Our Foundation

Our mission: To improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering

Our purpose: To bring out the best of America

How we work: Every day in communities across the country, AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers work directly with national, regional, or local nonprofit and community organizations to meet critical community needs

AmeriCorps Strategic Plan 2022-2026

Our Commitment to Diversity

AmeriCorps has a decades-long commitment to advance racial and economic equity through national service and volunteerism. These efforts are designed to expand pathways to opportunity for all Americans. Racial and economic equity will be central to our planning and implementation of all priorities, including that we ensure AmeriCorps members and volunteers reflect the diversity of the American people and the communities in which they serve.

Our Goals

Goal 1

Partner with communities to alleviate poverty and advance racial equity

Objective 1.1: Mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and other public health crises
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated racial and economic disparities in communities across the country. Significant challenges remain in the months and years to come, particularly in our hardest hit communities, many of which were in the greatest need prior to the pandemic.

Objective 1.2: Reduce greenhouse gas emissions, conserve lands and waters, and adapt to the changing climate
Climate change, including environmental, health, and economic impacts, disproportionally damages low income and Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities. Through broader investments in mitigating climate change through measures that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and conserve land and water, and through targeted interventions that aid and empower underserved communities (e.g., improving food systems, increasing disaster preparedness and resilience, and retrofitting homes to be more energy efficient and less disaster prone), AmeriCorps can work towards environmental justice and ensure the most vulnerable are able to adapt to climate change. “When we invest in climate resilience and infrastructure, we create opportunities for everyone.” President Joe Biden

Objective 1.3: Expand educational and economic opportunity
Supporting educational and economic opportunity including employment, financial literacy, and housing services can be an effective approach to reducing racial and other forms of inequity, as well as alleviating poverty. The relationship between education and poverty is very clear: educated people have increased income potential and quality of life. Meanwhile, economic conditions including employment, quality and affordable housing, and access to government benefits can increase disposable income and prevent material deprivation.

Objective 1.4: Prioritize investment in the most underserved individuals and communities
The federal government is responsible for affirmatively advancing civil rights, racial justice, and equal opportunity for all as outlined in the Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government. Investment of AmeriCorps resources in underserved communities will increase access to national service opportunities for communities that may otherwise not have access. The infusion of AmeriCorps resources will advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility and contribute to the alleviation of poverty.

Objective 1.5: Recruit a diverse corps of members and volunteers who reflect those we are serving
AmeriCorps members and volunteers are more racially diverse than the U.S. average. However, disparities in specific programs and communities and a misplaced perception that AmeriCorps lacks diversity hinder our efforts to advance racial equity and alleviate poverty. We believe that by reducing barriers to recruiting members and volunteers with greater understanding of the communities being served, trust in AmeriCorps’ ability to achieve this goal and the effectiveness of our programs will increase.

Goal 2

Enhance the experience for AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers

Objective 2.1: Empower AmeriCorps members to thrive and complete their term of service, and empower AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers to continue their service
AmeriCorps provides a range of benefits to members during their term of service. However, a recent analysis revealed that 18% of AmeriCorps members do not complete their term due to “non compelling circumstances.”

Successful completion of a service term reinforces our triple bottom line: it benefits the community, the sponsoring organization, and the AmeriCorps member. Moreover, substantial post service benefits (namely, the Segal Education Award) are contingent on successful completion of the member’s service term.

COVID-19 significantly disrupted AmeriCorps Seniors programming. AmeriCorps Seniors programs will need time and attention to rebuild programming and volunteers to pre pandemic levels.

Objective 2.2: Simplify the applicant journey and update AmeriCorps’ member and volunteer technology system
Our current applicant system the MyAmeriCorps portal is optimized to run on Internet Explorer, an outdated and unsupported internet browser. Moreover, the portal is not mobile friendly, which renders the system impractical for people who predominantly or exclusively access the internet on a mobile device. Beyond sub optimal technology, the user experience is confusing and burdensome.

Only 15% of prospective AmeriCorps members complete the entire application process, and the current system does not support AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers. Because our system is built on antiquated technology, we are unable to make enhancements that add significant value to the platform or correct existing pain points in the application process. We will undertake a comprehensive modernization and re design of this system resulting in better applicant/opportunity matching and an improved user experience.

Objective 2.3: Strengthen pathways to education, employment, and other opportunities
Preparing participants for opportunities after, or outside of their AmeriCorps service, enhances the overall service experience, increases engagement during service, and improves life after AmeriCorps.

Goal 3

Unite Americans by bringing them together in service

Objective 3.1: Increase awareness of AmeriCorps and favorability toward national service among the American public
Uniting the country through service requires support from the public for national service, which in turn requires awareness of national service, as an institution, and its ability to address our largest national challenges (racial equity, climate change, public health, economic opportunity, etc). Increased awareness and favorability towards national service will position national service as an institution to promote national unity, and associate service to one’s country with serving in one’s community.

Objective 3.2: Increase the number of AmeriCorps member and AmeriCorps Seniors volunteer service opportunities through partnerships and philanthropy
The more people who can participate from more communities across America, including communities of color and persons otherwise adversely affected by persistent poverty, discrimination, or inequality, the more people will have the opportunity to share the common bond of AmeriCorps and service, and the more communities will experience the benefits of engagement with national service.

