New Partnerships will Place AmeriCorps VISTA Members in Indian Country
Members needed to Begin Service Fall 2016
Released by Samantha Jo Warfield, CNCS
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency that administers AmeriCorps, on September 29, 2016, announced the expansion of its innovative Resilience AmeriCorps program to 55 tribal communities through partnerships with Conservation Legacy, American Indian Higher Education Consortium, Enterprise Community Partners, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and Tribal Housing Authorities.
The new partnership will place up to 160 AmeriCorps VISTA members in Indian Country over the next three years to boost their capacity to prepare for severe weather events. AmeriCorps VISTA members will serve at locations in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Guam, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, and Wisconsin. A list of all communities and tribes joining Resilience AmeriCorps can be found here.
CNCS and its partners are actively recruiting AmeriCorps VISTA members to be on-the-ground this fall. AmeriCorps members receive a modest living stipend and a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award of $5,815 to pay for college or to pay back student loans. Positions are still available to join the program and those interested in applying to serve in Indian Country can see project listings here.
Resilience AmeriCorps, a unique federal public-private partnership, helps communities plan and implement efforts necessary to become more resilient to shocks and stresses, including the impacts of severe weather events. The program was created in response to a recommendation by the President’s State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience to help communities plan and implement efforts to become more resilient to the impacts of extreme weather, disasters, and climate effects.
“The Resilience AmeriCorps program, and the partnerships that sustain it, are another example of how we collaborate with philanthropy, nonprofits, local and tribal governments, higher education, and other federal agencies to address the nation’s most-pressing challenges,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “We are proud to expand this effort to Indian Country, and we stand committed to serving in tribal communities that are often most vulnerable in the face of disasters.”
The new partnerships announced are:
- Conservation Legacy: Through the Community Stewards’ Tribal Resilience AmeriCorps VISTA Initiative, Conservation Legacy will place up to 48 AmeriCorps VISTA members in projects designed to build resilience, promote cultural heritage, and provide employment pathways in 35 Native American communities. AmeriCorps VISTA members will support projects developed by tribal colleges and universities, National Park Service sites, and the Ancestral Lands Program. This initiative is strengthened by a partnership with the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), which integrates with AIHEC’s Native Climate Resilience Network project. AmeriCorps VISTA members will build capacity for the tribal communities through work with organizations promoting resilience, environmental stewardship, economic opportunities, food sovereignty, and youth development. This expands on existing partnerships between CNCS, Conservation Legacy, the US Department of the Interior, and the US Department of Agriculture.
- Enterprise Community Partners: The Enterprise Cultural and Climate Resilience AmeriCorps VISTA program will increase culturally appropriate, environmentally responsible affordable housing available to Native American communities. Twenty AmeriCorps VISTA members a year—a total of 60 over three years—will work with 12 host-site partners on tribal lands across the country. The AmeriCorps VISTA members will help grow the capacity of local organizations from natural disaster resilience planning in Montana, to a sustainable energy economy in New Mexico, to the development of a climate resilience master plan in South Dakota.
“The Ancestral Lands program has supported American Indian communities by providing jobs and service opportunities for Native young people and by completing important project work on tribal and public lands,” said Harry Bruell, CEO of Conservation Legacy. “We are honored to work with the Corporation for National and Community Service to expand these efforts. We believe in the work that an AmeriCorps VISTA member can bring to a community and we look forward to supporting the capacity building efforts in our nation’s most deserving communities.”
“The communities served by this AmeriCorps VISTA program are often the hardest hit by natural disasters and climate change, further exacerbating an inadequate and substandard housing supply,” said Laurel Blatchford, Senior Vice President of Solutions at Enterprise. “Through this program, 300 Native American, low-income families will benefit through the creation and preservation of affordable homes connected to opportunity, including social services and cultural activities.”
CNCS has a long-standing commitment to work with tribal nations to address the critical issues Native American communities face. The announcement, which was made during the 8th Annual White House Tribal Leaders Conference in Washington, D.C., builds on the work being done in the initial 28 Resilience AmeriCorps cities, which are implemented by New York Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery, Catholic Charities USA, Lutheran Services in America, Cities of Service, and Enterprise Community Partners. In addition, CNCS will invest more than $3.5 million in tribal sponsored AmeriCorps programming to mentor youth, teach nutrition and physical activity, preserve language and cultural heritage, protect the environment, connect veterans to job opportunities, prepare for disasters, and tackle substance abuse issues.
Resilience AmeriCorps supports the President’s Climate Action Plan, and is a partnership between the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency that administers the AmeriCorps program; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; the US Department of Energy; the Environmental Protection Agency, and the White House Council on Environmental Quality, with support from The Rockefeller Foundation. For more information, visit www.nationalservice.gov/resilienceamericorps.
The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages millions of Americans in service through its AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Social Innovation Fund, and Volunteer Generation Fund programs, and leads the President’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve. Visit NationalService.gov for more details.