May 26, 2011

Reed, Whitehouse & Chafee Announce $1.2 Million in AmeriCorps Grants for RI

PROVIDENCE, RI – U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Governor Lincoln Chafee today joined with John Gomperts, Director for AmeriCorps, as well as Bernie Beaudreau, Executive Director of Serve Rhode Island in announcing over $1.2 million in new federal AmeriCorps funding that will help local non-profits improve lives and strengthen communities throughout the state.
The AmeriCorps grants, which are funded through the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, will help support more than 100 AmeriCorps members across Rhode Island as they provide services to youth and families in need and help disadvantaged students from pre-school through high school.  
Last month, Reed, Whitehouse, and their Senate colleagues successfully defeated House Republicans attempts to defund AmeriCorps, which would have eliminated positions for the 85,000 individuals who serve each year through AmeriCorps, including more than 500 in Rhode Island.  Instead, Congress provided AmeriCorps State and National Grants with $350 million, a reduction of $22.5 million over 2010 levels.  This federal investment is leveraged by over $486 million in private and non-federal match money AmeriCorps raises each year.
“AmeriCorps is a great federal investment that gets proven results and is making a real difference in communities throughout Rhode Island.  I am pleased we were able to save this program.  These grants will help more young people succeed in school and create opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise have,” said Reed.
“My days as founding Chairman of City Year in Rhode Island taught me the value of providing young people with opportunities to serve their community, benefitting both the young person and the community.  AmeriCorps is an invaluable way to make this happen in Rhode Island, and I look forward to the continued benefit we will see because of it,” said Whitehouse.
“Rhode Island thanks the Corporation for National and Community Service for recognizing some of our finest AmeriCorps programs, all of which help build and strengthen our state, starting with our youngest members,” said Chafee. “Environmental education, child readiness for school, greater access to college for our urban high school students and gang violence prevention and non-violence education are all very important to our state’s health and well-being, and vital for our future.”
“I congratulate these outstanding organizations for rising to the top in a highly competitive grant competition, and thank all those who have answered the call to service by joining AmeriCorps,” said John Gomperts, Director of AmeriCorps.  “At a time of great social need, AmeriCorps is a critical, cost-effective investment that taps the power of citizens to solve problems.”
“We are thrilled and are very thankful to the Corporation for National and Community Service for awarding these grants.  These five programs will add 105 new AmeriCorps volunteers to our ranks providing critically important services to aid in the education of young children, expand the environmental awareness of thousands of youth, help urban high school students apply for college and reduce gang violence in our toughest urban areas.  I believe the work of our sub-grantees can be a model for the rest of the country,” said Bernie Beaudreau, executive director of Serve Rhode Island.
This year, facing very stiff competition, as well as less funding, Rhode Island won 5 AmeriCorps grants in the national competition.  In fact, Rhode Island was one of only six states nationwide to win an increase in funding.
Organizations receiving the grants include:
The Providence Plan will receive $465,500 to support 35 AmeriCorps member positions.  AmeriCorps members working with the Providence Plan will provide literacy and school-readiness services for underserved preschoolers, and conduct developmental health screenings, in Providence, Pawtucket and Central Falls.
The Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence has been awarded $212,800 for 16 AmeriCorps member positions.  These AmeriCorps members will provide services in nonviolence intervention, training and recovery methods for youth and families in high-crime schools and communities in Providence.
Providence Children’s Museum will receive $170,910 for 16 AmeriCorps member positions.  The museum’s AmeriCorps members will provide school readiness activities for children enrolled in Head Start and science and math enrichment for elementary age children.  Their work will improve academic success for low-income children in Providence, Pawtucket and Central Falls.
Save The Bay, Inc. will receive $212,800 to support 16 AmeriCorps member positions.  These AmeriCorps members will provide environmental education programming in schools, after-school programs, and summer camps.  They will also recruit and support community volunteers at four nonprofit organizations. This will improve school attendance, science proficiency and environmental literacy for K-12 students in Central Falls, Newport, Pawtucket, Providence, West Warwick, and Woonsocket.

Brown University has been awarded $187,727 to support 22 AmeriCorps member positions.  AmeriCorps members serving with Brown University will provide college counseling to urban, low-income and first-generation students in Rhode Island to help them prepare for, enter and complete post-secondary education.


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