AmeriCorps CEO Michael D. Smith Visits California Volunteers
AmeriCorps leaders engaged with the largest state volunteer base working to advance education, public health and climate initiatives
WASHINGTON, DC—AmeriCorps CEO Michael D. Smith and AmeriCorps leadership visited California last week, engaging with California Volunteers, the state office tasked with engaging Californians in service, volunteer, and civic action to tackle the state’s most pressing challenges. California Volunteers, the Governor-appointed state service commission, administers federal AmeriCorps funding, supporting nearly 7,000 state service opportunities across California.
During his visit, CEO Smith met with AmeriCorps members serving with the California College Corps.
"We are proud of our partnership with AmeriCorps. These experiences empower the next generation of California leaders,” said California Chief Service Officer Josh Fryday. “#CaliforniansForAll College Corps is connecting people from diverse backgrounds, perspectives and regions. This partnership embodies our unwavering commitment to making service an integral part of California's identity, fostering positive impacts that reverberate throughout our communities.”
CEO Smith also hosted a roundtable with Congresswoman Sydney Kamlager-Dove (CA-37), co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth, currently serving AmeriCorps members and alumni of the California iFoster Transition-Age Youth AmeriCorps program. AmeriCorps State and National Director Sonali Nijhawan also visited the California Climate Action Corps, a state-level, climate service corps dedicated to addressing climate change.
"I leave California feeling inspired by the transformative service of our AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers across the state,” said Michael D. Smith, CEO, AmeriCorps. “For the last three decades, every single time America called, AmeriCorps answered, and we have seen how important it is to answer that call in innovative ways. From building brighter futures for foster youth to improving pathways to higher education for underserved youth, California is leading with innovation and impact.
In 2023, AmeriCorps invested more than $112 million in federal funding to support programs at more than 2,500 locations across California. More than 18,900 Californians of all ages and backgrounds served with AmeriCorps in 2023, mentoring youth, distributing meals to food-insecure families, addressing homelessness, strengthening the public health workforce, helping veterans transitioning from military to civilian life and so much more.
California College Corps
California College Corps comprises a first-of-its-kind initiative, launched in partnership with California colleges and universities. It helps low-income students graduate on time and with less debt.
As part of the program, College Corps Fellows are placed in community-based organizations working in K-12 education, climate action, and food security. For the first time, California recently included AB 540 CA Dream Act Students in a state service program.
California College Corps strives to create a generation of civic-minded leaders with the ability to bridge divides and solve problems.
iFoster’s mission is to ensure that every child growing up outside of their biological home has the resources and opportunities they need to become successful, independent adults. It provides a free platform of resources for foster care youth, caregivers and organizations.
"Reforming our foster care system isn't just a duty; it's a collective commitment to nurturing our children and seeing the potential within every child. I thank iFoster for their dedication to our foster youth. The resources and opportunities they provide help meet the needs of those in foster care," said Congresswoman Sydney Kamlager-Dove. "The true measure of a society lies in how we safeguard the most vulnerable, and investing in systems that provide care for our kids means creating change for a brighter future. As the proud co-chair of the Congressional Foster Youth Caucus in Congress, I look forward to partnering with iFoster and AmeriCorps again in the future to elevate the work they do."
iFoster’s award-winning Transition-Age Youth AmeriCorps peer navigators help current and former foster and probation youth achieve self-sufficiency and their education, employment and well-being goals. Each year, iFoster hires, trains and deploys more than 200 current and former foster and probation youth to serve 10-month paid internships embedded in local colleges, child welfare agencies and Transition-Age Youth-serving nonprofit organizations to help their peers succeed.
California Climate Action Corps
As part of a larger statewide initiative to address the climate crisis, the California Climate Action Corps Fellowship places emerging leaders with local organizations to mobilize communities through climate volunteer engagement, climate action and education service projects focused on urban greening, organic waste and edible food recovery and wildfire resiliency.