Cross-Sector Leaders Urge Senator Coons to Support Local Nonprofits and the Recovery Effort with Amendments to the CORPS Act (S. 3964) to Make Service More Inclusive and Accessible to All Americans

Sep 4, 2020 8:00 AM ET
Press Release

OAKLAND, Calif., September 4, 2020 /3BL Media/ - Nonprofit, academic and business leaders have launched a national policy initiative to urge Senator Coons, and the 17 co-sponsors of the $16.6B CORPS Act (S. 3964), to add $350M in nonprofit capacity building and digital infrastructure funding to help communities hard hit by COVID-19 more effectively engage and mobilize all Americans willing to step to support their community and the recovery effort ahead.

Last week the group, including representatives from the United Way Worldwide, Independent Sector, VolunteerMatch, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, Microsoft Tech for Social Impact, MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership, Association for Leaders in Volunteer Engagement and others, penned a letter to Senator Coons and the current co-sponsors of the CORPS Act including Senators Wicker, Harris, Cornyn and Booker to educate them on the devastating impact social distancing and fear have had on local nonprofits and volunteering. See The Impact of COVID-19 on Volunteering: A Two Month Comparison.

To step up to these challenges, and the racial and economic inequalities the crisis has intensified, communities will need better ways to work together across sectors, and the status quo, to make service inclusive in order to mobilize the millions of Americans needed to rebuild, reimagine and reconnect. The CORPS Act is a bold call to expand the ethic and impact of service in America. In the wake of crisis, however, this call-to-service cannot be limited to only some Americans, it needs to be relevant, inclusive and accessible to all.

To make the CORPS Act more inclusive the group is recommending specific ‘Friendly Amendments’ to S. 3964 to support local nonprofits and scale America’s capacity to serve in the wake of crisis:

(1)  by authorizing $350,000,000 in fiscal year 2020 to support COVID-19 relief and recovery with grants through an expanded Nonprofit Capacity Building Program section 198S of the National and Community Service Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12653s)

(2)  by adding the “expansion of the digital infrastructure necessary to effectively mobilize and coordinate volunteers at scale” to the COVID-19 ‘Emergency Priorities’ to be set forth in Section 122(f) of the National and Community Service Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12572(f) for fiscal years 2020 through 2023

“We believe deeply in the values and virtue of service. Together, in the wake of crisis, we are collaborating with other leaders to embolden these values with national policies and public funding that make service more inclusive and bring it into the digital age at a moment when our country needs it most.” – Greg Baldwin, CEO, VolunteerMatch

In the U.S. there are 1.2M public charities and 330M Americans. 80% of these nonprofits depend on volunteers to serve their community. Despite the public significance of these facts, America has no coherent national policies, strategies or digital infrastructure to support effective volunteer engagement or successfully connect volunteers with the organizations that need them -- when they need them most. COVID-19 has exposed the extraordinary human cost of these policy gaps that threaten to leave food banks, mentoring programs, health service providers and tens of thousands of other essential nonprofit service providers without the volunteers they depend on -- and communities without the data or digital tools they need to respond.

To recover from COVID-19 local communities will need the support of a strong nonprofit sector and the digital infrastructure necessary to come together through service to build the free, just, and equitable future America deserves. That vision begins now in the Senate with amendments to the CORPS Act to ensure that it is able to fulfill its purpose “to support opportunities for all individuals in the United States to engage in service.” 

VolunteerMatch is proud to participate in and collaborate with such a purpose-driven coalition. For more information, visit: https://amend3964.carrd.co/ 

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S. 3964 (CORPS Act) seeks to amend the national service laws to prioritize national service programs and projects that are directly related to the response to and recovery from the COVID–19 public health emergency, and for other purposes. Friendly amendments to the bill as proposed would add $350M to the $16.6B Bill to support local COVID-19 relief and recovery with nonprofit capacity building grants administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service to support effective volunteer engagement and scale the digital backbone for effective cross-sector volunteer mobilization and coordination in America.

Service for All represents a growing cross-sector coalition of leaders committed to helping nonprofits, businesses and public sector leaders work together to respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency by scaling America’s capacity to effectively engage and mobilize volunteers.

About VOLUNTEERMATCH

Founded in 1998, VolunteerMatch is the most effective way to recruit highly qualified volunteers for nonprofits. We are the largest nonprofit network in the world with the most nonprofits and volunteer opportunities. We believe everyone should have the chance to make a difference. That's why we make it easy for good people and good causes to connect. We've connected millions of people with great places to volunteer and helped tens of thousands of organizations better leverage volunteers to create real impact.