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About Senior Corps 
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Hurricane Volunteer Support Fund
In the wake of the recent hurricanes, the Corporation is coordinating volunteers to assist with repair and relief efforts in areas affected by this devastating storm. Your donation will support volunteers in providing food and shelter, managing donations, helping victims get necessary assistance, and long-term rebuilding efforts.
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USA Freedom Corps Partnering to Answer the President’s Call to Service
 
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Office of the CEO

   

CEO Message on the 2004 Performance and Accountability Report

 

FY 2004 was a “turnaround year” for the Corporation for National and Community Service. The agency made great progress on the programmatic, strategic, and administrative/management fronts, as detailed herein. We also made significant progress in addressing the three organizational goals I articulated when I took over as Chief Executive Officer in December of 2003— rebuilding trust, managing to accountability, and focusing on our various “customers.”

Change is never easy, especially for a complex organization.  However, because of the extraordinary progress made by the agency, it gives me great pleasure to present to Congress the Corporation’s FY 2004 Performance and Accountability Report.  This report describes the accomplishments, challenges, plans, and financial condition of the Corporation and its three main programs— AmeriCorps, Learn and Serve America, and Senior Corps— as we go about achieving our mission of helping people, building communities, and increasing volunteerism and civic responsibility in America.

As I have detailed in testimony before Congress and elsewhere, the Corporation has moved steadily and surely over the past 12 months to establish financially and managerially sound systems and processes. For example, in FY 2004 we:

  • Put in place new procedures that fix the problems that we had experienced in the past with the National Service Trust;
     
  • Strengthened our grants management, oversight, and monitoring functions including reforming the grant-making process, improving the quality of peer reviewers, and implementing improvements to eGrants, our online grant application system;
     
  • Instituted a new budget development approach in which each department uses a logic model that ties budgeting to goals and performance;
     
  • Upgraded technological systems to ensure more accurate and timely reporting of data;
     
  • Developed new administrative standards for our state service commissions, and implemented improved compliance monitoring protocols;
     
  • Developed a comprehensive strategic human capital plan; and
     
  • Ended the predominant use of term appointments, expanded employee training, and implemented a performance-based appraisal system.

All of these changes were instituted to allow the Corporation and its programs to operate more efficiently, effectively, and accountably— which, I am pleased to report, has been confirmed by a number of independent assessments. The review of our financial systems, as required by the Federal Financial Management Improvement Act, found that the Corporation’s systems fully conform to governmental financial system requirements. The evaluation of our management controls, as required by the Federal Managers’ Financial Integrity Act, found the agency’s overall control system to be in compliance with the Act, except for a single deficiency noted by our Office of the Inspector General regarding the documentation and follow-up conducted of systems security testing and evaluation. We will complete new Certification and Accreditation reports for all our major systems by January 31, 2005 that will fully address this documentation deficiency. In separate reports, the Government Accountability Office and the Inspector General each found that the Corporation had implemented sound business practices, including strict control over AmeriCorps member enrollment certification procedures that will ensure the Corporation’s obligations remain within its appropriated limits. And, for the fifth straight year, the Corporation received an unqualified audit of our financial statements.  These accomplishments demonstrate our continued commitment to sound financial practices and reliable financial information to support decision-making.

On the programmatic side, thanks to Congressional funding at record levels and great support from the President, the Corporation was able to reach significant milestones. For example, in FY 2004 we awarded grants to support some 540,000 volunteers through the Senior Corps program, 1.1 million Learn and Serve America students, and a record 75,000 AmeriCorps positions— the largest class ever. Together the Corporation’s programs helped to provide over 200 million hours of service and achieved demonstrable results in meeting critical community needs in education, the environment, public safety, care for elderly, homeland security, and other areas—including a massive response by participants in all three national service programs to the hurricanes that devastated areas of Florida and the South this past September. And, AmeriCorps*State and National program members recruited and trained more than 525,000 community volunteers throughout the country—an important aspect to our goal of building a stronger culture of service and civic engagement in America.

The performance and financial data presented in this report are reliable and represent the strongest accountability measures that the Corporation has ever generated. Still, we recognize that we have more work to do in order to provide the full range of performance outcome reporting necessary to fully support effective decision-making. The Corporation is continuing to accelerate improvements in the scope of its performance data, particularly with regard to the cost effectiveness of our programs in meeting human needs.

And we continue to press for other changes and improvements through a variety of strategic initiatives designed to support and further advance the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of the agency’s operations. For example:

  • The Board of Directors in FY 2004 began to outline a draft five-year strategic plan, much of which conforms to an Executive Order on National and Community Service that President Bush issued in February 2004. This plan will be issued in FY 2005 and will be designed to guide the Corporation’s activities for years to come;
     
  • The Corporation has engaged the accounting firm Deloitte to perform a business process review of the agency’s core operations. Results will be used to further enhance the reforms now under way;
     
  • The National Academy of Public Administration is conducting a thorough review of the agency’s organization and management and their recommendations will be incorporated into the agency’s plans in FY 2005;
     
  • The Corporation developed and is implementing a strategic human capital plan that promotes alignment of staff with the Corporation’s mission and goals;
     
  • At the behest of our Board of Directors, the Corporation is creating a set of management metrics designed to measure whether Corporation operations are performing to target;
     
  • In FY 2004, we embarked on a six-month rulemaking process for the AmeriCorps program in which we sought to strengthen the program by finding ways to better leverage Federal resources, while making our programs more predictable and reliable for our grantees. The final rule is expected to be released in FY 2005; and
  • The Corporation is upgrading its technological systems, including developing new designs for the Corporation’s core online operational systems, eGrants and WBRS (Web-Based Reporting System), through which grants are administered and grantees report required information to the Corporation.

In short, the Corporation has made tremendous progress over the past year. The achievements of our extraordinarily talented and dedicated staff are all the more remarkable because our operational resources have been shrinking while the demands and pressure on staff to do more, and to have their work held to higher standards, have been increasing. In FY 2005 and beyond, we look forward to fully implementing our management reforms, improving our financial systems, and making our programs even more effective and accountable. In so doing, we will meet the challenges of the future and become the kind of well-managed, effective agency that the nation deserves.

David Eisner
Chief Executive Officer
Corporation for National and Community Service

 

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