AmeriCorps CEO Announces Millions in Grant Awards, Inspires Youth Leaders and Celebrates Local Volunteers
Michael D. Smith joined AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers serving in Florida, Texas, New York, New Jersey and Delaware during May 2023
WASHINGTON, DC— AmeriCorps CEO Michael D. Smith traveled to five states during the month of May, meeting and speaking with AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers, local service leaders, and elected officials supporting multiple programs and initiatives.
More than 58,000 AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps volunteers serve in approximately 6,000 locations across the five states Smith visited in May.
On May 2, Smith attended and spoke at the 117th Boys & Girls Club of America’s national conference in Orlando, with its focus on “Forward! United for America’s Youth.”
“It’s an honor to speak at the 117th National Conference, especially since I was once a young boy attending the Family Center Boys & Girls Club in Massachusetts,” Smith said. “Boys & Girls Club of America opens the doors of opportunity for millions of children like me. And this couldn’t be done without the power of service—the volunteers that ensure Boys & Girls Club organizations like them have the support and resources they need to be successful and change the lives of those they serve.”
On May 11, Smith joined former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the City Year New York Gala 20th anniversary celebration. The event hosted multiple change makers and service leaders, honoring Clinton and Dr. John King, Chancellor of the State University of New York.
“Secretary Clinton delivered inspiring remarks, reflecting how her and President Bill Clinton’s early impression of City Year in the ‘90s planted the seeds for AmeriCorps to come into existence and signed into law,” Smith said.
“We were looking for examples of how to lift up communities, how to provide more opportunities for young people, how to bridge divides...all of which we are still trying to do today,” Clinton said.
On May 12, Smith met with the Community Food Bank of New Jersey, discussing how federal investment helps local programs address hunger, health, nutrition and food security and access issues, a. priority of the Biden administration. The discussion provided an overview of the programs and initiatives, and how AmeriCorps funding helped the food bank create lasting impact. Smith also participated in a service opportunity at the Greater Newark Conservancy garden.
On May 15, AmeriCorps leaders, including Cleo Hirsch, Public Health AmeriCorps, joined the OneStar Foundation in Dallas, celebrating the organization’s AmeriCorps grant totaling more than $16 million to improve health and well-being, inspire learning and increase access to care in Texas.
“For nearly 30 years, AmeriCorps has been betting on national service as one of the most powerful tools to bring Americans together and solve tough challenges. Today, more than 200,000 AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers are serving across the country—including right here in Dallas,” Smith said. “Whether they’re tutoring students to help them stay on track, helping seniors live independently, supporting veterans and military families, restoring our parks and public lands, or increasing access to healthy foods and affordable health care, these changemakers remind us that service deepens bonds, strengthens communities and transforms lives.”
The grant is part of more than $550 million in federal dollars invested in April and May nationally. More than 450 organizations received funding through AmeriCorps State and National and Public Health AmeriCorps programs.
On May 16, Smith recognized Heart of Texas’ Susan Copeland for more than 30 years of distinguished service leading national service programs in Waco, Texas. Copeland’s service with AmeriCorps RSVP helps older Americans connect and create change in their communities. Smith presented Copeland with a Distinguished Service Award, including a framed letter he signed and a keepsake AmeriCorps CEO Challenge Coin.
“The AmeriCorps CEO Challenge Coin Award honors dedicated individuals who serve their communities, make service possible for others, and are committed to the betterment of local communities and people in need,” Smith said. “Susan’s tireless efforts, spanning more than three decades, has enabled thousands of older adult volunteers to make an impact on the lives of people who need it most. Her faithfulness and dedication embody the very spirit of this award.”
Smith also joined the Habitat AmeriCorps 2023 Service Blitz in Killeen, Texas, May 16. Smith spoke at their Team Up Training, a session aimed at helping members bridge divides in communities.
On May 30, Smith traveled to Delaware for the announcement of $1.3 million in funding awarded to Reading Assist Delaware. The award directs $3.9 million per year over three years and expands Reading Assist’s presence in providing high-impact tutoring support to struggling readers.
“These AmeriCorps grants—and our State and National program—prioritize how important it is to give local organizations the tools to solve local challenges,” Smith said. “This investment further strengthens partnerships with a thriving network of local, state and national organizations. These evidence-backed programs are creating lasting change in underserved communities while giving more Americans an opportunity to serve.”
Smith also presented a President’s Volunteer Service Award to Alex Tran, an AmeriCorps member serving in the VISTA program with more than 4,200 hours of service. Tran gives back to his community, mentoring other Chinese students while in college, participating and leading various school service projects and more. Tran also served with AmeriCorps NCCC in Colorado before returning home to Sussex County, where he served with Habitat AmeriCorps.
#Shareworthy: @AmeriCorpsCEO hit the road in May, celebrating @AmeriCorps investments to lift up communities, leaders who ensure #AmeriCorpsWorks for local priorities, and Americans who #GetThingsDone across five states. See snapshots ⤵️ and read more: https://t.co/kSNQRPkc9v pic.twitter.com/3lPdo5b81P— AmeriCorps (@AmeriCorps) May 31, 2023