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Raise Your Glass for AmeriCorps! It’s turning 21!

September 12, 2015

Ben and Mary HeadshotToday’s guest blog is written by AmeriCorps Alums Co-Executive Directors Ben Duda and Mary Bruce. 

When we turned 21, it was kind of a big deal. And so is AmeriCorps’ 21st. It’s been an incredible year (see the highlights here) and an inspiring and impactful 21 years. Drinking aside, 21 is a final threshold into adulthood in American culture (you can finally rent a car in most states!). Shouldn’t we celebrate?! So let’s raise a glass to AmeriCorps!

Now put the glass down … This is serious business. At a time when Congress has threatened to cut AmeriCorps (again), it’s more important than ever to celebrate the day AmeriCorps became a reality and the 21 years of impact since. 

Consider this:

  • For the first time in the country’s history, the national on-time high school graduation rate surpassed 80 percent, but low-income students are still graduating at a rate that’s almost 15 percentage points below the rate for their non-low-income peers.*
  • The veteran unemployment rate is now below the non-veteran rate, but the U.S. has nearly 50,000 homeless vets.**
  • The nonprofit sector has seen modest progress in increasing racial/ethnic, gender, and age diversity, but less so at leadership levels. Women are far less likely to be CEOs of larger nonprofits, and a full 25% of boards remain all white.***

The high school dropout crisis, veteran’s affairs, employment equity … these are just some of the issues that AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps alums have positively impacted over the last 21 years.

Square-Graphic_AmeriCorpsAlums-Celebrates-AmeriCorps21As Corps members, we serve. As alums, we keep serving and living out the AmeriCorps pledge to “get things done.” We do this in all sectors, in all cause areas, as employees, and bosses, as board members and volunteers, as neighbors and parents. We make communities safer, stronger, and healthier.

We’re kind of a big deal. So, join us in making sure everyone knows AmeriCorps is 21, that these 21 years made a difference, and that we want to see 21 more years of AmeriCorps. Click here to tweet a “Happy Birthday, AmeriCorps” message or copy and paste it to share on Facebook.

Happy birthday, AmeriCorps!

* High School Graduation Facts: Ending the Dropout Crisis, by America’s Promise Alliance, updated May 29, 2015

** 2015 Veterans Civic Health Index, America’s Greatest Assets: How Military Veterans are Strengthening Our Communities, by Julia Tivald and Kei Kawashima.

*** Leading with Intent: A National Index of Nonprofit Board Practices, by BoardSource, January 2015

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