AmeriCorps Expands Commitment Advancing Equity and Racial Justice
National service agency joins Biden-Harris Administration’s equity initiatives
WASHINGTON, D.C. – AmeriCorps, the federal agency for national service and volunteerism, launched its equity action plan today in accordance with President Biden’s Executive Order 13985 on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.
The order, which called for a comprehensive approach to transform the federal government into a fairer and more equitable entity, directed all federal agencies to advance equal opportunity efforts including equity, civil rights and racial justice. The order also directed agencies to establish the critical role and responsibility of equity teams to address barriers and advance opportunities for both agency staff and services.
“AmeriCorps has been engaged in a cross-agency initiative to evaluate and deepen our culture and understanding of diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility for nearly two years,” said Michael D. Smith, AmeriCorps CEO. “We are focused on creating structural and lasting change in our grantmaking, member recruitment and retention, and equity in our workplace. We recognize our mission cannot be fully realized until community and national service embodies the rich diversity of our country and the communities we serve and is accessible to all.”
AmeriCorps’ equity plan focuses on five key areas: advance civil rights; recruit and retain a diverse corps; partner with American Indian and Alaskan Native communities; address limited English proficiency and ensure language access; and increase equity in procurement processes.
Since the release of the executive order in 2021, AmeriCorps’ equity accomplishments include:
- A new Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer position
- Inclusion of racial equity as a funding priority in the FY 2021 grant competitions and program guidance
- A new Language Translation Services Project Manager position to support translation and interpretation services for agency programs and grant competitions.
- Formation of a Committee on Native American Affairs
- Expansion of the paid summer intern partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
- Initial increase in living allowances for AmeriCorps members
AmeriCorps has a decades-long commitment to addressing barriers to national service and is guided by its strategic plan, which establishes equity as its foundation. In the coming months, AmeriCorps will engage national service stakeholders and the public to share input on best practices to advance equity and better support underserved communities. Learn more about AmeriCorps’ strategic plan and equity focus.