Research and Evaluation Digest: Long-term Benefits of AmeriCorps Programs, Research Grantee Spotlights, and more


Research and Evaluation Digest
Oct. 12, 2022

National Service’s Positive Impact on Our Communities

AmeriCorps CEO at United We Stand Event Screengrab

A Message From the Director

President Joe Biden recently hosted the United We Stand Summit to respond to hate-fueled violence that tears at our national fabric. AmeriCorps CEO Michael Smith spoke at the summit and highlighted national service’s potential and promise to increase cultural competency and mend division. Our report released last month, "Bridging Differences through AmeriCorps Service," makes a strong case for how national service is making America a more cooperative and culturally competent place.

Following this important summit, AmeriCorps launched United We Serve. The Office of Research and Evaluation will leverage the power of evidence and data in service of cultural competency, community building, and equity.

In service, 

Mary Hyde, director
Office of Research and Evaluation

Life-cycle Evaluation Project: What it is and What’s Next

The Life-Cycle Evaluation Project is a five-year bundling evaluation that seeks to understand and generate actionable results about the Volunteer Generation Fund, opioid recovery supports, and environmental stewardship and conservation programs.

What is a bundling evaluation?

An examination of selected programs with similar timetables, developmental stages, and outcome measures tells a larger story about program efficacy and impact. The programs selected for this evaluation can showcase how AmeriCorps is building evidence for the positive impact it strives to make in local communities across various focus areas.

What’s next for the project?

As the project goes into its third year, AmeriCorps is listening to and collating lessons from our grantees’ important work across the country. We are learning from grantees that use similar intervention models to foster a learning community.

Learn more about one of the bundled evaluations in the Volunteer Generation Fund. Follow the AmeriCorps Evidence Exchange for future literature reviews and reports.

A Look at the Long-term Benefits of AmeriCorps Programs

Four new reports explore the value of AmeriCorps programs by comparing the costs of programs to the benefits they create. The results show that over time, for each AmeriCorps dollar invested, there was a substantial return. 

Breakthrough Central Texas’s Austin Program (Education): Provides academic support and guidance to help students prepare for college.

  • For each federal dollar spent, there was a $29 return estimated after 15 years, and a $54 return estimated after 30 years.

St. Bernard Project AmeriCorps (Disaster Response): Engages in the rebuilding of homes after a disaster.

  • For each federal dollar spent, there was a $3 return estimated after 15 years, and a $11 return estimated after 30 years.

Nevada Conservation Corps (Environmental Stewardship): Mitigates fire threats and promotes conservancy.

For each federal dollar spent, there was an up to 90-fold return, $90.28-per-dollar-invested over thirty years.

Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs Vet Corps (Veterans & Military Families): Advises veterans on educational benefits and services.

  • For each federal dollar spent, there was a $12 return estimated after 15 years, and a $17 return estimated after 30 years.

Research Grantee Spotlights

State University of New York, College of Environmental Science & Forestry

A huge congratulations to the College of Environmental Science & Forestry, State University of New York.

In 2018, they were awarded an AmeriCorps Community Conversations grant for their program, “Raising the Next Generation of Community Leaders: A Participatory Research Process with Teenagers on the Near Westside Neighborhood of Syracuse, New York.” The project won a 2022 Design Award from the New York Upstate Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects, in recognition of their work to create a garden as part of a larger participatory action research initiative led by youth to address crime, physical space, and placemaking.

Learn More

Drexel University

A hearty congratulations to Drexel University.

Drexel University is a 2018 recipient of an AmeriCorps Community Conversations grant for their program, “Anti-Displacement: The Untapped Potential of University-Community Cooperative Living.” The team’s work was recently recognized by nonprofit PHILADELPHIA250 as a "Leave a Legacy" semi-finalist. Drexel’s project, using a community-led participatory action research approach, is examining residential displacement and affordable housing in the West Philadelphia Promise Zone.

Learn More

Webinar: Bridging the Research to Practice Gap with an Equitable Lens

Thursday, Oct. 13, 3 p.m. ET.

Join us for this webinar with AmeriCorps and partners, ServeMinnesota and Ampact, who will share how they use data for equitable grantmaking.


Revisiting Learning: Deepening our Understanding of What it Takes to Scale an Effective Program

Learn how you can embed evidence-based strategies in your program’s operations and about the SCALER tool, an interactive checklist to help successfully scale effective interventions.

Explore the Materials

New on the Evidence Exchange