AmeriCorps Research & Evaluation Digest: New Video, Grantee Profiles, and more


Research and Evaluation Digest
July 2021

Participatory Research video screenshot

New Video: Participatory Research – An Equitable Approach to Community Engagement

AmeriCorps is the only federal agency with a mission to increase civic engagement and strengthen communities. It’s also one of a few that funds participatory research, an equitable approach to community issues that’s intended to engage residents in identifying and solving their own pressing issues. National service can play a major role by partnering with these communities to tackle these pressing issues and be part of the solution.   

This cutting-edge research approach is formed around three pillars: community participation, research, and action. Watch this video to hear directly from AmeriCorps' research and evaluation grantees about how participatory research strengthens communities and fosters civic engagement.   

We also welcome your insights. How can you see AmeriCorps further partnerships to be part of the solution? Be creative and contact Andrea Robles, Ph.D., and Melissa Gouge, Ph.D., at AmeriCorps  with your ideas and suggestions. For more information on the participatory research methodology, check out our new one-pager.

Learn more about Participatory Research

Research and Evaluation Grantee Spotlight: Updated 2017 and 2018 Grantee Profiles

An integral component of AmeriCorps' work is building scholarly research on civic health to address gaps in knowledge and provide new ideas and methodological approaches to national service. This is one of the reasons AmeriCorps hosts research grant competitions for institutions of higher education. 

In 2017 and 2018, AmeriCorps' two research grant competitions featured the following research priorities:

  • The 2017 National Service and Civic Engagement grant features work defining and measuring community civic engagement along with the impacts of civic engagement, volunteering, and national service for individuals, families, and communities.
  • The 2018 Community Conversations grant represents university researchers using a participatory research approach to engage people within communities to identify and address local issues as well as explore the use of national service to assist in tackling community-identified priorities.

AmeriCorps' research grantee profiles now highlight recent and exciting developments from these two cohorts. Visit this resource to learn how these grantees are increasing our knowledge and fostering civic engagement in communities across the country.

View Grantee Profiles

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Evidence Exchange Spotlight – Local Initiatives Support Corporation

Across the United States, families with low incomes face extreme barriers to achieve financial security and upward mobility in society. Local Initiatives Support Corporation, an AmeriCorps grantee through our Social Innovation Fund, works to support and empower people living on low incomes by helping them stabilize their finances and take on sustaining jobs.

One way this corporation is able to do this is through the Bridges to Career Opportunities model, which is a multi-component intervention that assists adults who are underemployed or unemployed in advancing in a career and obtaining a living wage. This is achieved through the four components of service:

  1. Contextualized basic skills education, career planning, and occupational skills training
  2. Financial coaching and education
  3. Income support services
  4. Employment services

This grantee's recent evaluation found that the Bridges model is a promising approach to improve employment outcomes for under-employed or unemployed adults. Read more from them to learn about how they are advancing economic opportunity solutions around the country.

Learn More

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Recordings Available: Research Grantee Dialogue

Last month, AmeriCorps hosted a virtual three-day event, Civic Engagement as a Catalyst for Community Change: 2021 Research Grantee Dialogue. Event recordings and presentation materials are available on

Research grantees shared perspectives on civic engagement and its intersection with key social priorities such as economic recovery, COVID-19 challenges and response, racial equity and immigration, climate-related concerns, and mobilizing volunteers for positive change.

These discussions provide valuable insight on how civic engagement, volunteering, and national service can improve communities, as well as best practices and insights that can help other organizations implement their research.

View Recordings & Materials