Over the weekend a story broke about the Corporation for National and Community Service (the federal agency that administers the AmeriCorps program) being targeted in the federal budget for elimination. Huron Pines AmeriCorps is part of this national program that places over 80,000 people in communities across the nation. For Huron Pines, that was very disappointing news because we have seen the impact AmeriCorps has in communities like Gaylord, Alpena and Traverse City over these past ten years of managing the program. This year we expect to reach 5,000 local students and to improve both 500 acres of public land and 200 miles of river.
For the nearly 200 college graduates who have participated in our program and provided full-time community service to help conservation efforts for a year at a time, they leave with the skills, experience, education and professional networks to put themselves on the pathway to full time employment in natural resources. Many of the communities in which Huron Pines AmeriCorps members have served have been in some of the most poor, rural areas of Michigan, where having an investment of federal dollars has not only helped the local community, but has leveraged private investment into those communities. Many foundations and corporations have contributed to Huron Pines AmeriCorps to match the federal investment dollar for dollar.
The federal budget is intended to be finalized by mid-March. It remains to be seen whether funding for AmeriCorps, through the Corporation for National and Community Service, will be in the final version of the budget. What we do know is that the future of the program is really in the hands of the people who benefit from it – like you. By promoting the program with us, you help ensure it has the strong support it needs. Between now and then, we are reaching out to many people to share stories of how important this program has been and how it fits under the umbrella of AmeriCorps, administered through the Corporation for National and Community Service. We would like to see the program fully funded and are reaching out to community leaders, elected officials and others to help make sure we don’t lose one of the best return on investment programs that federal government has ever sponsored.
If you’d like to learn more about our Huron Pines AmeriCorps Program, volunteer with our AmeriCorps members on a particular project, attend a presentation about the program, send a letter of support to Congress or even make a contribution to it, we’d appreciate your involvement as well.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the AmeriCorps Program, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.