ILLINOIS (KFVS) - Corporation for National and Community Service federal grants totaling $17.5 million will go out to 1,671 AmeriCorps Members in 39 programs to serve Illinois communities.
The Serve Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service (Serve Illinois) made the announcement on Tuesday, August 8.
This is an increase of $1.9 million over 2016, allowing AmeriCorps Members to serve in 20 additional counties. This includes $6.4 million in education awards that AmeriCorps Members can use to pay for college after their term of service. These funds will be matched by AmeriCorps programs with an additional $15.9 million in local funding.
Members dedicate up to one year to help communities meet unmet economic, education, health, public safety, disaster preparedness, veteran services, and environmental needs. They may receive a living allowance, student loan deferment, health insurance, childcare, and professional development. Those who complete their service successfully an educational award of up to $5,815 to help pay for college, graduate school, vocational training, or to pay off student loans.
"This is the largest AmeriCorps award that Illinois has seen in the 24 year history of the program," said Serve Illinois Executive Director Scott McFarland. "Last year, AmeriCorps Illinois served nearly 300,000 Illinoisans, including more than 180,000 disadvantaged youth; nearly 40,000 veterans, active military, and military family members; and more than 13,000 people impacted by disasters."
The grants will be used for things like tutoring and mentoring at-risk youth, preparing communities to respond effectively to emergencies, feeding those in need, providing legal support services, assisting incarcerated individuals re-enter into their communities, promoting environmental stewardship, supporting veterans, and improving youth and adult literacy. Serve Illinois, a part of the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), administers the AmeriCorps programs in Illinois.
"The growth of this program in Illinois is a testament to the hard work our AmeriCorps Members perform each day in their communities throughout Illinois," said Scott McFarland. "When you see the AmeriCorps "A", you know things are getting done."