Newsletter – June 2007

AmeriCorps Conference – Take it Home

AmeriCorps LogoOn June 20-22, CaliforniaVolunteers hosted the annual California AmeriCorps conference at the Miyako Hotel in San Francisco. This year’s theme was “Take it Home”, which reflected CaliforniaVolunteers’ goal of providing practical information and tools that participants could take home to strengthen their programs. As indicated by the conference evaluations, the theme resonated with the attendees. CaliforniaVolunteers staff and the conference planning committee were thrilled with the results.

Over 200 representatives from more than 50 AmeriCorps programs participated in the conference this year. The newly revised program standards were launched at the conference, which were given high marks as a model for high quality AmeriCorps programs. In addition, due to increased focus on the financial viability of AmeriCorps programs, extensive training on financial provisions and planning was provided.

A special thanks to all the featured speakers at the event, including Daniel Zingale, senior advisor to the Governor and chief of staff to Maria Shriver, Orlando Ward from Hope for the Homeless, Elizabeth Lopez, a CaliforniaVolunteers Commissioner and two-time AmeriCorps member as well as Tim Quigley, executive director of Volunteer Center of Silicon Valley.

Presentation materials from the conference will be available online at Grantee Central in the near future.

California Readiness Campaign Convening

Volunteers putting out a fireOn June 15, CaliforniaVolunteers convened 30 experts in disaster preparedness and response, emergency management, hazard communication, advertising, research and the non-profit sector in Sebastopol to discuss the state’s role in preparing Californians for the next disaster.

Participants agreed that a strategic, statewide approach was necessary to achieve common readiness objectives. A small working group from the convening was tasked with drafting the strategic plan, which upon adoption, will inform future state readiness efforts and ensure coordination across sectors.

This convening is part of a $1 million grant from the Office of Homeland Security to CaliforniaVolunteers to implement a statewide preparedness initiative.

All “Hub” Meeting

Volunteer packing a boxOn June 12-14, CaliforniaVolunteers hosted the first “All Hub Meeting” in Ontario. “Hub” refers to CaliforniaVolunteer’s local partners, primarily Volunteer Centers and Hands On affiliates, which make the California Volunteer Matching Network possible. The hubs act as the focal point and resource in their local communities for nonprofits and volunteers. Through online technology, their volunteer opportunities are searchable on the CaliforniaVolunteers Web site.

The meeting was the largest statewide gathering of Volunteer Centers and Hands On affiliates in California history. Participants received practical training in online volunteer matching technology, volunteer management, outreach techniques and marketing strategy.

The feedback across the board was very positive and the participants looked forward to the second annual All Hub Meeting next year. A special thanks to Hands On Inland Empire for graciously hosting the event.

National Service Reauthorization

Corporation for National & Community Service logoA bill to reauthorize the National and Community Service Trust Act and Domestic Volunteer Service Act was introduced into the House of Representatives this week.

The proposed legislation, H.R. 2857, Generations Invigorating Volunteering and Education (GIVE) Act, was heard on Wednesday by the House Committee on Education and Labor.

Key provisions include:

*An increase in the percentage of funding available for AmeriCorps program administration.

*Provision for part-time AmeriCorps members to serve more than two years and thereby earn up to the equivalent of two full-time education awards (the maximum currently allowed for full-time members).

*An increase in the value of the education award by $100 per year for the next five years. This would increase the education award from $4,725 today to $5,225 in 2012.

*Lowering the age of participation to 55 for all National Senior Service Corps programs including the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), Foster Grandparent Program and the Senior Companion Program.

*Raising the income eligibility for participants in the Foster Grandparent and Senior Campanion Programs to 200 percent of the federal poverty level, or an annual income of $20,420 for a single adult in 2007.

Bill text is not yet available online. Updates will be available on the public policy section of the CaliforniaVolunteers Web site.

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