Flint's Place-Based AmeriCorps Network
Inspired by the national call to make a year of full-time national service a cultural expectation, common opportunity, and civic rite of passage for every young American, Flint has committed to being a demonstration site for what that looks like at the local level. Local leaders outlined a commitment to have 200 AmeriCorps members in Flint, a ten-fold increase, by 2019. They surpassed that goal by 2018 with over 457 AmeriCorps members serving throughout the city. These members serve as the boots-on-the-ground to meet the community-identified vision outlined in the City of Flint Master Plan.
The community's strategy to increase the number and effectiveness of national service members is led by the Flint National Service Accelerator, housed at the United Way of Genesee County. This model supports organizations and members, provides coordination for recruitment, and helps organizations offset the costs of hosting members. This unique model has led to tremendous results and is being looked upon as a model for other communities. Flint was named in the first cohort of Service Year Impact Communities through Service Year Alliance.
National Service members partner with local agencies and nonprofit organizations to build capacity and provide direct service in the areas of education, water crisis recovery, neighborhood development, and healthy futures. Some of Flint's national service programs include: Flint Community School Corps, Flint Urban Safety and Health Corps, Boys and Girls Club of Greater Flint VISTA Program, FoodCorps, Genesee County Opioid Abuse Prevention VISTA Program and more. Learn more about the many different program in Flint here!
Interested in serving with AmeriCorps in Flint? Check out the open AmeriCorps opportunities here!
About the Accelerator Model
The Flint National Service Accelerator was created to increase the number and effectiveness of AmeriCorps members and foster a culture a service in Flint and Genesee County. To accomplish this goal, the Accelerator focuses on providing support in the following areas:
The Accelerator removes the financial barriers to Flint service sites by covering a majority of the cost share requirements for AmeriCorps members through the National Service Fund. Nonprofits and community agencies who have been approved to receive AmeriCorps members can apply to the National Service Fund annually. In the 2019-2020 AmeriCorps program year, the National Service Fund directly supported 78 Flint AmeriCorps members and indirectly supported an additional 21 members.
Networking & Capacity Building
The Accelerator strives to foster collaboration and resource sharing between the various AmeriCorps programs and members in Flint. Every month, the Accelerator hosts meetings where members can connect and network across service sites. In addition, members have the opportunity to participate in various workshops and professional development opportunities to better equip them to support their host sites and prepare them for Life After AmeriCorps.
One of the foundational goals for the Accelerator was to advocate for a cultural of service in Flint. The Accelerator promotes national service in Flint through recruiting new service sites and encouraging Flint community members to consider a year of national service. Over 75% of AmeriCorps members serving Flint are from the Flint and Genesee County community themselves and that standard will remain a priority for the Accelerator.
What is AmeriCorps?
AmeriCorps is a network of national service programs, made up of three primary programs that each take a different approach to improving lives and fostering civic engagement. AmeriCorps members commit their time to address critical community needs like increasing academic achievement, mentoring youth, fighting poverty, sustaining national parks, preparing for disasters, and more.
AmeriCorps engages more than 75,000 Americans in intensive service each year at nonprofits, schools, public agencies, and community and faith-based groups across the country. Members serve directly with organizations and nonprofits to tackle our nation's most pressing challenges. AmeriCorps offers opportunities focused on the following key areas: education, environmental stewardship, healthy futures, economic opportunity, disaster response, and veterans & military families.
The Accelerator and the Water Crisis
Want to learn more about the Flint National Service Accelerator and how the model helped the community respond to the Flint Water Crisis?
The Accelerator teamed with the Social Policy Research Associates to complete an evaluation of the Accelerator and its place-based national service model. Through interviews, surveys, and focus groups, SPR produced the following review of the Accelerator in 2017. You can look over the results here or click on one of the individual reports below. For community leaders, change-makers, and innovators interested in the Flint model, check out our toolkit on how to bring a similar model to your area.
- The Service Imperative: Revitalizing Commuity Through the Flint National Service Accelerator
- Profiles in Community Building: Service Members of Greater Flint
- Closing the Gap: Service Members in Flint Community Schools
- Community Wellness: Service Members in a Healthy Flint
- Safe and Thriving: Service Members in the Neighborhoods of Flint
- Raising Commuity Resilience: Service Members and Flint's Water Crisis
- TOOLKIT: In Service of Stronger Communities: Revitalizing Commuity Through the Flint National Service Accelerator