AUGUSTA -- Volunteer Maine, the state service commission, announced today that Maine has received $1,683,846 in AmeriCorps funding from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency for volunteering and service programs.
In total, the federal funding underwrites nine AmeriCorps grant awards to Maine nonprofits, which will support approximately 212 AmeriCorps members. AmeriCorps members will tackle some of the toughest problems in Maine, such as helping to respond to COVID-19, being an ally to those in recovery, protecting the environment, supporting elementary students, mentoring and improving community resiliency, among others.
- Volunteer Maine Commissioners approve funding for first Maine AmeriCorps planning grants in a decade. Organizations (Penquis Community Action Program, the Town of Van Buren and the University of Maine Center on Aging) will not take on members but instead use the funds to prepare to apply for an AmeriCorps grant next year. See below for specifics on each organization.
- Commissioners also approve funding for new Maine AmeriCorps grants to three organizations: Alfond Youth & Community Center, Greater Portland Council of Governments and Maine Development Foundation. See below for specifics on each program.
- Three organizations (Healthy Acadia, LearningWorks and Maine Conservation Corps) receive funds to continue operating AmeriCorps programs.
- Students looking for an alternative to college or those looking for employment: Organizations are recruiting new members now at serviceyear.org/serveinmaine.
The AmeriCorps awards announced today will leverage $1,128,571 in local and in-kind funding. Between all grants announced today, CNCS will also provide approximately $1.3 million^ in education scholarships for the AmeriCorps members funded by these grants to help pay for college, vocational training or pay back student loans.
Planning grants give community organizations resources needed to prepare to host an AmeriCorps program
The grant recipients will lead community partners in a 10-month program design process. The goal is to submit a successful AmeriCorps program proposal in the 2020-21 competition for operating awards. These programs will not host AmeriCorps service members during the life of the planning grant.
2020 Maine AmeriCorps planning grant recipients
- AmeriCorps Community Enhancement Services (GRANTEE: Town of Van Buren; FUNDING: $41,145) - The Town of Van Buren is a partner in the Van Buren Resiliency Project (VBRP). The group seeks to design an AmeriCorps program that address community needs in Van Buren, Caswell, Limestone, Hamlin and Cyr Plantation.
- Community Navigators AmeriCorps Program (GRANTEE: Penquis Community Action Program; COUNTY OF FOCUS: Knox; FUNDING: $50,000) - The planning process aims to develop an AmeriCorps program whose members would be Community Resource Navigators, helping low-income residents create financial and personal plans to manage the challenges related to poverty. The AmeriCorps members would also recruit and train volunteers.
- Lifelong Communities AmeriCorps Planning Grant (GRANTEE: University of Maine Center on Aging; FUNDING: $49,971) - The University of Maine Center on Aging seeks to host five AmeriCorps members who will support COVID-19 long-term recovery response by completing direct service and capacity building work in select rural Maine communities.
Three new Maine AmeriCorps grants funded to strengthen communities, respond to COVID-19
Two-of-the-three programs applied for funds through the Maine Rural State AmeriCorps Grant Initiative. This grant design exclusive to Maine allows organizations to scale their programs down to a size appropriate for the community and host two to five members instead.
New Maine AmeriCorps grantees for 2020 (Asterisk indicates Rural program)
- *Main Street Fellows AmeriCorps Program (Maine Development Foundation), Hallowell, $77,395/5 members: Five AmeriCorps members support 12 low-income communities recover from the pandemic’s impact and develop the capacity to be resilient in the face of future challenges. In addition, the AmeriCorps members will recruit community volunteers who will be engaged in local research, planning, education and technology projects.
- AmeriCorps Resilience Corps (Greater Portland Council of Governments), Portland, $216,698/14 members: Members will support municipal and regional projects in Greater Portland and the Lakes Region with a goal to develop community resiliency as a strategy for coping with short-term disasters and long-term strain, such as population shifts and economic downturn. The three project focus areas are 1) broadband, digital services and technology, 2) transit access and 3) sustainability, health and equity planning.
- *AYCC AmeriCorps Mentoring Program (Alfond Youth & Community Center), Waterville, $30,759, 2 members: Members will extend the capacity and help manage a new community mentoring program for youth at risk in the Greater Waterville community.
Three Maine AmeriCorps programs receive funding to continue operations
Earlier this year, Volunteer Maine recommended three applications to the federal AmeriCorps competition for funding consideration by CNCS. All three organizations were successful in this two-tiered grant competition. State commissions, tribes and multi-state programs participate in the competitive grant cycle.
- LearningWorks Aim High AmeriCorps (LearningWorks), Portland: $283,005, 52 members
- Maine Dept. of Agriculture/Maine Conservation Corps, Augusta: $660,224, 109 members
- Maine RecoveryCorps Program (Healthy Acadia), Ellsworth: $274,649, 30 members
More information on current Maine AmeriCorps programs can be found on the National Service portion of the Volunteer Maine website -- click here to access the site.
Additional info: AmeriCorps service and benefits
Organizations are currently recruiting for AmeriCorps members. AmeriCorps members typically receive a modest living stipend and a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award, or scholarship, upon completion of their service. The award can be used to pay for future education costs or to pay back student loans. Those interested in serving can learn more by visiting serviceyear.org/serveinmaine.
Since the program’s inception in 1994, more than 1 million men and women have served in AmeriCorps, providing more than 1.4 billion hours of service and have earned more than $3.3 billion in education scholarships to pay for college or pay back student loans, more than $1 billion of which has been used to pay back student loans debt. (All figures in the previous paragraph provided by CNCS.)
^Figure calculated using CNCS's projected education award value from last year.
About Volunteer Maine
Volunteer Maine, the state service commission, 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
Office: (207) 624-7836
Cell: (207) 446-3471
About AmeriCorps and CNCS
AmeriCorps is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency for volunteering, service and civic engagement. The agency engages millions of Americans in citizen service through its AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs and leads the nation's volunteering and service efforts. For more information, please click here to visit the CNCS website.
View additional media coverage:
"Volunteer Maine awards more than $1.6M in AmeriCorps funding to organizations across the state" -- Bangor Daily News -- view here
"Van Buren Resiliency Project wants to use new grant to help community" -- Fiddlehead Focus -- view here
"Penquis, of Knox County, receives $50,000 from Volunteer Maine" -- The Courier-Gazette -- view here