More pay for AmeriCorps California members

As AmeriCorps celebrates its 30th anniversary this month, California Volunteers, Office of the Governor announces a significant living allowance increase for service members — the largest increase in its three decades of operation. The increase will not only help retain service members but will also help attract new members.

This announcement comes as California Volunteers seeks applications from community organizations who are interested in applying for FY 2024 local assistance grant funds to operate an AmeriCorps service program. Prioritization will be given to those serving in communities that are tribal, rural, have concentrated poverty and are historically underrepresented or underserved. Interested organizations can apply through the California Volunteers website.

Those interested in serving with AmeriCorps California can learn more and apply at https://www.californiavolunteers.ca.gov/americorps.

The 17 percent increase will be phased in over the next three years, raising the minimum living allowance for each AmeriCorps California member from $25,000 for a full-time term of service to $30,000 ($17.65 per hour). AmeriCorps California members can also receive an education award up to $10,000.

“What better way to thank all Californians who are stepping up to make a difference in their communities,” said Governor Gavin Newsom. “Every Californian deserves a chance to serve their community. That’s why this living allowance increase is significant.”

AmeriCorps California programs, administered by California Volunteers, Office of the Governor in partnership with AmeriCorps, is funded through federal, state, and private match money, which includes funds to cover a living allowance for individuals who serve a term of service.

“AmeriCorps has established a tremendous legacy over the last 30 years,” said California Chief Service Officer Josh Fryday. “We want to build on this legacy and continue to grow the largest, most diverse service force in the nation.”

“I think this change is really great because the same high cost of living within California that creates communities that have a need for AmeriCorps members to serve, also puts immense financial stress on the AmeriCorps members serving in those communities,” said Brady Coulter, AmeriCorps California member. “By increasing the minimum living allowance to $30,000, this financial stress is eased and allows members to focus on serving and not on how they’re going to be able to make their next rent payment,”

In addition to administering AmeriCorps California, California Volunteers’ programs include #CaliforniansForAll College Corps, #CaliforniansForAll Youth Jobs Corps and California Climate Action Corps. In total, California Volunteers wields a service force larger than the Peace Corps.

What people are saying
Michael D. Smith, CEO, AmeriCorps
“Raising the minimum living allowance for AmeriCorps California Volunteers members ensures that service through AmeriCorps is possible for the many and not a privilege for the few. As a result of this critical investment, Californians will have more resources to address local challenges with local solutions.”

Sonali Nijhawan, Director of AmeriCorps State and National “California Volunteers’ bold  decision will help ensure that residents of California can serve in their own communities. This decision will support community centered leadership across the State.”

Michael Lynch, CEO and Co-founder of Improve Your Tomorrow
“As a community organization providing service opportunities to and for young men of color, we could not reach the thousands of young people whom we support without California Volunteers and AmeriCorps as our partners. We are thrilled to witness AmeriCorps’ 30th Anniversary and the remarkable strides they continue to make in fostering service across the nation. California Volunteers’ decision to raise the living allowance for AmeriCorps California Volunteer members will cultivate a more diverse membership corps, build a pipeline of young leaders who are pouring into their communities, and ultimately strengthen the fabric of service organizations statewide. We can’t wait to see what the next 30 years look like for AmeriCorps.”

John Gomperts, Former Director of AmeriCorps; advocate and advisor for national service, children and youth
“Over the past 30 years, intense service through AmeriCorps has been a defining experience for hundreds of thousands of people.  The continuing leadership of AmeriCorps alums has provided ongoing dividends to communities across the country. While we celebrate these accomplishments, the AmeriCorps anniversary is also the occasion to focus on the ways we can provide opportunities for more people to engage in high commitment service.  California Volunteers is leading the way in inviting and encouraging people of all backgrounds, experiences and circumstances come together to forge a bright and hopeful future.”