Strategic Plan 2011-2015


Start: 2010-10-01, End: 2015-09-30, Publication: 2013-12-13


CNCS' primary role is to provide critical resources and leadership to support local initiatives that tackle community challenges. We do this by directing resources to those organizations and community programs that have proven to be effective in using service at the local level to address the key priorities of Disaster Services, Economic Opportunity, Education, Environmental Stewardship, Healthy Futures, and Veterans and Military Families.

We implement direct service programs, make grants, provide capacity-building and support to nonprofits, conduct research and evaluation to inform best practices, provide thought leadership, and foster collaboration with other federal agencies, foundations, community organizations, and state, local and tribal governments. CNCS adds further value through our focus on the quality of the service participant's experience and continued engagement. Successive Administrations of both parties have recognized the importance of volunteers in addressing key issues and made investments in national service to build the capacity of America's voluntary sector. Most recently in April 2009, President Barack Obama signed into law the Serve America Act, which amended the national service laws to reauthorize CNCS and expand its scope and programs. This landmark bill, which passed with bipartisan support, is the foundation for our Strategic Plan. The legislation authorizes CNCS to focus on key issues, expand opportunities to serve, build the capacity of individuals, nonprofits and communities, and encourage innovative approaches to addressing community challenges.


Name:Corporation for National and Community Service


We are the federal agency that provides pathways and opportunities for Americans to engage in their communities. Our mission is to improve lives, strengthen communities and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering.


  • CNCS ProgramsOur work is carried out through the following programs that engage people from all communities and of all ages in service and volunteering -- from one-day or occasional volunteering to an intensive year-long commitment.

  • Senior CorpsSenior Corps consists of three programs -- RSVP, Foster Grandparent Program (FGP) and Senior Companion Program (SCP) -- that use the experience, skills and talents of more than 450,000 volunteers age 55 and older to serve at-risk youth, help seniors live independently and meet other community needs. Senior Corps volunteers serve through more than 65,000 local nonprofits, public agencies, faith- based and other community organizations.

  • AmeriCorpsAmeriCorps provides opportunities for more than 80,000 Americans each year to provide intensive results-driven service to respond to natural disasters, expand economic opportunity, strengthen education, protect the environment, enable access to health services, support veterans and military families, and meet other critical needs. AmeriCorps members serve in thousands of nonprofit, faith-based and other local organizations through three programs: AmeriCorps State and National, AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) and AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps). AmeriCorps members "and the nearly three million volunteers they recruit and supervise "tutor and mentor youth, build affordable housing, operate afterschool programs, help veterans readjust to civilian life, and help communities respond to disasters.

  • Learn and Serve AmericaLearn and Serve America provides opportunities for more than 1.3 million students every year to strengthen communities, enhance education and develop an enduring ethic of service for youth. We fund state education agencies, K-12 schools, community-based organizations, Indian tribes and U. S. territories, and institutions of higher education to develop, support and sustain high quality service-learning programs. This teaching and learning strategy integrates community service with classroom learning, enriching academic experiences and promoting civic engagement.

  • Social Innovation FundThe Social Innovation Fund (SIF) targets public and private dollars to expand effective solutions across three issue areas: Economic Opportunity, Healthy Futures and Youth Development. The SIF is a competitive grant program that invests in innovative solutions with evidence of impact and that are ready to grow to meet the needs of more communities. This work will create a catalog of evidence- based approaches that can be replicated in communities across the country.

  • Volunteer Generation FundThe Volunteer Generation Fund strengthens the role of volunteers in tackling pressing problems by expanding the capacity of state service commissions and volunteer connector organizations to recruit, manage, support and retain individuals to serve in high-quality volunteer assignments.

  • Call to ServiceThe Call to Service engages citizens in service opportunities that expand the impact of community organizations and encourage volunteers to develop their own "do-it-yourself" projects. Each year, annual service days, such as the MLK Day of Service and the 9/11 National Day of Remembrance and Service, mobilize millions of Americans to become active participants in community solutions.

  • Intermediary OrganizationsSpecial Focus: Intermediary Organizations -- those that provide sub-grants to and place service participants with other organizations -- have always been a critical part of the national service network. We work with an extensive network of intermediaries including state service commissions, state education agencies, consortia of higher education institutions and other regional and national organizations. They provide many faith-based and community-based organizations from small towns and rural communities with access to infrastructure support and national service resources, thereby helping these organizations better meet needs in their communities. Some intermediaries, due to their responsiveness to local needs, are multi-focused and address a variety of community needs from education to economic opportunity to disaster services. Intermediaries build the capacity of nonprofits and local education agencies to expand and improve services, foster collaboration among organizations, recruit volunteers, and engage community members as partners in creating sustainable solutions to local problems. Many intermediaries also invest in developing the leadership and life skills of service participants. As intermediaries, state service commissions play an important role in capacity building, infrastructure development, program development, and training and technical assistance for service and volunteering programs in their states. They enhance service and volunteering in their states through the creation of a state service plan. These plans are developed through an open and public process that provides for maximum participation and input from diverse stakeholders resulting in improved coordination and effectiveness of federal, state and local resources. These key functions improve community outcomes. Intermediaries also play a critical role in the SIF. In order to identify those community-based organizations with the greatest potential for generating increased impact, help them strengthen their evidence base, and proactively support the growth of their work in order to significantly improve the lives of more people in more economically disadvantaged communities, the SIF relies on intermediaries with strong skills and track records of success to do the critical work of selecting, validating and growing high-impact nonprofit organizations. Given their distinct roles, collaboration with intermediary organizations is necessary to achieve both our community impact and participant experience goals. CNCS is working with our intermediary grantees and sponsors to develop performance measures that adequately capture their impact in communities and on service participants.

  • Rural CommunitiesSpecial Focus: Rural Communities -- Investment in community solutions is central to our Strategic Plan. One of our top priorities is to ensure that national service reaches all kinds of communities, including those in rural areas. National service provides the opportunity for people from rural communities to get involved in community solutions while reaping the benefits of service. In particular, state service commissions are instrumental in ensuring that national service reaches communities in rural areas. The needs of rural communities align with the Disaster Services, Economic Opportunity, Education, Environmental Stewardship, Healthy Futures, and Veterans and Military Families priorities discussed in this Plan. They are also addressed through all of CNCS' programs. In recent years, AmeriCorps has provided increasing grants to small and rural states such as Kansas, Mississippi, Iowa and Utah, all of which received an average increase of 51 percent in their state formula grant allocations in the AmeriCorps State and National program in FY 2010. Also, 67 percent of grantees that self-identified as having a rural programming focus received funding. 29 United Way of Northwest Georgia supports nine VISTA members who participate in activities related to early childhood education, parent enrichment, community-based educational opportunities, and adult assisted learning. VISTA members assist with helping maintain critical services that promote literacy, improve health and human services, and increase housing and supportive housing initiatives in rural counties in Northwest Georgia, specifically Whitfield, Murray, Gilmer, Pickens and Fannin Counties. The Nevada Rural Counties RSVP annually engages over 900 volunteers in rural Nevada to provide more than 160,000 hours of volunteer service to over 160 public and nonprofit community agencies and to Nevada's elderly population. The activities of RSVP volunteers are far-ranging, from managing food distribution efforts to providing transportation services for seniors to offering respite for 24/7 care providers. Many of these programs provide opportunities for residents in rural communities to become national service participants and therefore benefit from the economic opportunity and educational benefits of service while giving back to their communities.