Resilience AmeriCorps recruits and trains AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) members to serve low-income communities across the country by developing plans and implementing projects that increase resilience-building capacity. The initiative was originally announced in 2015 in response to recommendations from President Obama’s State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience. Current Resilience AmeriCorps projects are addressing a wide range of resilience needs, including climate change, extreme weather, financial instability, and food insecurity through long-term planning, risk communication, community loan programs, and urban food production.
In the pilot Resilience AmeriCorps program, AmeriCorps VISTA members served in 10 communities in 2015-2016 to support the development of resilience strategies at the community level. The 10 cities selected include Anchorage, Alaska; Boulder, Colorado; Chicago, Illinois; El Paso, Texas; Minot, North Dakota; New Orleans, Louisiana; Norfolk, Virginia; Phoenix, Arizona; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The Resilience AmeriCorps program grew out of the the U.S. State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force's Recommendations to President Obama. The program advances climate equity by facilitating resilience planning in low-income communities that otherwise would not have capacity to plan for climate change on their own.
The 10 cities received $25,000 and AmeriCorps VISTA members to increase civic engagement and community resilience in low-income areas, and help local leaders as they plan for and address the impact of extreme weather events. Each city was evaluated and selected for local vulnerability to climate-related risk, demonstrated commitment or efforts to improve environmental resilience, and the community’s capacity to host and implement Resilience AmeriCorps members in their cities.
In May 2016, the Resilience AmeriCorps program expanded to 18 more communities through partnerships with Catholic Charities USA, Enterprise Community Partners, Lutheran Services in America, and the New York Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery.
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through its AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Social Innovation Fund, and Volunteer Generation Fund programs. The Resilience AmeriCorps pilot program is administered by CNCS, in partnership with the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, The Rockefeller Foundation, and Cities of Service.
VISTA was founded in 1965 as a national service program to fight poverty in America. In 1993, VISTA was incorporated into the AmeriCorps network of programs.
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Publication Date: July 2015