We all know that American policymakers have difficult decisions ahead of them. As we struggle to achieve fiscal responsibility in the midst of financially trying times, it has become clear that we can no longer continue to expect the services and benefits that we have received in the past. One proposal that is currently being considered would zero out funding for the Corporation for National and Community Service, eliminating initiatives like AmeriCorps, RSVP, Foster Grandparents, Learn & Serve America and the Social Innovation Fund. With the very real knowledge that programs will need to be cut, why should service be spared? What makes service worth saving?
Service Meets the Needs of Americans. Our country continues to travel through economic uncertainty. A growing number of Americans, including the middle class, are in need of food, shelter, healthcare and educational support. As governments face significant budget shortfalls, they are relying more heavily on service organizations to fill the gap between the needs of citizens and the funds they are able to allocate to meet those needs.
Service Programs Help People and Help the Economy. Over 70,000 national and local non-profit organizations receive funding from the Corporation for National and Community Service, reaching millions of Americans in need. These programs:
- Are among the first to respond to a natural disaster and other crises
- Are addressing the education crisis in America through innovative programs to reach children at risk of dropping out of high school
- Support veterans with job assistance and through work in Veterans Administration hospitals
- Enable senior citizens to remain independent
- Provide essential services to under-served communities
National Service is a Smart Investment. National service provides avenues for people to make meaningful contributions to their communities, builds organizational capacity, generates community-based social capital, and leverages more than 1.4 million additional adult volunteers to tackle some of America’s toughest social, environmental, educational and economic challenges. Recipients of national service funds leverage over $800 million dollars annually, from private companies, foundations and other sources, representing nearly a one-to-one match. Every federal dollar invested in national service yields $2.01 worth of essential services.
Service isn’t just about doing something to feel good. Service organizations across the country are meeting the critical needs of millions of Americans; feeding healthy meals to seniors, providing quality after-school care to students, reaching out to more than 700,000 medically under-served children and adults, and serving thousands of veterans by providing meaningful work opportunities and support services.
We hope that you will join us in educating others on the importance of community service to our nation. Wednesday, August 10 is District Day; an opportunity to share your stories of service with members of congress in your area. Find out more information and discover other ways to get involved by visiting the Save Service website.