RD531 - Report to the Virginia General Assembly on the Work of the Governor’s Advisory Board on Service and Volunteerism for 2017/18
Section 2.2-2478-2.2-2482 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 for July 2017-June 2018 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 3,900 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 500 locations, these citizens tutored and mentored children, helped fight the opioid epidemic, improved our State parks, helped seniors live independently, responded to disasters, increased economic opportunity, and recruited and managed volunteers.
• In 2017/18, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) provided more than $11,600,000 in Federal funding (including Segal AmeriCorps Educational awards) to support Virginia communities through national service initiatives. Through this public-private partnership, this federal investment leveraged an additional $8,520,870 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.
• 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 217 organizations across the Commonwealth on May 21-22, 2018 in Chesterfield County. Two full days of training workshops were provided. Attendees also participated in on-site service projects benefiting Hunter Holmes McGuire Medical Center and Housing Families First.
• In partnership with the Virginia Association of Counties and the Virginia Municipal League, the Commonwealth celebrated the National Service Recognition Day (formerly Mayor and County Recognition Day for National Service). Mayors and county officials across the state shined a spotlight on the impact of AmeriCorps and Senior Corps and thanked and recognized the thousands of individuals who work to solve pressing human, educational, environmental, and public safety needs. A record 54 city and county leaders across Virginia signed on this year to show their support for national service.
• 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 fighting the Gate Mountain Fire in Rockingham County, clearing acres of land and repairing the historic Evergreen Cemetery, and constructing mountain bike trails in Norton as part of a community wide economic development project to bring in more adventure tourism. NCCC teams, including FEMACorps teams, contributed more than 31,000 total hours from 129 members. This translates to an economic benefit in Virginia of almost $840,000.
• Working with the faith initiative Day to Serve, 400 volunteer service events were completed and thousands of pounds of food were donated to foodbanks. Day to Serve is a joint project of the Governors of Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia and the Mayor of the District of Columbia which encourages volunteerism among people from different faith groups and community organizations to improve the communities in which we live.
• With the help of his Advisory Board, Governor Northam selected and recognized the impact of volunteerism in Virginia and formally announced the recipients of the 2018 Governor's Volunteerism and Community Service Awards. Winners, selected from more than 100 nominations, provided significant contributions in far reaching areas including providing tutorial services to special needs students, providing assistive equipment to children with disabilities, educating students and families about healthy living, teaching and mentoring students, and providing homes for pets when their military families are deployed. The annual survey research conducted by the Corporation for National & Community Service provides volunteer statistics for Virginia in 2015 (most current available): 2 million Virginians volunteered; 30.6% of Virginians volunteered for 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.