(From the Corporation for Community and National Service)
AmeriCorps will significantly increase its presence and investment in Joplin’s recovery thanks to a major grant announced today by Congressman Billy Long and Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that administers AmeriCorps.
The AmeriCorps grant to Rebuild Joplin will support 50 new fulltime AmeriCorps members per year for the next three years, for a total of 150 members. Members will manage volunteers and repair and rebuild homes of impacted families so that they may transition into secure housing as quickly as possible.
Rebuild Joplin will be recruiting Joplin residents to serve in the new positions, which provide a living allowance, training, a $5,550 college scholarship, and the opportunity to help hundreds of Joplin families move back into their homes. Recognizing the skills and leadership abilities of those who serve in the military, Rebuild Joplin is also seeking veterans to serve in these AmeriCorps positions. The first members will start serving in August.
“Missourians and Americans from across our great country continue to show Joplin families the compassion and generosity of the American spirit,” Congressman Long said. “The Joplin community has worked hard to recover from the May 22, 2011, devastating EF-5 tornado, and now this grant will help with the healing process. Joplin has always been a great community, and through their recovery efforts from this horrific event they are now showing the world just how great they are.”
AmeriCorps members supported by the grant are projected to manage more than 16,000 volunteers to serve more than 300,000 hours over the next three years, helping hundreds of families transition into permanent housing.
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) will invest more than $2.8 million in connection with this grant. This includes $650,000 in grant funds annually for three years, contingent on appropriations and performance, for a total of $1.9 million. In addition, members completing their service are projected to earn more than $800,000 in Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards, which can be used to pay for higher education or pay back student loans.
The federal investment is projected to generate an additional $1 million in cash and in-kind contributions from businesses and foundations, as required by all AmeriCorps grants.
“Joplin is coming back fast and strong, thanks to the resilience of Joplin’s people and united support from government, business, nonprofits, and volunteers,” said Spencer, who joined Congressman Long in announcing the grant today. “Joplin’s progress is an inspiration to the entire nation.”
“AmeriCorps has been here since day one, and we are excited to make this major new investment in Joplin’s future,” said Spencer. “One of the best features of this grant how it builds capacity to coordinate more volunteers. So my message is: Come to Joplin and volunteer.”
The grant was awarded as a result of a highly competitive grant cycle marked by strong demand for AmeriCorps resources by nonprofits across the country. Rebuild Joplin was part of a larger multi-state grant to the St. Bernard Project, an award-winning nonprofit organization based in New Orleans that has mobilized 37,000 volunteers and repaired more than 425 homes damaged by Hurricane Katrina since 2006. Rebuild Joplin leaders toured St. Bernard Project operations, and developed a partnership that led to the new AmeriCorps grant.
“We are thrilled to share the successful model we have developed in New Orleans to help families in Joplin move back into their homes,” said Zack Rosenburg, CEO and Co-Founder of the St. Bernard Project. “AmeriCorps has been vital to our success in New Orleans, and will be again in Joplin.”
“Joplin is eternally grateful for what AmeriCorps has already done and we are extremely excited about this partnership which will allow us to complete our recovery,” said Jerrod Hogan, cofounder of Rebuild Joplin.
Within hours after the nation's deadliest tornado in nearly 60 years ripped through Joplin, members of AmeriCorps St. Louis Emergency Response Team arrived on the scene. In the year since, more than 350 AmeriCorps members from across the country have served in Joplin. They have removed tons of debris, provided homeowner assistance and casework, operated donation and distribution warehouses, coordinated donations, and managed a large-scale volunteer operation that has coordinated more than 75,000 volunteers to provide more than 520,000 hours of disaster assistance to more than 2,200 Joplin households. (See CNCS Fact Sheet on AmeriCorps Response to Joplin Tornado)
Joplin city officials reported to FEMA that the city received donated resources and volunteer hours totaling $17.7 million, the largest amount in Missouri’s history and the largest amount ever recorded in FEMA’s region VII. AmeriCorps members were instrumental to mobilizing this influx of volunteers and donations, which saved the city more than $17.7 million in disaster costs.