Objective 3.3: Create a stronger, universal identity for AmeriCorps among members and volunteers
Unity and shared understanding can start with those who participate in AmeriCorps programs. Every year, AmeriCorps enrolls more than 250,000 individuals to serve as an AmeriCorps member or AmeriCorps Seniors volunteer in organizations making a difference in communities across America. These service experiences vary based on the program of service and the organization with which they serve. We believe there is untapped opportunity to create a stronger shared identity across AmeriCorps programs so that those who participate develop bonds transcending geography, time, focus area, and other variations across their service experiences.

Objective 3.4: Grow volunteering in America
Volunteering in a community is one way to bring people together across lines of difference in pursuit of a common cause. We believe that more Americans engaging locally and volunteering alongside their neighbors will produce a stronger, more unified national spirit and build thriving communities.

We see an opportunity to tap into the can do spirit of Americans by inviting them to engage in issue based volunteer opportunities. We will gauge the success of our efforts with the biennial “Volunteering in America” research report.

Goal 4

Effectively steward federal resources

Objective 4.1: Simplify AmeriCorps’ application and administration procedures for grants and projects
The agency wants to create a reasonable knowledge attainment expectation and workload for its frontline staff. Frontline staff are most able to effectively steward federal resources when they can provide outreach and technical assistance to grantees/partners/sponsors and implement agency grantmaking processes and procedures. There must be balance. Current workloads are skewed toward grantmaking processes and procedures with limited time to do the work of outreach or provide technical assistance and training.

Objective 4.2: Modernize AmeriCorps’ grant management technology
We hear loud and clear from the organizations who already work with AmeriCorps that the number one way we can support the organizations that apply for and administer our awards is to improve the operational performance and user friendliness of the technology platform eGrants, a 20+ year old system through which organizations apply for and administer grants. Additionally, AmeriCorps employees indicate that the antiquated system is a source of operational inefficiency and employee job dissatisfaction.

Objective 4.3: Ensure responsible management of financial resources
A fundamental element of stewardship is ensuring responsible use and management of taxpayer dollars, pertaining both to how our agency administers those funds and how recipients use those funds. AmeriCorps has identified five areas for strategic focus to ensure and strengthen responsible management of financial resources.

Our sub-objectives
  1. Foster effective financial grants management
  2. Improve grantee monitoring and compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and terms and conditions
  3. Improve the agency's financial management and audit resolution program
  4. Increase equity in contracting by contracting with businesses owned or operated by women, minorities, veterans, and socioeconomic programs pursuant to the Federal Acquisition Regulation
  5. Strengthen program integrity by protecting AmeriCorps grantees from fraud and mismanagement

Goal 5

Make AmeriCorps one of the best and most equitable places to work in the federal government

Objective 5.1: Foster employee well-being and productivity
Enabling employees to bring their best self to work drives productivity, reduces turnover, and positions AmeriCorps as a desirable employer of choice. Supporting the well being of our workforce by providing programs, tools, and resources that promote wellness, a sense of community in the workplace, a healthy work/life balance and enables employees to be successful in their jobs will lead to a happier, healthier, and thriving workforce.

Objective 5.2: Strengthen the foundation of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in the workplace
Organizations that prioritize DEIA in the workplace outperform those that do not. At AmeriCorps, we will strive to embed DEIA into the fabric of our workplace, one where employees have a sense of belonging, and are empowered to contribute, collaborate, and innovate. We are committed to creating a work environment that values a diverse range of perspectives and lived experiences.

Objective 5.3: Build a workplace culture that enables all AmeriCorps employees to thrive
Fostering a workplace culture that moves beyond a survive mindset to a thrive mindset is what fundamentally distinguishes a good workplace from a great one. Taking deliberate steps to assess, adjust, and define core values and guiding principles into all aspects of our workplace is an integral part of building a workplace culture that optimizes results.

Objective 5.4: Invest in leadership development
Investing in leadership to develop, expand, and retain a highly skilled and motivated workforce is vital to more effectively delivering our mission. Leadership development not only grows and strengthens our leadership capacity; it ignites purpose in employees in a transformative way, shifting the workplace from good to great. AmeriCorps understands the value of providing pathways to accelerate career advancement and building and sustaining leaders by creating the space and time to invest in their growth and development.

For specific questions on the strategic plan, please email planning@americorps.gov.

AmeriCorps’ Strategic Learning and Evidence Building Plan

The agency’s learning and evidence building plan provides a roadmap for generating credible, relevant, and actionable information about organizational effectiveness, operational performance, and the outcomes of national service programs. The AmeriCorps learning agenda is designed to provide the agency’s senior leadership and staff with the information needed for strategic learning and decision making to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of the agency and its programs.

Strategic Learning and Evidence Building Plan: Fiscal Years 2022-2026
Our learning and evidence building plan reflects AmeriCorps’ latest thinking as of March 2022. Content is subject to change. For specific questions on the learning agenda, please email evaluation@americorps.gov.