National Service Return on Investment Studies Reflect Strength of AmeriCorps
Initial studies demonstrate that national service programs provide a powerful ROI for federal funding and communities served
WASHINGTON, D.C.— AmeriCorps, the federal agency for national service and volunteerism, announced a series of return-on-investment studies that measure the value of federal funding invested in its programs. This research evaluates individual AmeriCorps grantees or supported program models designed to improve a range of outcomes for national service members, volunteers and communities across the nation.
AmeriCorps commissioned an independent expert firm to conduct ROI analyses to help measure program performance and build the base of evidence for future resource decisions. In total, the ROI Studies Project will produce up to 20 studies. The initial studies reflect significant, positive impact and returns for at-risk communities and professional experience for members.
“Over the last several years, AmeriCorps has been recognized for outstanding performance in using evidence and data to invest federal resources in programs that work," said Michael D. Smith, AmeriCorps CEO. "Through our agency’s Office of Research and Evaluation, we will continue to support grantees and other supported programs with their evidence-building activities. We remain committed to ensuring that national service grants incorporate principles of equity and innovation and make a measurable impact on the communities they serve.”
Thus far, AmeriCorps has released eight ROI study reports looking at the cost-benefit-analysis of the AmeriCorps Senior’s Foster Grandparents and Senior Companion programs, Birth & Beyond Home Visitation program, College Possible’s College Access program, Community Technology Empowerment Project, Habitat for Humanity partnership, Minnesota Reading Corps, Washington Conservation Corps and YouthBuild AmeriCorps.
The studies show AmeriCorps programs generate as much as $34.26 ROI for every federal dollar spent. Other reported benefits of AmeriCorps programs include increased wages and decreased rates of unemployment for members, increased economic growth and tax revenue in communities served and positive environmental outcomes for native plant populations.
Most recently, AmeriCorps released the Minnesota Reading Corps – Kindergarten ROI study. MRC Kindergarten, the largest AmeriCorps state program in the country, uses research-based literacy instruction to help Pre-K through third-grade students learn to read. The program’s host organization, Reading & Math, Inc., recruits, trains, places and monitors AmeriCorps members who work with children one-on-one and in small groups daily, providing literacy interventions tailored to each learner’s needs.
This study measured program costs for academic year 2017-2018 and found MRC Kindergarten’s ROI to be between $5.47 and $6.99 per funded dollar. Results depend on length of program participation and how many AmeriCorps members experience increased earnings as a result of MRC Kindergarten. All reports can be found at Americorps.gov/ROI.
AmeriCorps was recognized for outstanding performance in the Results for America’s 2021 Invest in What Works Federal Standard of Excellence. The Federal Standard of Excellence recognizes agencies that use data-driven decision-making to get results for young people, their families, and communities and improve the impact of federal investments. Specifically, AmeriCorps was highlighted for the agency’s use of data and evidence to increase the impact of national service grants in more than 40,000 communities to make government investment as effective and efficient as possible.
The announcement comes during AmeriCorps Week, March 13-19, which is a celebration of the millions of Americans who have chosen to serve their country through AmeriCorps and encourage more Americans to follow in their footsteps in service. Every year, AmeriCorps places more than 250,000 AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers in intensive service roles. The weeklong celebration also honors the contributions and support of thousands of community organizations that make AmeriCorps programs possible.