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Community Groups, Volunteers Uneasy Over Trump Budget Cuts

Serve Wisconsin Executive Director: Wisconsin May Lose Around $8M In AmeriCorps Funding

AmeriCorps volunteers
J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

Funding for federal volunteer programs would be eliminated under President Donald Trump’s proposed budget. The cut could affect the number of volunteers working across Wisconsin.

President Trump’s budget cuts funding for the Corporation for National and Community Service. That means Wisconsin could lose more than $8 million in AmeriCorps funding that goes to community programs statewide, said Serve Wisconsin Executive Director Jeanne Duffy.

“Which is matched by slightly over $4 million in state and private funding,” she said. “Then, for example, over 19,000 people in the state of Wisconsin receive health education through AmeriCorps members.”

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Duffy said the loss of AmeriCorps funding would also impact services like after-school programs and camps for children with disabilities and veterans, as well as programs aiding homeless youth and those seeking a high school equivalency degree. The cuts would also impact young adults who volunteer their time after high school or college.

“The reason people serve is it’s a great chance to get some hands-on career experience, some job training, maybe get to see if they’re interested in this career field,” she said. “They get to learn about other people and cultures that might be out of their everyday life, but, after a year of serving, they get slightly over $5,000 in an education award.”

If the federal dollars were eliminated, Duffy said programs statewide would most likely be cut in half — that is if private and state funding sources remain stable.

Wisconsin has around 750 AmeriCorps members who provide about 1 million hours of service annually. Around 80,000 people take part in AmeriCorps each year nationwide. The Trump administration said the cuts are part of efforts to boost defense spending and focus on effective programs.