FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
National Service Opportunities to be Expanded with Passage of American Rescue Plan COVID-19 Relief Bill
Serve America Together Celebrates Major Step Forward in Effort to Make National Service More Accessible
WASHINGTON, DC (March 10, 2021) – Serve America Together, a campaign working to make national service part of growing up in America, released the following statements today applauding congressional leaders on the passage of the American Rescue Plan COVID-19 relief bill. The legislation, which now awaits the signature of President Joe Biden, prioritizes $1 billion to help communities across the country recover from the pandemic through the expansion of national service opportunities. This additional funding allows for an increase in the national service living allowance, making the opportunity to serve more accessible to all Americans, and represents the largest investment in national service in decades.
“As America turns its attention to putting the COVID-19 pandemic behind us, we can take pride in knowing our recovery can be accelerated with this major investment in national service,” said Gen. (Ret.) Stan McChrystal, co-chair of the Serve America Together campaign and Chairperson of Service Year Alliance. “This funding will ensure that more young people have access to national service opportunities, more Americans can benefit from that service, and that we are moving forward in common purpose. The sense of shared responsibility developed through service is a critical component to helping our nation stand stronger as we recover from this pandemic.”
“Every community in America is hurting and it will take an extraordinary effort of collaboration and focus to ensure an equitable and just recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Jesse Colvin, CEO of Service Year Alliance, the nonprofit organization leading the Serve America Together campaign and aiming to make national service an expectation and opportunity for all young people. “This investment is a monumental first step towards making national service an opportunity for every young person who wants to serve. It will provide new, and previously out of reach, opportunities to young Americans who are eager to serve, and sets the stage for President Biden who has the opportunity to make service a cornerstone issue of his administration.”
“This expansion of national service opportunities is a testament to the American spirit,” said Arianna Huffington, Founder and CEO of Thrive Global and co-chair of the Serve America Together campaign. “We are reminded that we can only accomplish big things if we think creatively about the solutions needed to confront our most pressing challenges. This investment is a downpayment toward making national service a part of growing up in America and, at the same time, help millions of Americans who are in desperate need of a helping hand.”
“Pursuing a more perfect union compels us to turn to each other instead of on each other, especially in times of need. This investment in national service helps us do just that,” said former Governor Deval Patrick, co-chair of the Serve America Together campaign. “National service, alongside the other critical elements of the President’s Rescue Plan, will help us heal by strengthening our pandemic response, providing food security to Americans at a time of great need, and supporting our educators and students as they continue to struggle through to better days.”
“Recovering from all the ills brought about by this pandemic is not in the best interest of one political party or faction of society — it is in the best interest of the American people,” said former Representative Joe Heck, co-chair of the Serve America Together campaign. “As the former Chairman of the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service — and through my own service — I know first-hand that this expansion of national service can bolster our country’s recovery and strengthen our democracy. With this major investment, Congress has shown that we can create a new narrative around national service that inspires the next generation of leaders and changemakers and lays the groundwork for additional future investments in service.”
The Serve America Together campaign launched during the 2020 presidential race with a challenge to the presidential candidates and continued its push to make national service part of growing up in America by encouraging the Biden and Trump campaigns to prioritize national service through the release of letters signed by hundreds of national security, workforce development, and civic renewal thought leaders throughout the 2020 election and transition.
Recent polling data conducted by Change Research for the Serve America Together campaign show more than three-quarters of Americans support Congress passing legislation that would expand national service opportunities, such as AmeriCorps and the Peace Corps.
About Serve America Together
Serve America Together is a campaign to make national service part of growing up in America. The campaign is led by a coalition of over a dozen military and civilian service organizations as well as a group of bipartisan co-chairs including Gen. (Ret.) Stan McChrystal, Howard Schultz, Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Former Congressman Joe Heck, Former Gov. Deval Patrick, Arianna Huffington, Laura Lauder, Andrew Hauptman, and Jeff Huber. It is a project of Service Year Alliance, an organization working to make a year of paid, full-time service — a service year — a common expectation and opportunity for all young Americans. Learn more about Service Year Alliance at serviceyearalliance.org.