The launch of this program is made possible by the generous $1.5 million grant awarded from the William Penn Foundation and AmeriCorps funding through PennSERVE
PHILADELPHIA — The Mayor’s Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteer Service (MOCEVS) today announced the launch of its Community Resource Corps (CRC) AmeriCorps Program. The CRC will engage community leaders as AmeriCorps members to connect residents with anti-poverty resources. The launch of this program is made possible by the generous $1.5 million grant awarded from the William Penn Foundation and AmeriCorps funding through PennSERVE, the Pennsylvania State Service Commission which will support this new program for the first three years of implementation.
While the City has worked to connect residents in need to high-priority resources — like income-based assistance programs, housing support, digital-access programs, and anti-hunger programs, the pandemic highlighted how issues of poverty are worsened by digital, disability, economic, language, and literacy barriers. In response to the need to overcome these barriers, the CRC AmeriCorps program was created, and it will work toward three objectives:
- Connecting residents to City resources, including short-term COVID-19 relief and long-term anti-poverty resources.
- Serving as a workforce development opportunity for its 27 community-based AmeriCorps members.
- Increasing the City of Philadelphia’s capacity to engage hard-to-reach communities through strategically coordinating outreach efforts and establishing a field team of trusted messengers to more effectively connect with vulnerable populations.
The Community Resource Corps will be made up of trusted community leaders. Understanding that improved trust in City Government will improve the way residents are able to access resources, the CRC members will also be recruited from the neighborhoods in which they will serve, with intentional focus on the members’ diversity in age, race, and ethnicity, gender, and identities that reflect the City of Philadelphia. Today, MOCEVS welcomes its first cohort of 27 community leaders from November 2021 through October 2022.
“The Community Resource Corps is a unique, nontraditional AmeriCorps program that was designed with equitable engagement and racial equity at its core,” says Chief Service Officer, Amanda Gamble. “The CRC was created to not only alleviate the stressors of the pandemic on our residents but to also empower members of the Philadelphia community to support their own neighborhoods and in that process begin a career in civic and community engagement.”
CRC’s goal is to empower members through their community engagement work and support them in their career trajectory after their term of service. CRC AmeriCorps members will spend a year of service conducting outreach and training to connect residents to City anti-poverty resources. As a result, they’ll become experts in navigating anti-poverty resources, build relationships with potential employers, and gain competitive skills for future employment. Community Resource Corps will further prepare members for employment by evaluating their career goals at the beginning of their service and building relevant professional development opportunities that best support their growth.
“As a result of the pandemic, the last 20 months have been very challenging for many Philadelphians and their families,” said Janet Haas, Board Chair of the William Penn Foundation. “A range of benefits and programs to support families are available, but awareness of how to take advantage of these benefits and how to overcome access barriers is lacking. The Community Resource Corps will help neighbors connect with benefits for which they are already eligible and that can offer some relief during this challenging time.”
Members of the public can learn more about the Community Resource Corps here.
About the Mayor’s Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteer Service: the Mayor’s Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteer Service (MOCEVS) helps residents make positive changes in their communities. Toward this goal, we work to reduce barriers and expand capacity for participation. Follow MOCEVS on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.