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March 24, 2017

Valued education nonprofits face significant staffing shortages if AmeriCorps funding is eliminated

For Immediate Release

Contact: Rachel Minnick, Executive Director, Reading Partners Sacramento
(916) 220-7224  |

Jeff Owen, Executive Director, City Year Sacramento
(916) 661-7038  |

Essential Sacramento community programs like Reading Partners & City Year to face critical resource challenges if national service funding is slashed

(Sacramento, CA) March 9, 2017 — March 4 through March 11 is AmeriCorps Week, a time to salute AmeriCorps members and alumni for their commitment to national service and to articulate the profound impact AmeriCorps has on both communities and the lives of those who serve.

Several weeks ago, it was reported that the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency that supports AmeriCorps, has been included in a proposed list of federal agencies to be eliminated in the FY 2018 federal budget. There is a strong bi-partisan history of support for national service, in large part because it both lessens dependence on government and voters are overwhelmingly in favor of it. CNCS mobilizes more than 80,000 people annually, including hundreds at Reading Partners and thousands at City Year, who are working together to provide critical services to local communities across the country. This willingness of our citizens to come together—to engage deeply in our communities—and create real change is what makes CNCS an indispensable partner for so many organizations like Reading Partners and City Year. This triple bottom line: uniting Americans of all backgrounds, offering a transformative opportunity to those who serve, and bringing unprecedented skills and willpower to solve local problems, is what makes national service so powerfully unique—and essential.

In the 2016-17 school year, over 360 AmeriCorps members are performing volunteer service years with Reading Partners in 14 metro areas across the country (including 12 AmeriCorps members right here in Sacramento). AmeriCorps members are invaluable to Reading Partners and the 11,000 students from under-resourced schools served nationwide and over 500 locally.

“AmeriCorps members who serve with Reading Partners Sacramento help hundreds of elementary school students read on grade level by 4th grade. Losing this funding would mean these students wouldn’t get the extra support they need and may fall so far behind in reading, they may never catch up,” said Rachel Minnick, executive director of Reading Partners Sacramento.

City Year members

City Year is another organization that leverages AmeriCorps members to make an impact in the community. This year, more than 3,100 City Year AmeriCorps members serve in hundreds of schools across 28 U.S. cities, reaching nearly 200,000 students. A 2015 study showed that schools that partner with City Year were 2-3 times more likely to improve on math and English assessments. The AmeriCorps experience also transforms the lives of the young adults who serve, providing skills, pathways to work, and a post-service education award that makes their own higher education more accessible. In Sacramento, City Year partners with 7 schools, serving 4,000 students in high poverty communities, helping local students and schools succeed.

“The loss of AmeriCorps funding would have serious ramifications for City Year Sacramento and would ripple out to the communities, families, and children that we serve,” said Jeff Owen, City Year Sacramento executive director. 

For Reading Partners and City Year, if CNCS were to be eliminated, that would mean that AmeriCorps positions including site coordinators, impact managers, regional site coordinators, literacy leads and volunteer coordinators would all be at risk of being cut or significantly reduced. AmeriCorps members play an integral role in making it possible for Reading Partners and City Year to provide thousands of students with the early literacy support they need to succeed in reading and in life. Employing a model that combines hundreds of AmeriCorps members with thousands of volunteer community tutors is what has enabled Reading Partners to become a proven, cost-efficient early literacy solution that delivers $2 in resources to students for every $1 invested in the program. City Year matches every dollar received from CNCS with $4 from private, philanthropic, and local sources.  A study by economists at Columbia University also found that every federal dollar invested in national service programs yields a 4-to-1 return to society in terms of higher earnings, increased output and other community benefits

How Reading Partners Works

Reading Partners is a national nonprofit that mobilizes community volunteers in Sacramento to provide individualized reading support to students in under-resourced public elementary schools and equip them with the foundational skills they need to be able to read at grade level by fourth grade. Reading Partners volunteers are matched one-on-one with students in kindergarten through fourth grade who are reading anywhere from a few months to two and a half years below grade level. Volunteers utilize an easy-to-follow, individualized lesson plan each week, specific to their students’ needs in order to meet them at their level and help build both literacy skills and confidence. Tutors typically commit to one hour a week with the same student for the duration of the academic school year.

How City Year Works

City Year Sacramento deploys 66 AmeriCorps members in 8-16 person teams to seven local schools, serving as “near peer” mentors, tutors, and role models to over 4,000 students who need us the most.  City Year Sacramento AmeriCorps members work full-time 5 days a week 10 hours a day – often times more – providing high-impact student, classroom and school-wide support to help students stay in school and on-track to graduate from high school, ready for college and career success. Through their year of service, City Year AmeriCorps members gain invaluable skills and experience, grow as civic leaders, and develop a lifelong commitment to the common good. Nationally, City Year was started almost 30 years ago in Boston and now serves in 28 cities, deploying 3,100 AmeriCorps members to serve 196,000 students in over 290 schools.

With only 1 in 4 fourth graders from low-income families in Sacramento reading at grade level, thousands of kids are counting on organizations like Reading Partners and City Year to be a steady presence for them as they gain one of the most critical skills needed to be our future leaders.

To learn more about Reading Partners and City Year, please visit and

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