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Budget Cuts Threaten To Kill Senior Volunteer Programs

HR 1, the continuing resolution bill for fiscal year 2011that was passed by the House of Representatives on February 19, eliminated funding for the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). CNCS administers the Retired & Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), the Foster Grandparent Program (FGP) and the Senior Companion Program (SCP), collectively known as the Senior Corps, as well as AmeriCorps, VISTA, and Learn and Serve America.

CNCS is an independent federal department in the Executive Branch and administers programs that use service as a strategy to address critical issuesóhealth, education, conservation, veterans and military families, and poverty. Each program makes a lasting impact on the volunteer as well as the community.

Eliminating CNCS would abolish Senior Corps and result in the “firing” of more than 450,000 senior volunteers nationwide, depleting vital services to the people, young and old, who rely on them.

Because CNCS recognizes that the best ideas come from within our communities rather than Washington, CNCS invests in community partnerships, tapping the energy and ingenuity of residents to find solutions to local problems.

Senior Corps Programs:

CNCS’s budget of $1.1 billion helps millions of Americans provide vital services to millions more of their most vulnerable neighbors. About 450,000 of those volunteers work in the following programs:

ï Foster Grandparents: 29,100 ($111 million)
ï Retired and Senior Volunteer Program: approximately 400,000 older volunteers ($63 million)
ï Senior Companions: 14,680 ($47 million)

The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) works with a network of more than 65,000 non-profit organizations and coordinates non-stipend volunteers, who deliver more than 62 million hours of service each year. For four decades RSVP has worked to provide seniors with meaningful volunteer opportunities which help meet the needs in their communities.

RSVP is sponsored in North Central Iowa by and located on the campus of North Iowa Area Community College.

A growing number of baby boomers volunteer through RSVP at an average federal cost of less than $140 per volunteer. In addition, RSVP raised $52 million of grant funds, or 46 percent, far exceeding the program’s required 30 percent match.

Annually, RSVP volunteers help 676,000 seniors live independently as well as train them to be alert for financial scammers who prey on their vulnerability. RSVP volunteers also mentor more than 16,000 children as well as provide assistance to victims of natural disasters from New Orleans to Iowa.

Cost Effective National Infrastructure:

Senior Corps programs leverage support throughout the United States to help solve community problems, in the most cost effective way possible. With 70 million baby boomers expected to retire in the coming decades, there is an urgent need to support Senior Corps. Senior Corps is a tested program that can provide high quality volunteer opportunities for baby boomers to serve their communities. Senior Corps is the only national infrastructure capable of performing this important job in a cost effective manner.

Local Impact of Elimination:

Across Iowa there are 22 RSVP programs with approximately 6,000 volunteers who provide more than 600,000 hours of service to non-profit organizations across the state. This past year volunteers helped low income Iowans file 7,000 state and federal 2009 tax returns; deliver 503,386 meals to homebound residents; and tutored 2,749 students in local schools. RSVP helps Iowa save taxpayer dollars by reducing healthcare costs while strengthening civic participation.

Service through RSVP benefits everyone ñvolunteers stay active, healthy, and engaged while those in need are connected with thousands of skilled volunteers. In 2010, 21 RSVP programs worked with 1,300 Iowa non-profit organizations and mobilized RSVP volunteers to serve 614,920 hours which provided $10,263,014 worth of service to the State of Iowa.

RSVP of North Central Iowa serves Cerro Gordo, Hancock, Winnebago, and Worth counties. Approximately 200 RSVP volunteers contribute more than 2,000 hours annually mentoring and tutoring elementary and middle school students in 12 schools throughout the area.

“Every day RSVP volunteers make a profound difference in communities throughout North Iowa,” said Molly Anderegg, Director of RSVP of North Central Iowa. “The elimination of CNCS, Senior Corps and the funds associated with those programs will have a drastic, national effect on millions of people in need of those services, including our own communities.”

If you would like more information, please contact Molly Anderegg at 1-888 GO NIACC or by calling direct at 641-422-4303.|

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