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Thursday, July 26, 2012

NEWS: $1.39 million awarded to local organizations to address community need @ Utah Commission on Volunteers, Salt Lake City, Utah

Utah Commission on Volunteers Awards 5 AmeriCorps Grants Totaling $1.39 million to Local Organizations to Address Vital Community Needs

(Salt Lake City) The Utah Commission on Volunteers announced today that five organizations in Utah have been awarded $1.39 million in AmeriCorps grants to address some of the most pressing challenges facing Utah communities. 

These grants make a focused investment in four of the priority areas laid out in the bipartisan Serve America Act and three of the priority areas for the State of Utah: education, environmental stewardship, economic opportunity, and healthy futures. The grants help to carry out the vision of the Commission’s 2010-2013 Strategic State Plan, targeting resources on a core set of critical problems and focusing on greater impact through use of standardized performance measures to evaluate success.

 “AmeriCorps members are helping tackle our communities’ toughest issues and strengthening the impact of local organizations,” said LaDawn Stoddard, Program Manager at the Utah Commission on Volunteers.  “At a time of great human need with growing social and economic challenges, national service is a critical and cost effective approach that engages citizens in solving problems in their own communities.”

This year's AmeriCorps grant cycle was highly competitive due to the growing demand by organizations seeking AmeriCorps resources and the significant funding cuts at the national level. Nationally a record-breaking 582,000 AmeriCorps applications were received in 2011, a dramatic increase from the 360,000 seen in 2009.   The Utah Formula grant competition was also very competitive with over $4.4 million in funding requests and $1.39 million available.  In the end, only the most exceptional proposals were funded.

The grants will go to local nonprofit, community and educational organizations and will support 1,037 AmeriCorps members who will serve across the state. Below are the organizations receiving funds in the 2012 competition:

·         The Utah AmeriCorps Literacy Initiative - $750,000
·         Utah Campus Compact AmeriCorps Education Award Program - $150,000

·         The Utah Conservation Corps Program - $232,286

  Economic Opportunity
·         The AmeriCorps Alleviating Homelessness Program - $133,000

Healthy Futures
·         AmeriCorps and the Medically Underserved - $133,000

The grants announced today will implement Serve America Act program changes to increase AmeriCorps' impact, efficiency, and cost effectiveness. Among those are standardized national performance measures that will allow for aggregated impact reporting on how AmeriCorps is addressing community issues, increasing the focus on outcomes and performance. They will also continue emphasis on expanding capacity by recruiting and managing volunteers for their programs.

AmeriCorps is a national service program that engages Americans of all ages and backgrounds in intensive, results-driven service to meet critical community needs. AmeriCorps works through existing organizations and helps them reach more people and better achieve their mission. In 2010 Utah AmeriCorps members mobilized more than 31,000 volunteers who provided over 308,000 hours of service with an estimated economic value of $5.5 million.

In the past 17 years, nationally more than 700,000 men and women have served as AmeriCorps members, providing more than 860 million hours of service. AmeriCorps members have served with more than 14,000 nonprofit, faith-based, and community groups each year helping them expand their reach and better meet their mission.

For more information, contact LaDawn Stoddard at 801-715-6716

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