$1.5 Million in AmeriCorps Funding
Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa has received a $1,536,000 grant from AmeriCorps, the federal agency for national service and community volunteerism.
The grant will support 96 AmeriCorps members, ages 18-25, across Minnesota and Iowa who will grow as environmental stewards and leaders while giving back to the community through meaningful service. Through their service with Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa, AmeriCorps members have recently supported mass COVID-19 vaccination efforts during a deployment to Missouri, restored trails and native habitat at He Mni Can – Barn Bluff in Redwing, and diversified forests in northern Minnesota to prevent damage from invasive species like emerald ash borer.
Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa engages youth and young adults in meaningful service, leadership development, and environmental stewardship, and envisions a world where everyone has equitable access to nature, is equipped to succeed in career and life, and is empowered to make a difference in conserving natural resources.
Despite changes to work and safety protocols over the past year due to COVID-19, Conservation Corps has continued to prepare the next generation of leaders who are committed to environmental stewardship and engaged in the world around them through community and national service. Conservation Corps AmeriCorps members responded to community needs during the COVID-19 pandemic, collecting and distributing over 180,000 pounds of food in partnership with food banks in Iowa, serving over 480 hours with Second Harvest Heartland in Minnesota, and volunteering with a farm in southern Minnesota to provide supplemental food for local food shelves. At the beginning of this year, 20 members deployed to Missouri to support several mass vaccination events.
In addition to responding to and adapting to community needs during COVID-19, Conservation Corps AmeriCorps members have continued to protect and conserve our natural resources and enable the public to have safe access to enjoy wild spaces. In 2020, Conservation Corps members removed nearly 17,000 acres of invasive species, planted over 35,000 trees/shrubs/forbs, and restored nearly 1,000 acres through prescribed burns.
“On behalf of Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa and the thousands of stakeholders we have served over the last 18 years, we are very grateful to AmeriCorps to award us with this significant boost in funding at this time,” said Mark Murphy, executive director. “Like so many Corps around the country, we have been adaptive and resilient during the pandemic to meet the changing needs of the partners and communities we serve.”
“This funding will enable Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa to increase the number of service-learning opportunities we provide to even more urban and rural young people who have a passion for service and environmental stewardship and who seek a high-quality program and equitable training experience.”
AmeriCorps will provide an additional $604,800 in Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards for the AmeriCorps members funded by these grants. After completing a full term of service, AmeriCorps members receive an award of approximately $6,300 that they can use to pay for college or to pay off student loans.
For the past year, thousands of AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps Seniors members across all 50 states and U.S. territories have continued their service, quickly adapting to meet the changing needs caused by the pandemic. Dedicated members have persisted to support communities as they respond and recover from the impact of COVID-19, developing new ways to deliver the same services to keep both themselves and those they serve safe.
The recently passed American Rescue Plan includes an additional $1 billion for AmeriCorps. The agency will use this investment to expand national service programs into new communities and increase the opportunity for all Americans to serve their country.
Every year, 75,000 AmeriCorps members serve through thousands of nonprofit, community and faith-based organizations across the country. These citizens have played a critical role in the recovery of communities affected by disasters and helped thousands of first-generation college students access higher education. They also tutor and mentor young people, connect veterans to jobs, care for seniors, reduce crime and revive cities, fight the opioid epidemic, and meet other critical needs.
As the federal agency for volunteering and service, AmeriCorps brings people together to tackle the county’s most pressing challenges. Since the agency’s inception in 1994, nearly 1.2 million AmeriCorps members have served the nation.