RD523 - Report to the Virginia General Assembly on the Work of the Governor's Advisory Board on Service and Volunteerism for 2016/17

Executive Summary:

Section 2.2-2478-2.2-2483 of the Code of Virginia charges the Governor's Advisory Board on Service and Volunteerism 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. The following report documents the efforts and results achieved through the collaborative efforts of DSS staff and the Governor's Advisory Board on Service and Volunteerism July 2016-June 2017 to meet the power and duties of the Board as established in 2.2-2481:

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 and (ii) develop, implement, and evaluate the Virginia State Service Plan, which outlines strategies for supporting and expanding national and community service throughout the Commonwealth.

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

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

4. Assist the Department of Social Services 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 for publication as a report document as provided in the procedures of the Division of Legislative Automated Systems for the processing of legislative documents and reports. The chairman of the Board shall submit to the Governor and the General Assembly an annual executive summary of the interim activity and work of the Board no later than the first day of each regular session of the General Assembly. The executive summary shall be submitted for publication as a report document as provided in the procedures of the Division of Legislative Automated Systems for the processing of legislative documents and reports and shall be posted on the General Assembly's website.

Major activities and outcomes achieved during this report period include:

• More than 5,600 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 610 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.

• In 2016/17, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) provided more than $12,710,000 (including Segal AmeriCorps Educational awards) to support Virginia communities through national service initiatives. Through this public-private partnership, this federal investment leveraged an additional $15,270,000 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 Advisory Board helped sponsor the third Governor's Summit at Averett University which brought together college leaders to explore ways to promote the Service Year within their institutions and which resulted in the formation of the Campus Compact for Virginia.

• 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. Virginia Department of Human Resource Management reports that the number of current State employees who previously served in national service programs increased from 35 in 2015 to 114 in 2017.

• The annual Virginia Conference on Service and Volunteerism hosted nearly 400 community service leaders and national service members from across the Commonwealth, May 16-17, 2017, in Chesterfield County. Two full days of training workshops were provided. Attendees also participated in service projects on-site benefiting Operation Gratitude, McGuire Veterans Hospital, Send Kids the World, and Family Lifeline.

• In partnership with the Virginia Association of Counties and the Virginia Municipal League, the Commonwealth celebrated the 5th Annual Mayor and County Recognition Day for National Service where 40 local community officials thanked and recognized the thousands of individuals who work to solve pressing human, educational, environmental, and public safety needs.

• There was strong presence of the National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) in Virginia. These teams of trained AmeriCorps members assisted in Virginia with projects such as Hurricane Matthew recovery, strengthening services for people experiencing homelessness in the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula, and construction of mountain bike trails in Norton as a part of a community wide economic development project to bring in more adventure tourism. NCCC reports that, including FEMA projects, there were nineteen NCCC projects in Virginia during 2016/17 utilizing 142 AmeriCorps members contributing 33,197 hours of service.

• Working with the faith initiative Day to Serve, 450 volunteer service events were completed involving 15,100 volunteers and 40,500 hours of volunteer time. Day to Serve volunteers removed more than 2,400 bags of garbage and debris and collected over 195,400 pounds of food for Virginia's food banks.

• With the help of his Advisory Board, Governor McAuliffe selected and recognized the recipients of the 2017 Governor's Volunteerism and Community Service Awards. Winners, selected from 116 nominations, provided significant contributions in far reaching areas including providing free dental care, offering financial planning services, donating food supplies to students, educating the public about health, and assisting homeless individuals and families. The annual survey research conducted by the Corporation for National & Community Service provides volunteer statistics for Virginia for 2015 (most current available): 2 million Virginians volunteered; 30.6 percent of Virginians volunteer; volunteered more than 273 million hours; $6.1 billion in economic impact; Virginia ranks in the top half of U.S. states 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.