RD573 - Governor’s Advisory Board on Service and Volunteerism 2015-2016 – December 2016

Executive Summary:
Article 25 (§ 2.2-2478 et seq.) of Chapter 24 of Title 2.2 charges the Governor's Advisory Board on Service and Volunteerism (Board) with advising on matters related to promotion and development of national service in the Commonwealth and meeting the provisions of the federal National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993. The Board was established in compliance with the provisions of the National and Communities Trust Act of 1993, under which Virginia receives AmeriCorps State grant funds. Section 2.2-2481 (5) requires an annual report on Board activity. This report documents the efforts and results achieved through the collaborative efforts of Board and Department of Social Services (DSS) for the period of July 2015 -June 2016.

The power and duties of the Board as established in § 2.2-2481 include:

1. Advise the Governor, the Secretaries of Health and Human Resources, Education, and Natural Resources, the Assistant to the Governor for Commonwealth Preparedness, the State Board of Social Services, and other appropriate officials on national and community service programs in Virginia in order to (i) fulfill the responsibilities and duties prescribed by the federal Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and (ii) develop, implement, and evaluate the Virginia State Service Plan.

2. Promote use of AmeriCorps programs to meet Virginia's most pressing human, educational, environmental, and public safety needs.

3. Collaborate with DSS and other public and private entities to recognize and call attention to the significant community service contributions of Virginia citizens and organizations.

4. Assist DSS to promote the involvement of faith-based organizations in community and national service efforts.

5. Submit an annual report to the Governor and the General Assembly of the activity and work of the Board no later than the first day of each regular session of the General Assembly.

Major activities and outcomes achieved during this report period include:

• More than 5,700 people of all ages and backgrounds helped to meet local needs, strengthen communities, and increase civic engagement through national service in Virginia. Serving at more than 660 locations, these citizens tutored and mentored children, supported veterans and military families, provided health services, restored the environment, responded to disasters, increased economic opportunity, and recruited and managed volunteers.

• The CNCS provided more than $12,760,000 to support Virginia communities through national service initiatives. Through this public-private partnership, this federal investment leveraged an additional $6,980,000 in other resources to strengthen community impact. These initiatives were carried out by national service members and volunteers participating in AmeriCorps, VISTA, the Foster Grandparent Program, the Retired Senior Volunteer Program and Senior Companions.

• New collaborations with the Governor's Office and public and private colleges and universities resulted in a Virginia College Compact that will promote a service year among 18-24 year olds. The Board helped sponsor two Governor's summits at the College of William & Mary and James Madison University which brought together college presidents to explore ways to promote the Service Year within their institutions.

• In recognition of the unique and transferable skills that participants develop during national service, Virginia became the first state in the nation to be recognized as an "Employer of National Service." This initiative builds a talent pipeline to connect AmeriCorps and Peace Corps alumni with leading employers from private, public, and nonprofit sectors to create recruitment, hiring, and advancement opportunities as well as creating easier access by hiring managers to highly skilled and committed national service alumni.

• The annual Virginia Conference on Service and Volunteerism hosted nearly 540 community service leaders and national service members from across the Commonwealth September 30 - October 1, 2015 in Roanoke. Two full days of training workshops were provided including a demonstration of Microsoft's Global Initiative. Attendees also participated in service projects throughout the Roanoke Valley.

• In partnership with Virginia Association of Counties and the Virginia Municipal League, the Commonwealth celebrated the 4th Annual Mayor and County Recognition Day for National Service, where 36 local community officials recognized the thousands of individuals who work to solve pressing human, educational, environmental, and public safety needs.

• There was increased presence of the National Civilian Community Corps in Virginia. These teams of trained AmeriCorps members assisted in Virginia with projects such as: the Richmond Bike race, disaster cleanup, and trails for persons with disabilities. Altogether, 15 NCCC teams spent time in Virginia in 2015, compared with 6 in 2014.

• The Governor and First Lady received the National 2016 State Leadership Award from Voices for National Service in recognition of their leadership roles in promoting national service.

• Veteran pinning ceremonies were held in several communities to recognize those veterans that devoted themselves to both military and national service.

• Working with the faith initiative Day to Serve, more than 600 service projects were completed including a 30,000-pound donation of food to Feeding America Southwest Virginia.

• Norfolk was one of ten cities national selected as a new pilot site for Resilience AmeriCorps. As a partnership with CNCS, the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Rockefeller Foundation, the pilot program will recruit, train, and embed AmeriCorps VISTA members to help develop plans for building resilience in vulnerable communities disproportionately affected by the impacts of climate change.

• With the help of the Board, Governor McAuliffe selected and recognized the impact of volunteerism in Virginia and formally announced the recipients of the 2016 Governor's Volunteerism and Community Service Awards. Winners provided significant contributions in far reaching areas including improving the environment, helping homeless youth, providing free cancer care, increasing voter registration among young adults, and offering free physician services at a free clinic. These award winners represented but a few of the many volunteers in Virginia. According to the annual survey research conducted by the CNCS for Virginia for 2014 (most current available): 2+ million Virginians volunteered; 30.1% of Virginians volunteer; volunteered 311+ million hours; and $7.8 billion in economic impact. Virginia ranks in top half in U.S. for volunteerism.

The accomplishments and activities of the Governor's Advisory Board on Service and Volunteerism helped the citizens of the Commonwealth improve the lives of their fellow Virginians through service. Working hand in hand with local partners, the Board tapped the ingenuity and can-do spirit of Virginians to tackle some of the most pressing challenges facing the Commonwealth.