The Washington Post

AmeriCorps expects fewer volunteers under sequester


Volunteer numbers show that Americans have responded to President Obama’s 2009 call to service, but an ongoing sequester could dampen that progress by forcing the government’s national-service program to reduce costs.

AmeriCorps’s parent agency, the Corporation for National and Community Service, plans to make do with 15,000 fewer paid and unpaid members under the government-wide spending cuts that took effect on March 1, according to spokeswoman Samantha Jo Warfield.

In terms of the impacts on services, about 9,000 fewer children will receive support from  “foster grandparents” when the organization trims stipends for paid volunteers who work with special-needs kids and youths in the juvenile justice system, Warfield said.

FEMA Corps members. (Photo courtesy of AmeriCorps). FEMA Corps members. (Photo courtesy of AmeriCorps).

Additionally, roughly 1,700 fewer clients would receive help from the agency’s “senior companions,” who provide meals and transportation for the elderly, according to Warfield.

AmeriCorps also expects to fill 600 fewer spots within its VISTA program, which helps recruit and manage community volunteers.

President Obama issued a call to service during his first year in the White House. Since then, the national volunteer rate has reached a five-year high, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures AmeriCorps highlighted in its last Volunteering and Civic Life in America report.

AmeriCorps said the number of volunteers in the nation increased by nearly 2.5 million individuals, or 4 percent, from 2008 through 2011, based on the census data.

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Josh Hicks covers Maryland politics and government. He previously anchored the Post’s Federal Eye blog, focusing on federal accountability and workforce issues.



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