Ask Congress to Invest in
Service and Volunteering!
Funding for CNCS fuels the Civic Response to our Economic and Social Challenges
Despite overwhelming evidence that national service is integral to the health and strength of the American economy, on March 21st, the House of Representatives passed a FY14 Budget Resolution that calls for draconian cuts to domestic programs, including the elimination of the Corporation for National and Community Service. While budgets are non-binding blueprints, if enacted, this would shut down CNCS and eliminate support for AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, the Volunteer Generation Fund, VISTA, the National Civilian Community Corps, and the Social Innovation Fund.
This decision in the House completely disregards the essential role national service organizations are playing in communities across the country and stands to cause irreparable harm at a time when fiscally efficient support is needed more than ever.
While people across America are struggling and Congressional leaders are facing unprecedented and seemingly impossible choices about federal spending, national service is providing an answer to both of these challenges. An infusion of high-impact, cost-effective people power is bringing help, hope, and, most importantly, results to communities across our nation.
We’ve been here before and - with your help - we've fought back successfully, but it wasn’t easy then and it won't be easy now. CNCS has seen an 13% cut since fiscal year 2010 - that's $154 million dollars in the last three years. Our communities and families can’t let this slide continue.
Now is the time to raise your voice and call on Congress to reject the House bill and invest in the Corporation for National and Community Service. Even in this era of tight budgets and difficult funding decisions, our nation’s leaders should provide continued support for cost-effective programs that enable Americas of all ages to serve, create jobs and deliver essential services nationwide.
Your voice matters, and below are easy tools that can help you contact your legislators:
|Send a Letter to Your Senators and Congressperson
If Congress were to stop investing in CNCS today, the impact would be significant:
- More than 3 million at-risk students would lose critical instructional support;
- More than 1 million frail seniors and the disabled would lose in-home support and would be forced to enter costly elder care facilities;
- More than 4,500 families would lose access to affordable housing resulting in increased homelessness and foreclosures;
- Over 600,000 people would lose assistance to navigate primary and preventative health care services at community health centers nationwide;
- and so much more.
Our nation’s economy cannot afford to lose these services. It will cost us more in the long run!
Congress needs to hear from you. Tell them what’s at stake in your community if Congress stops investing in CNCS.
Please use these links that will make emailing Congress quick and easy.
a Town Hall Meeting
Town Hall Meetings are an important opportunity for elected officials to connect with their constituents, listen to their concerns, gauge where their voters stand on issues and work to identify and implement solutions to local and national problems. Usually held during a congressional recess, Town Hall meetings occur at community centers, schools, religious institutions, and other public spaces.
Town Hall Meetings present the perfect opportunity to tell your Congressperson why national service is important in your community. You can explain how your organization leverages support from the Corporation for National and Community Service to deliver essential services in your hometown and let them know what will be lost if CNCS is eliminated.
Contact your Representative and Senator’s local district offices to find out when they are holding a town hall meeting in your area. To prepare for the meeting click here to read a Guide to Town Hall Meetings.
Your Elected Official
to Visit Your Program
Many elected leaders do not realize that the local organizations their constituents rely upon are recipients of CNCS grants. They are simply unaware that these federal funds are being leveraged locally – and matched with private contributions – to deliver a wide array of services to their constituents, including mentoring and tutoring, responding to natural disasters, safeguarding the environment, delivering healthcare, leveraging community volunteers, building the capacity of community and faith-based organizations, and much more.
Program visit and engaging your elected official in service are two important ways to build support for national service and convey the impact that your program is having in their community.
We encourage you to contact your public leaders, including your mayor, governor, city council members, and Members of Congress, and invite them to visit your program or participate in a day of service.
- Click here for a sample invitation letter
- Click here for tips on how to schedule a visit with an elected official
- Click here for tips on promoting your service day to the media
Please help us keep track of how many Members participate in site visits by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 202-742-7374 once participation is confirmed. We would also love to receive a copy of any photos you take with your Members of Congress. Photos can be emailed to the address above.
to Your Local Paper
Locate instructions for how to write to the Opinion Editor of your paper. Instructions often appear on the Opinion page of the newspaper or you can visit the newspaper’s website.
You can then write your own Letter to the Editor or Op-Ed. Write about your personal experience with national service programs and call for elected officials to support full funding for national service. It is best to be specific about recent legislation (see Legislative Updates) and what action you want taken.