Have you ever wondered why we partner with AmeriCorps? JVC Northwest has been in partnership with AmeriCorps for over a decade, and we recently received word that our capacity building grant will be renewed for another three years. We’d like to take this opportunity to share with our community more about what makes our partnership with AmeriCorps so special.
AmeriCorps is an independent agency of the US government that enrolls more than 250,000 individuals each year to serve organizations making a difference across the US. Since our partnership began in 2010, AmeriCorps has played a critical role in helping JVC Northwest advance justice and strengthen communities throughout the Pacific Northwest.
JVC Northwest’s partnership with AmeriCorps helps advance our mission in two main ways:
1. Lowering fees for partner agencies to host a JV AmeriCorps member
Our mission at JVC Northwest is to respond to local community needs. Small grassroots organizations who are among the most attuned to the needs of their community might not have the resources to support a JV AmeriCorps member if it were not for the extra costs that AmeriCorps covers. Without the AmeriCorps grants, the placement fees we charge to agencies would need to be about 40% higher. Thanks to this funding, we are able to make the service Jesuit Volunteers offer more accessible to the agencies and communities where needs are greatest.
2. Lowering and eliminating barriers for volunteers
AmeriCorps offers generous benefits for its members including a living stipend, healthcare benefits, loan deferment, a generous Education Award to use towards prior loans or future education, and more. For many, these benefits have a substantial influence on their decision to serve with JVC Northwest. In fact, 76% of JV AmeriCorps members report that they would not have been able to join JVC Northwest if it were not for the additional benefits offered through AmeriCorps. By lowering barriers for volunteers, we are able to recruit a more diverse cohort of volunteers who bring with them a variety of valuable skills, identities, and lived experiences to share.
A Commitment to Capacity Building
The renewed Capacity-Building AmeriCorps grant of $1,937,209 will support over 100 JV AmeriCorps members annually for the next three years. Through their various capacity-building projects, JV AmeriCorps members create and improve upon systems within their agencies, which can have a lasting effect far beyond a year of service.
The Three Impact Areas of Jesuit Volunteer/AmeriCorps members
While most JVs serve via the capacity building AmeriCorps program, did you know that Jesuit Volunteers serve via one of three impact areas?
1. Capacity-Building – AmeriCorps (see above)
2. Public Health AmeriCorps
Earlier this year, JVC Northwest announced that we also received funding from Public Health AmeriCorps, which will fund 20 JV positions centered around improving access to medical care for marginalized individuals through accompaniment. This new grant expands our partnership with AmeriCorps in new, critical ways. Read more about Public Health AmeriCorps here.
3. Advocacy / Ministry (Independent)
There are areas of service that JVC Northwest values—such as advocacy around social and ecological justice issues or spiritual support and programming—that fall outside of the scope of AmeriCorps. To stay true to our mission and identity, we also offer independent, non-AmeriCorps positions.
Jesuit Volunteers serving in capacity building, public health, and advocacy or ministry positions all make up one JVC Northwest. We are grateful for the opportunities AmeriCorps has provided us in our journey to sustain, reimagine, and deepen this movement for social and ecological justice in the Pacific Northwest!