The AmeriCorps Office of Research and Evaluation (ORE) builds a portfolio of evidence around the agency’s mission and its programs. As a follow-up from the first State of the Evidence report published in 2017, this 2023 State of the Evidence report synthesizes key themes from studies produced by or for AmeriCorps from 2017 to 2022 with the goal of describing the state of the evidence where the agency seeks to make an impact. A discussion of AmeriCorps' earlier evidence and findings are not included in this 2023 report. The synthesis includes publicly published findings from AmeriCorps ORE research grantee studies, third-party evaluations, systematic reviews, meta-synthesis evaluations, and AmeriCorps ORE’s own research and evidence-building activities.
The report is informed by a framework with four domains that represent where AmeriCorps seeks to make an impact through its investments in national service and volunteerism: participants, partners, communities, and society. AmeriCorps seeks to build evidence related to each of these domains in pursuit of the agency’s mission. The research questions addressed in this report speak to each of the four domains:
- Participants are the individual AmeriCorps members and volunteers who join AmeriCorps to serve local communities through AmeriCorps programs.
- Partners are the AmeriCorps grantees and sponsoring organizations that receive AmeriCorps program funding to implement service projects in their local communities using AmeriCorps members and volunteers.
- Communities are the individuals, groups, and local areas that experience or receive services from AmeriCorps-funded grantees or sponsors delivered by AmeriCorps members and volunteers.
- Society represents national service, volunteering, and civic engagement in the United States more broadly.
- What does AmeriCorps know about AmeriCorps participants?
- What are the characteristics of participants who serve with AmeriCorps?
- What outcomes and impacts, if any, do AmeriCorps participants experience?
- What does AmeriCorps know about AmeriCorps partners?
- In what ways, if any, has AmeriCorps helped build the capacity of grantees and sponsor organizations to achieve their missions and better serve their communities?
- What does AmeriCorps know about communities served by AmeriCorps-funded grantees or sponsors and their members and volunteers?
- What outcomes or impacts, if any, do communities served by AmeriCorps-funded grantees or sponsors and their members and volunteers experience?
- What does the research say about investment in and scaling of effective interventions?
- What does AmeriCorps know about national service, volunteering, and civic engagement in society?
- What are the societal rates of volunteerism, participation in national service, and civic engagement? How do these rates vary by demographic characteristics?
- What new insights has AmeriCorps-funded research generated to advance the field’s understanding of national service, volunteering, and civic engagement?
- Participants: Sixteen studies (14 percent of 116 studies) examined AmeriCorps participants’ characteristics and the benefits participants experience through serving or volunteering with AmeriCorps.
- Partners: Ten studies (9 percent of 116 studies) examined whether AmeriCorps helped build the capacity of partners—grantees and sponsor organizations—to achieve their missions and better serve their communities.
- Communities: Seventy-one studies (61 percent of 116 studies) examined how communities and the individuals within them benefit from AmeriCorps-funded interventions, the value generated from investing in AmeriCorps-funded interventions, or how to scale interventions to increase the scope of their impact.
- Society: Twenty-five studies (22 percent of 116 studies) furthered evidence on national service, volunteering, and civic engagement in the United States.