NEW YORK, May 13, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Obama Administration has awarded the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) nearly $1.5 million to hire and train new AmeriCorps members who will help disadvantaged communities become safer, healthier and more vibrant places to live.
LISC has been a sponsor of the widely heralded AmeriCorps program for nearly 20 years. LISC is unique among AmeriCorps sponsors because its members typically work in the same communities where they live.
"When we place LISC AmeriCorps members with local nonprofits, they already understand the dynamics in play because they've lived them," said Stacey Rapp, LISC AmeriCorps program director. "For us, AmeriCorps is about giving low-income residents the skills to build a career in community development, just as it is about lifting the prospects of the struggling neighborhoods where they live," she said.
This latest AmeriCorps grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS)—the federal agency that manages national service programs–will help support 160 AmeriCorps members in 15 areas where LISC works around the country. It will also fund LISC's national efforts to expand Financial Opportunity Centers, which help low-income families stabilize their finances. And it will support strategic planning for distressed neighborhoods so they can take the initial steps toward recovery.
"AmeriCorps members are improving the lives of millions of citizens and having a positive and lasting impact on the toughest challenges facing our communities," said Wendy Spencer, CEO of CNCS. "While they serve others, AmeriCorps members also expand opportunity for themselves - gaining skills and experience to jumpstart their careers. As we mark the 20th anniversary of AmeriCorps, we congratulate LISC for their strong application, and thank all AmeriCorps members for their dedication to service."
LISC will match the federal AmeriCorps grant with an additional $2.3 million in private capital to fund members' work.
"We're thrilled that CNCS has again recognized the value that LISC AmeriCorps members offer to low-income communities," said Michael Rubinger, LISC president and CEO. Rubinger applauded the Obama Administration for its ongoing commitment to national service. "AmeriCorps has lasting benefits for people and places all across the country. We are so proud to be a part of it."
Beginning on October 1, a new crop of LISC AmeriCorps members will serve with neighborhood nonprofits in Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, Detroit, Duluth, Los Angeles, Michigan (statewide), Milwaukee, New York City, Newark, Peoria, Philadelphia, Rhode Island (statewide), San Diego, and Toledo. LISC AmeriCorps members are involved with everything from community safety and education to housing, health and employment programs.
Through LISC's Michigan Statewide program, for instance, 12 AmeriCorps members will work with community-based organizations in parts of Kalamazoo and Flint on such things as financial independence for low-income families, which boosts surrounding home values and reduces crime.
"For most nonprofits—even the most successful ones—adding staff to expand their programs is just not an option," said Chuck Vliek, LISC Michigan Statewide executive director. "LISC AmeriCorps fills that gap so they can reach more people. It really helps give residents who've long struggled on the economic margins a chance to thrive."
Rapp cited the troubling impact of federal budget constraints that have squeezed AmeriCorps funding in recent years and made it more difficult to support community-based recovery efforts. "It's hard to quantify in dollars and cents what AmeriCorps members mean to the families and seniors they work with every day," she said. "During their service, they become financial counselors, education coaches, community safety experts, real estate developers, and volunteer managers. They come armed with passion and positive energy, and they put it to work resolving difficult local challenges. This program is critical."
LISC combines corporate, government and philanthropic resources to help nonprofit community development corporations revitalize distressed neighborhoods. Since 1980, LISC has invested $13.8 billion to build or rehab 310,000 affordable homes and apartments and develop 51 million square feet of retail, community and educational space. For more, visit www.lisc.org.
About Corporation for National and Community Service: The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is a federal agency that engages millions of Americans in service through its Senior Corps and AmeriCorps programs. For more information, visit www.NationalService.gov.
For More Information:
Stacey Rapp, LISC/AmeriCorps
212-455-9308 or firstname.lastname@example.org