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Senator Hirono Announces Over $4.76 Million in AmeriCorps Funding for Three Hawaii Nonprofits

HONOLULU, HI – Today, Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) announced that three Hawaii organizations have received over $4.76 million in AmeriCorps funding from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency responsible for AmeriCorps and other national service programs. Funding from CNCS will go to Kupu, Teach for America Hawaii, and the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii.

“AmeriCorps members are an integral part of our communities – they provide critical support and help build the capacity of nonprofits, our schools, and the individuals they serve,” Senator Hirono said. “This federal funding is a valuable investment in Hawaii’s future and will go on to support educational opportunities for students, increase environmental stewardship, and help low-income individuals and families receive access to key legal resources. I congratulate the successful grantees and thank the AmeriCorps members for their commitment to the communities they serve.”

“It is a humbling honor to have been selected by the Corporation for National Community Service as a recipient of such a meaningful award. AmeriCorps empowers Kupu to further engage young adults in service around conservation and sustainability throughout our state,” John Leong, the CEO of Kupu, said. “It allows us to assist over 100 partners in their critical cultural, environmental, and resource management work while elevating young adults by providing them with transferable work skills and pathways into related employment and education fields.”

“AmeriCorps Advocates through Project Kaulike play a critical role in providing much needed legal assistance to vulnerable individuals and guidance in navigating the civil legal system,” Angela Lovitt, Legal Aid Society of Hawaii's Deputy Director and AmeriCorps Program Director, said. “Members serve in our offices statewide, in our court self-help centers, and provide outreach and education in the community. We are grateful to Hawaii's congressional delegation for their continued support of the AmeriCorps program.”

Approximately $2.36 million in funding will be distributed to local nonprofits and $1.70 million in funding will be distributed as educational scholarships for AmeriCorps members. The Hawaii Commission on National and Community Service, a Governor-appointed state service commission, will also receive $705,000 to distribute to Hawaii organizations that will support additional AmeriCorps members in the coming months. These grants will support 390 AmeriCorps members.

Below is a listing of Hawaii’s 2019 AmeriCorps competitive grant recipients:

  • Kupu: As part of its Environmental Stewardship program, AmeriCorps members will remove invasive species, establish native vegetation, and remediate streams and trails at 90 service sites managed by federal, state, and community-based nonprofit partner conservation agencies on the islands of Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Maui, and Hawaii Island.
  • Teach for America Hawaii: AmeriCorps members will be responsible for teaching for two years in low-income and disadvantaged schools in Hawaii, specifically on Oahu and Hawaii Island.
  • Legal Aid Society of Hawaii: AmeriCorps members will help low-income residents of Hawaii navigate the justice system and connect with the legal information and resources they need to work through their civil legal matters. AmeriCorps members will serve in Legal Aid offices throughout the state, as well as in courthouse based self-help centers.

The grants announced today will leverage an estimated additional $3.6 million from the private sector, foundations, and other sources – further increasing the return on this federal investment. The 2019 competition prioritized investments in economic opportunity, education, gubernatorial and mayoral initiatives, veterans and military families, disaster services, and initiatives to build safer communities.

Earlier this month, Senator Hirono sent a letter in support of CNCS and called for an increase in the program’s funding, citing CNCS’s vital role in providing “grants that support and promote national service and volunteerism.” In 2017, Senator Hirono also cosponsored S.Res.86, a bipartisan resolution recognizing the contributions of AmeriCorps members and alumni to the lives of the people of the United States. This year marks the 25th anniversary of AmeriCorps, and since the program’s inception in 1994, more than 1 million Americans have served in the program, providing more than 1.5 billion hours of service and more than $3.6 billion in education scholarships.

The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages millions of Americans in service through its AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs and leads the nation’s volunteering and service efforts.