A Time for Reflection

With the holidays fast approaching, we find ourselves reflecting on 2017 and preparing for a new year. CaliforniaVolunteers and our grantees weathered many fires, literally and figuratively. We’ve endured the threatening of our AmeriCorps funding and Napa/Sonoma and Los Angeles struggling to respond and rebuild from disasters, to name a few. And through it all we emerged with secured funding, a stronger service network, and your support in rebuilding impacted communities. As the year comes to an end, we want to take the time to thank you all! Your selfless desire to serve your state and country remind all of us of the true strength of service. We are proud of what we’ve done together.


Top 10 Highlights:


10. We launched a statewide AmeriCorps education strategy

CaliforniaVolunteers staff, partnering with the AmeriCorps Alliance and program partners, conducted 6 regional roundtable meetings across the state – connecting with grantees and stakeholders to discuss service in their communities, California, and the nation. By coming together and learning how to effectively share our impact with elected officials, service funding was saved from the chopping block.


9. We implemented a new regional approach to recruitment

Building off the regional recruitment roundtable discussions, we organized a new regional recruitment strategy. By sharing best practices and resources, we will be able to improve AmeriCorps Member recruitment statewide.


8. We assisted disaster responses in the Gulf Coast

When hurricanes hit the Gulf Coast, CaliforniaVolunteers and California AmeriCorps Members responded – working in partnership with state commissions and the federal government, our state was able to provide essential disaster relief services in volunteer and donation management and disaster clean up to some of the hardest hit areas on the Gulf Coast. We were there for our colleagues and communities in Florida.


7. We deployed resources to Northern California

As the October wildfires roared through Northern California, CaliforniaVolunteers Staff and AmeriCorps Members from the California AmeriCorps Disaster Team (CADT), Napa County Office of Education, and the National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) worked to provide needed assistance in volunteer and donation management. We worked together to help communities come together and give their talent and donations to make a difference.


6. We honored California’s service champions

At the annual Governor’s Volunteer and Service Awards held in May 2017, we honored the work and legacy of key service champions – Diane Solinger (Google – Hoffman Prize), Jack Russi (The Jefferson Awards Foundation – Volunteer of the Year), Alice Kellogg (VIP Service Enterprise – AmeriCorps Member of the Year), AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC – Disaster Volunteer Program of the Year), and more. We recognized and honored our service champions.


5. We continued to lead in service innovations

We officially launched the AmeriCorps Advantage, with the first edition distributed to 2017-2018 AmeriCorps Members. We shared this innovation on the national level and are working to expand the AmeriCorps Advantage nationwide.


4. We collaborated with local programs to improve data collection and evaluation

Through the Project Impact initiative, AmeriCorps grantees who participated in this program reported increased capacity in their ability to evaluate their programs. Participants self-reported increased abilities in key evaluation skills with ‘designing an evaluation process’ increasing 58.74%. Our programs can better prove their impact and adjust their design.


3. We hosted foreign delegations to share best practices on service and disaster preparedness

Director of Disaster and Volunteer Preparedness (DVP) Suu-Va Tai and Chief Service Officer Karen Baker were able to share the work of CaliforniaVolunteers in regards to service and disaster donation and volunteer management with representatives from Chile, China, Argentina, and more. We continue to share our best practices with the Globe.


2. We continued to build our AmeriCorps portfolio

For this past program year (2016-17), CaliforniaVolunteers awarded over $34 million in AmeriCorps funding to support 62 programs and 4,000 AmeriCorps members.  Our programs leveraged an additional $46.6 million in non-CNCS funds to provide critical resources and services benefitting over 296,000 Californians. By working together, we are bringing more federal resources home to California to solve more community problems.


1. We are thankful for you!