History of AmeriCorps
The Clinton administration passed legislation in 1993 to establish the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), which became the governing and funding body to the major national service programs in the United States, including Senior Corps and all streams of service within the AmeriCorps umbrella. AmeriCorps State and National was newly developed under this legislation to support a wide range of local service programs to address needs in disaster services, economic opportunity, education, environment/clean energy, healthy futures, and military veterans and families.
Individuals who choose to serve in AmeriCorps can dedicate several months to several years to national service in either a part-time or full-time capacity. During their service, AmeriCorps State and National Members can receive a variety of benefits including a modest living allowance; healthcare insurance, childcare support, forbearance of repaying federal student loans; and become eligible for the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award, which can be used to pay-down existing federal loans or to pay for future education expenses.
South Carolina Commission on National and Community Service
The South Carolina Commission on National and Community Service was established in 1993 to identify critical needs of our state and award CNCS funded grants to programs to address key challenges. Proposals for AmeriCorps Programs are created by local entities to address issues unique to their community. This bottom-up approach ensures that federal funding is allocated to address South Carolina’s biggest challenges.
In December of 2007, by Executive Order of Governor Mark Sanford, the United Way Association of South Carolina was appointed as the governing authority of the Commission. The United Way Association of South Carolina was a natural fit to serve as the Commission due to aligned goals to leverage volunteerism to improve the quality of life for South Carolina residents. The Commission is South Carolina’s lead agency on volunteerism and national service.
Mission, Vision, and State Service Plan
Our mission is to improve South Carolina communities through volunteerism and national service programs.
Our vision is to promote and increase:
An ethic of service and volunteerism in the state of South Carolina.
The capacity of faith-based and community organizations within the state to better compete for funding opportunities.
The collaboration among communities and organizations that are trying to meet the greatest needs of the Palmetto State.
Primarily through AmeriCorps and Volunteer Generation Fund programming, we encourage volunteerism for everyone from youth to seniors to people with disabilities; promote community solutions for disaster preparedness and response; and help to strengthen and expand volunteer centers and other community-based organizations that use volunteers to accomplish their mission.
Every three years, the Commission creates a State Service Plan, which highlights key challenges of the state and identifies research-based interventions to address them. It serves as a guide for funding and programmatic priorities for National Service Programs in South Carolina. The Commission embraces the six focus areas held by the Corporation for National and Community Service (Education, Veterans and Military Families, Environmental Stewardship, Healthy Futures, Disaster Response and Economic Opportunity). For each focus area, the plan addresses the national service priority and relevancy to South Carolina. This plan is developed through an open and public review process that guides the direction of the Commission. Annual addendums help keep the State Service Plan current by incorporating yearly progress towards measurable goals and outcomes. It ensures outreach to diverse community-based agencies that serve underrepresented populations and includes a plan for service age 55 or older. Our current State Service Plan can be found here.
The Commission is comprised of 15-25 volunteers who live throughout South Carolina and have a wide variety of professions, backgrounds and interests areas. Commissioners serve for three-year terms. Two Commissioners are appointed by the Governor, while the rest have been selected by a nomination and application process and approved by UWASC’s Board of Directors. Below is a list of our current Commissioners:
Ms. Missy Santorum, Chair
Dr. Courtney Howard, Vice Chair
Ms. Sara Massey, Grant Review Committee Chair
Ms. Candi Forester-Smith, Nominations Committee Chair
Ms. Joselyn Johnson, Governor's Service Awards Chair
Ms. Virginia Bikas
Ms. Jill Briggs Blitzer
Ms. Betsy Carpentier
Mr. Noel Crosby
Ms. Brenda Green
Ms. Joselyn Johnson
Dr. Nan Li
Mr. Phillip Obie
Ms. Janine Sutter
Ms. Myra Cunningham (Ex-Officio)
If you are interested in applying to serve as a Commissioner for the South Carolina Commission on National and Community Service, please email Amanda McSwine, Deputy Director, at Amanda.McSwine@uwasc.org.