This blog post has been written by Gerolly Lorenzo, Service Year Expansion Manager

The Mayor’s Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteer Service (MOCEVS) which, co-leads the National Service Task Force and Service Year Impact Community in the city with PennSERVE, the state service commission, is developing an AmeriCorps Emergency Fund that will support the emergency needs of AmeriCorps members serving with Philadelphia-based programs. Through several donations and grants, the AmeriCorps Emergency Fund is currently set to launch with $120,000 available to support local members, but MOCEVS and the National Service Task Force hope to continue to grow this amount through raising additional funds.

It is expected that the first round of emergency funds will be distributed to members in the Summer of 2022.

The Philadelphia National Service Task Force understands that a successful completion of a term of national service can be difficult when unexpected financial challenges arise. To help address this barrier, and make service years more accessible and equitable for all, the Task Force will launch an AmeriCorps Emergency Fund and hire a coordinator to provide trauma-informed support services for Philadelphia-based AmeriCorps members. 

The AmeriCorps Emergency Fund and Support Service project has three key objectives: 

  1. Meet the emergency needs of AmeriCorps members and retain them in service 
  2. Hire a dedicated staff to provide long-term planning and social services support to any AmeriCorps member in a Philadelphia based program
  3. Track retention and member needs to improve member support across Philadelphia AmeriCorps programs

The AmeriCorps Emergency Fund and Support Services is made possible by a generous $50,000 grant awarded from the William Penn Foundation, $25,000 from PennServe, through a grant from the Schultz Family Foundation, a $25,000 National Service Community Challenge Grant from Service Year Alliance, a $75,000 donation from American Airlines, a contribution at the request of Art Block, long-time City Year and AmeriCorps Champion, and several other private donations from AmeriCorps Alums and supporters. Through these generous donations and philanthropy funding, the emergency fund will support approximately 240 AmeriCorps members in the first year and every additional donation means that the fund can support more members.

“The Philadelphia National Service Task Force has been working on efforts to reduce barriers to service and provide all Philadelphians with the opportunity to serve,” says Chief Service Officer Amanda Gamble, “by establishing this AmeriCorps Emergency Fund, we will be opening the opportunity to serve to many individuals who want to give back to their city and community through service, but do not have a strong support system to fall back on when faced with hardship during their year of service.”

To sustain this fund and support AmeriCorps members serving to improve our Philadelphia communities, we encourage individuals to donate to the AmeriCorps Emergency Fund here

If you’re interested in the AmeriCorps Emergency Fund Coordinator position, you can apply here

If you or someone you know is interested in committing to a year of service through AmeriCorps, you can find a list of Philadelphia-based programs here

Note: The Philadelphia National Service Task Force (NSTF) is composed of three entities: the National Service Task Force Steering Committee, the NSTF Program Council, and the Philadelphia AmeriCorps Alumni Chapter. Each of these groups work together to reduce barriers to service years and make service year opportunities accessible to all Philadelphians.