Fifty Years After The U.S. Begins War On Poverty, Maria Shriver Launches “Shriver Corps”
A Woman’s Nation, The Corporation for National and Community Service, and LIFT, with support from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, engage young people to lift communities out of poverty
WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 17, 2014) – As we mark the 50th Anniversary of the War on Poverty, A Woman’s Nation, The Corporation for National and Community Service, LIFT, and Bank of America announced today the launch of The Shriver Corps, a new national service partnership utilizing AmeriCorps VISTA members to lift people out of poverty in low-income communities across the country.
Inspired by this year’s The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink, the inaugural cohort of Shriver AmeriCorps Fellows will serve full-time at LIFT sites, supported by a $500,000 grant from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, to further realize the vision of Maria Shriver’s father, Sargent Shriver, who ran the War on Poverty for LBJ: Americans engaged in service to their fellow citizens, working together to build pathways to prosperity.
“The new Shriver Corps builds on and honors the legacy of my father, whose vision of an America made better by people engaged in service to their fellow citizens is as important today as it was when he created the VISTA national service program fifty years ago,” said Maria. “Our work on The Shriver Report revealed that in the U.S. today, 42 million women and the 28 million children who depend on them are struggling to get by while living paycheck to paycheck. The Shriver Corps will make a dent in that statistic by providing much-needed help to low-income families all over the country.”
Over the next three years in LIFT’s regional offices in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC, twenty Shriver AmeriCorps Fellows will enable LIFT to recruit thousands of volunteers and more effectively track its community impact.
“Giving young people a chance to give back in meaningful ways helps create extraordinary relationships and connections in their communities,” said Anne Finucane, global chief strategy and marketing officer at Bank of America. “Service can be a powerful agent of change when it comes to combating poverty in this country. These Fellows are devoting their time and talents to help others and it’s partnerships like this that play an important role in advancing the service movement.”
The Shriver AmeriCorps Fellows will be right on the front lines helping to build program and development processes to support LIFT’s efforts over the long-term. These capacity-building activities will ensure that low-income families that are LIFT Members are getting solutions for real issues they face — issues like hunger, homelessness, health care, and unemployment — combined with the financial tools and knowledge they need to move forward.
“We believe in the power of innovation through service,” said Kirsten Lodal, LIFT’s founder and CEO. “By more systematically supporting LIFT’s program implementation, volunteer management and fund development, Shriver AmeriCorps Fellows will help our programs provide an even higher quality of service to the more than 13,000 community members we serve each year.”
The Shriver Corps builds on the work Maria began as first lady of California, where she founded WeConnect, a public-private partnership now run by the California Endowment that works with organizations in underserved communities to connect families to resources — including the state’s Healthy Families Program, food stamps, energy assistance, and the federal Earned Income Tax Credit, which puts money back in their pockets —money they spend on their families, their bills, and out in their communities.
The Shriver Corps also reflects the spirit of a presidential memorandum issued in July 2013 that established the Task Force on Expanding National Service and calls for new public-private partnerships that use national service to help solve our nation’s most pressing challenges.
“As we mark the 50th Anniversary of the War on Poverty, and celebrate the 20 years of AmeriCorps, Shriver Corps is a reminder of the enduring culture of service that thrives in America,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “Shriver AmeriCorps Fellows will help create ladders of opportunity for more Americans in need, an effort that advances Sargent Shriver’s legacy.”
LIFT works to lift families out of poverty for good. In Boston, Chicago, DC, New York, Los Angeles and Philadelphia, LIFT pairs rigorously trained Advocates with committed families to build the strong personal, social and financial foundations they need to get ahead. By setting their own goals and working hard to achieve them, families are equipped to get a decent job, a safe home and a quality education for themselves and their children. They also build a support network, confidence in what they bring to the table and the skills to manage tough times in the future. Nearly 100,000 Members have already committed to do the hard work needed to achieve their goals–and it is working. LIFT is putting an average of $1,300 back into the pockets of struggling families so that they can make ends meet. Learn more at www.liftcommunities.org
About Bank of America Corporate Social Responsibility
Bank of America’s commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a strategic part of doing business globally. Our CSR efforts guide how we operate in a socially, economically, financially and environmentally responsible way around the world, to deliver for shareholders, customers, clients and employees. Our goal is to help create economically vibrant regions and communities through lending, investing and giving. By partnering with our stakeholders, we create value that empowers individuals and communities to thrive and contributes to the long-term success of our business. We have several core areas of focus for our CSR, including responsible business practices; environmental sustainability; strengthening local communities with a focus on housing, hunger and jobs; investing in global leadership development; and engaging through arts and culture. As part of these efforts, employee volunteers across the company contribute their time, passion and expertise to address issues in communities where they live and work. Learn more at www.bankofamerica.com/about and follow us on Twitter at @BofA_Community.
About The Corporation for National and Community Service
The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service and developing community solutions through its AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Social Innovation Fund, and other programs, and leads the President’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit NationalService.gov.
About A Woman’s Nation
A Woman’s Nation™ is a nonprofit organization founded by Maria Shriver imagining a new way forward for women and men, girls and boys. Through its multi-media initiatives, A Woman’s Nation seeks to foster equality by creating a more conscious, compassionate and caring culture where all lives and all work are respected, recognized, and valued. One such initiative is The Shriver Report Project, a series of groundbreaking examinations of cultural transformations impacting American women and families. Please visit www.ShriverReport.org for more information.
# # #
Patience B. Peabody
Corporation for National and Community Service/AmeriCorps
Samantha Jo Warfield
Bank of America
Stay ConnectedSign Up
Interested in more stories like this? Sign up for updates!