Spotlight: CNCS

Which federal agency was formed “to engage Americans of all ages and backgrounds in service to meet community needs”? The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) engages more than 5 million Americans in service through three major programs: Senior Corps, AmeriCorps and Learn and Serve America. Its mission is to “improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering.” It offers people opportunities to participate in a wide array of educational, environmental, public safety, homeland security and other types of projects. Participants mentor and tutor at-risk youth, help rebuild communities struck by natural disasters, assist seniors in living independently, support veterans and military families and much more.

Formerly known as the Corporation for National Service (CNS), CNCS was created by the National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993.  It merged the work and staffs of two predecessor agencies, ACTION and the Commission on National and Community Service. CNCS is led by a board of directors and a chief executive officer appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. Its headquarters are at 1201 New York Avenue, N.W., in Washington, D.C. The corporation also maintains state offices in all 50 states (as well as in American Samoa, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico) that conduct public outreach and program support, and are directly responsible for developing grants and projects and for overseeing all Senior Corps and AmeriCorps projects within their states or territories.

CNCS collaborates with state service commissions, state education agencies, national nonprofit organizations and private corporations to promote its mission. It provides annual grants that help these types of groups support local organizations in administering community service and service-learning projects and programs; its volunteers have enabled tens of thousands of nonprofit and faith-based service organizations to increase their capacity and effectiveness. President Obama’s FY 2013 budget requested $1.063 billion for the CNCS, an increase of $13.8 million over the FY 2012 funding level.

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