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Commission Votes To Open Funding To New Americorps Programs

September 21st, 2006

AUGUSTA – Public and private nonprofit or educational organizations may seek funding for new AmeriCorps programs that combine expansion of volunteers with activities focused on energy conservation, career preparation, or school-to-work transitions. The grant competition was authorized by members of the Maine Commission for Community Service (MCCS) at their September 15 meeting. The state competition will take place late 2006 for programs that will start late Summer 2007.

AmeriCorps is a national service program that, in part, operates through grants ranging from $150,000 to $500,000 from MCCS to local organizations. Most AmeriCorps programs place 10 to 50 members with local partner organizations who share the program’s vision for change and have committed to helping meet the community need. The AmeriCorps members’ work in the partner sites expands each organization’s capacity to meet citizen needs and builds community involvement and support. Strong AmeriCorps program designs entail implementation of all the essential practices in volunteer management from “day one” of operations.

One of the most important roles AmeriCorps can play for an organization is the generation of volunteers. On average, each AmeriCorps member recruits and manages twelve community volunteers.

Other ways members help nonprofit, charitable, and faith-based and community organizations include improving and expanding the quality of services provided in a community.

Organizations that are awarded AmeriCorps grants are responsible for recruiting the AmeriCorps members to serve in their program. Awards partially cover the expense of operating an AmeriCorps program (60%) and do not cover general organizational expenses. A cash and in-kind match is required.

AmeriCorps members serve full and less than full-time terms for up to one year in their communities. The duration and intensity of their effort is determined by the work that needs to be accomplished in order to meet the critical local need. Some projects have a few people who serve 10-12 months and add many part-time AmeriCorps members for a “high activity” period. Examples would be weather-dependent service such as retroffiting or weatherizing homes for energy conservation or the hours after school when mentoring or tutoring programs might operate.

As AmeriCorps members give a year or two of service to their country, they qualify for college financial support ($4,725 plus payment of educational loan interest accrued during service).

MCCS will host three information sessions for organizations interested in developing grant proposals. An in-person session will take place October 3 at 4pm at the Ramada Inn, Odlin Road, Bangor. The same sessions will be repeated by teleconference and webinar on October 5 and October 6 at 9 a.m. Registration is required.

To sign up, visit the grants section of Maine ServiceCommission.gov or call 207.287.8931 by October 2, 2006.