make service to others a cornerstone of our national culture. Learn more at AmeriCorps.gov.
About Volunteer Maine
Volunteer Maine, the Maine Commission for Community Service, builds capacity and sustainability in Maine's volunteer sector by funding service programs, developing volunteer managers and service-learning practitioners, raising awareness of the scope and the impact of the volunteer sector, and encouraging an ethic of service. On Oct. 16, 2019, the Maine Commission for Community Service adopted the public identity Volunteer Maine.
Bryan Roche, communications officer, Volunteer maine
Office: (207) 624-7836
Cell: (207) 446-3471
About AmeriCorps Five to Ninety-Five
The mission of the program is to build a trauma-informed community. The program strives to empower children and older adults to be their healthiest and happiest selves through positive relationships, support, and mentorships that benefit everyone involved. Members serve as Youth and Elder Development Specialists. They help facilitate a mentorship program between elders and middle school students in out-of-school time. They also assist in organizing a self governing elder program that easily connects participants to much needed resources.
Additional media coverage
"Volunteer Maine Commissioners vote unanimously to increase AmeriCorps service stipend" -- Bangor Daily News -- access story on Bangor Daily News website