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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, April 20, 2005

Office of the CEO

   

Oral Testimony Before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies

 

– AS PREPARED –

Chairman Regula, Representative Walsh, and Other Members of the Committee,

I want to thank you for the opportunity to discuss the Fiscal Year 2006 budget proposal for the Corporation for National and Community Service. I am pleased to be doing this during National Volunteer Week, a time set aside each year to pay tribute to the tens of millions of volunteers who give of their time and talents each day to improve people’s lives, bolster our neighborhoods, strengthen our communities, and sustain our democracy.

President Bush has long spoken of the need to support what he calls the “armies of compassion” – the people who care for their neighbors and communities. The programs of the Corporation act as a vital supply line to the armies of compassion. We deliver on the President’s promise of “making government an effective partner for those bringing help to harsh places.” To give you some examples, each year participants in Corporation programs:

  • Tutor hundreds of thousands of below-grade-level K-12 students;
  • Mentor hundreds of thousands of disadvantaged youth;
  • Enable tens of thousands of elderly seniors to remain independent;
  • Restore thousands of miles of trails, river banks, and beaches;
  • Provide emergency assistance to hundreds of thousands of Americans following disasters; and
  • Recruit, train, and manage more than one million community volunteers.

The indispensable role of national service was poignantly illustrated last summer in the response to the string of hurricanes in Florida. When the storms hit, Volunteer Florida – one of our 53 service commissions in the states and territories – organized the largest volunteer mobilization our Nation’s history: more than 150,000 volunteers coming to the aid of their neighbors. Of those, more than 3,500 were from our AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, NCCC, VISTA, and Learn and Serve America programs, and they helped make that mobilization possible.

The Corporation also supports the Administration’s effort to reach out to faith-based organizations. By fiscal year 2006, the Corporation’s programs, in partnership with faith-based organizations, will serve 25,000 children of prisoners. We are also working closely in Ohio with Governor Taft’s Faith-Based and Community Initiative, and with similar initiatives in other states, to build capacity, develop resources, and leverage volunteers for prisoner re-entry, family strengthening, and mentoring initiatives.

I have detailed in my written testimony the significant management reforms we have implemented in recent months. These reforms will strengthen the financial accountability, performance measurement, and long-term sustainability of our programs.

Our Fiscal Year 2006 Budget request includes $921 million for the Corporation and its programs. These funds will provide service opportunities for about 500,000 Senior Corps participants; support a total of 75,000 AmeriCorps members, which includes 6,500 AmeriCorps VISTA members and 1,050 NCCC members; and engage over one million students in service-learning activities through Learn and Serve America.

The requested funding level is approximately $6 million, or 0.6 percent, below what we received in FY 2005. In his February 2nd State of the Union Address, the President underscored the need to restrain spending in order to reduce the federal deficit and sustain our economic prosperity. As part of this restraint, it is important that total discretionary and non-security spending be held to levels proposed in the FY 2006 Budget. The savings and reforms in the Budget are important components of achieving the President’s goal of cutting the budget deficit in half by 2009, and we urge the Congress to support them.

The Corporation’s programs complement other social programs – many of which are funded by this committee – by engaging citizens directly in community problem-solving. This approach not only helps communities meet local needs but also instills a lasting commitment to civic engagement in those who participate in those programs. As our Nation looks ahead to significant challenges, the Corporation is helping to meet those challenges by engaging more baby boomers in service, leveraging more community volunteers, reaching more underserved youth, and partnering more strongly with institutions of higher education to increase levels of community service.

Before concluding, Mr. Chairman, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Subcommittee for its past support of our VISTA and Senior Corps programs. I’d also like to thank Representative Walsh for his strong support of AmeriCorps and Learn and Serve over the past decade. At this time, I am available to address any questions the Subcommittee may have.

 

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