ServeMinnesota’s Social & Economic Program Efforts Recognized By Landmark Kennedy Serve America Act With $14.5M in Grants

After undergoing a rigorous competition to receive a slice of $234 million in federal AmeriCorps grants, ServeMinnesota programs received $14.5 million from the Corporation for National and Community Service, a 25 percent increase over funding in 2009. Though Minnesota ranks 21st among the states in total population, the amount of monies received by the state ranked 4th overall behind California, Washington and New York.

These grants carry out the vision of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, a landmark law signed in 2009 with the goal of expanding AmeriCorps efforts and addressing critical national issues of strengthening education, expanding health services, assisting veterans and military families, building a green future, and fostering economic opportunity. Reflecting the diversity of the issues spotlighted by the Act, Minnesota programs receiving grants include those focused on youth literacy and academics, environmental conservation, and affordable housing.

“We are proud that so many and such diverse local programs received national funding,” said Audrey Suker, CEO for ServeMinnesota, the state’s Commission for Community and National Service. “These grants provide Minnesota with critical federal dollars to which we would otherwise not have access. This is truly a testament to the strength and innovation of Minnesota’s nonprofits and public entities that are working to address community issues.”

Nationwide, applications for AmeriCorps funding increased significantly in 2010 and approximately 60 percent more grant funding was requested than in 2009. In the 2010 competition, organizations requested about twice the number of grant dollars and AmeriCorps positions than could be funded.

Minnesota grant highlights:

Minnesota Reading Corps received a grant of $7.8 million, the largest grant given to a single-state AmeriCorps program in the country. This program, a strategic initiative of ServeMinnesota, is a proven early literacy approach specifically designed to help struggling readers succeed. In 2010-2011, nearly 700 AmeriCorps members will provide literacy tutoring to nearly 18,000 students, age 3 to grade 3, in more than 400 sites across the state.

Minnesota Conservation Corps received a grant of $1,183,000 and 102 AmeriCorps members. This program will provide youth development activities through environmental conservation projects in multiple sites throughout the state.

Minnesota Alliance with Youth received a grant of $1,039,955 and 80 AmeriCorps members. This program will provide opportunities for youth and communities to connect for success in multiple sites throughout the state.

True North AmeriCorps received a grant of $836,536 and 88 AmeriCorps members. This program will provide tutoring, mentoring and after-school activities in Northeastern Minnesota.

Multicultural Communities in Action received a grant of $514,777 and 40 AmeriCorps members. This program will provide tutoring and after-school activities in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity AmeriCorps received a grant of $509,498 and 40 AmeriCorps members. This program will provide services to build, rehab and support affordable housing.

Community Technology Empowerment Project received a grant of $389,991 and 30 AmeriCorps members. This program will provide technology outreach and access to disadvantaged populations in the Twin Cities Metropolitan area.

AmeriCorps LEAP (Learning Early Achieves Potential) Initiative received a grant of $260,000 and 20 AmeriCorps members. This program will provide support for early childhood school readiness in Southern Minnesota.

Healthy Home Corps received $194,997 and 15 AmeriCorps members. This program is new in 2010 and will provide outreach, education and interventions to low-income families regarding green, healthy homes in the Twin Cities Metropolitan area.

Metro Area Agency on Aging, in partnership with Vital Aging Networks (VAN), received a $50,000 planning grant to explore plans that will create more livable communities for our aging population.

In addition to grants received from the national competition, ServeMinnesota made the following grant allocations from its formula pool, an amount determined by the state’s population.

Anoka Ramsey Community College received a grant for $275,000 and 20 AmeriCorps members. This program will provide supplemental instruction through tutors and mentors. It will serve students in developmental education courses to enhance student success.

Bridges to Self-Sufficiency – Rise Inc. received a grant of $371,250 and 27 AmeriCorps members. This program will provide employment services for people with disabilities and other barriers in the Twin Cities Metropolitan area.

City of Lakes AmeriCorps – Minneapolis Public Schools received a grant of $419,375 and 36 AmeriCorps members. This program will provide tutoring, mentoring, afterschool activities and service learning.

Emerge Community Development received a grant of $343,750 and 30 AmeriCorps members. This program will provide job training and placement services for ex-offenders in North Minneapolis.

GreenCorps received a grant of $462,700 and 31 AmeriCorps members. The program will provide education and promotion of “green living” strategies including community gardens, composting at schools, and implementing energy reduction strategies in multiple sites throughout the state.

Minnesota Math Corps received a grant of $979,395 and 53 AmeriCorps members. This program will provide math tutoring for grades 4-8 in Saint Cloud, Saint Paul and the Saint Croix River Education District.