Volunteer Iowa Day at the Capitol
2023 State Priorities & Impact
Volunteer Iowa’s 2023 State Legislative Goals
We advocate for policies that:
- Build the culture and climate for service in Iowa
- Support the infrastructure needed for quality service opportunities and programs
- Develop new service opportunities to meet critical community needs
- Improve and streamline existing service opportunities and programs
- Expand Iowa's existing volunteer base
For every $1 appropriated by the state, we leverage over $48 in funding ($16.55 in private/local and $32.11 in federal), not including the additional value of volunteer hours.
- Over 6,900 AmeriCorps Seniors & AmeriCorps members served in the program last year.
- $4.5 million in Segal education awards was awarded to AmeriCorps members.
- More than $7.5 million in outside resources leveraged from businesses, foundations, public agencies, and other sources in Iowa last year.
- Since 1994, more than 13,000 Iowa residents have served 18 million hours and earned education awards totaling more than $46.3 million.
- Nearly 73,000 volunteers are leveraged annually by Volunteer Iowa.
- Volunteer Iowa's statewide database supports nearly 1,700 organizations in finding volunteers.
- In 2021, 41.8% of Iowans volunteered regularly despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Volunteers provided service worth $1.3 billion in labor to Iowa charities and communities keeping them afloat while meeting a bigger demand.
- Iowa's volunteer rate ranks 4th highest in the country.
- Nearly 8,000 youth served annually by a mentor in 65 local program partners of Iowa MENTOR.
- Since 2019, 16,500 students have been served by Future Ready Iowa mentoring programs.
- 35 youth-serving programs meet national standards of the National Quality Mentoring System through the National Mentoring Resource Center.
About Volunteer Iowa
Volunteer Iowa (the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service) is a state agency that fosters a bipartisan commitment to volunteerism and promotes a statewide vision and ethic of service. Volunteer Iowa is responsible for coordinating the Iowa MENTOR, AmeriCorps, state funding for AmeriCorps Seniors, the Future Ready Iowa Volunteer Mentoring Program, and for funding and supporting for many other local volunteer programs.
AmeriCorps Seniors Priorities, including RSVP
Legislative Priority: Provide sufficient state funding to maintain support for all federally-awarded Iowa programs ($418,698). Annual RSVP state funding is awarded in the Health and Human Services (HHS) appropriations subcommittee (transfer from Dept. on Aging Appropriation).
Impact: In 2021-2022, over 3,800 RSVP volunteers served Iowa communities, contributing over 222,000 hours to support community needs such as disaster relief, financial literacy, and food security, at a value of over $5.8 million.
AmeriCorps Tax Burden
Legislative Priority: Exempt the AmeriCorps living allowance from state income tax.
Impact: AmeriCorps members have a tremendous impact, both directly and by leveraging additional volunteers (5,103 in 2021-2022), yet their compensation is little over the poverty level. Removing the income tax burden would help recruit and retain high-quality members. Tax proposals will be considered by the Ways and Means committees.
Iowa Reading Corps
Legislative Priority: Dedicate funding towards expanding the Iowa Reading Corps.
Impact: The Iowa Reading Corps program has been shown to help struggling students’ progress at 1.5 to 2 times the target rate. Funding would help expand the Reading Corps to rural areas.
Refugee RISE AmeriCorps
Legislative Priority: Restore appropriation of $400,000 to support RISE AmeriCorps.
Impact: Current programming leverages over $650,000 in federal funding and serves as a national model for effective community refugee transitional programming. With influx of new refugees and on-going waves of secondary migration refugees, RISE provides needed workforce navigation and other support services to help integrate these new Iowans into our communities with members helping bridge cultural and language barriers. (HHS appropriations subcommittee)
Iowa MENTOR (Iowa Mentoring Partnership) Priorities
Legislative Priority: Legislative Priority: Maintain annual funding awarded for program grants in the Health and Human Services appropriations subcommittee (with Iowa Department of Public Health appropriation).
Impact: State funding supports grants to certified mentoring programs to connect young people with supportive adult relationships and provide specific substance abuse prevention training. Mentoring is an effective evidence-based prevention and intervention strategy with positive effects on school attendance and achievement, mental health support, violence prevention, and workforce development.
Legislative Priority: Support the Governor’s funding recommendations for a Volunteer Mentoring Program in the Future Ready Iowa Bill to boost student success. (Economic Development appropriations subcommittee)
Impact: Mentoring is a proven strategy for increasing student success and will help protect our investment in Last Dollar Scholars.
General Volunteer Program Priorities
Legislative Priority: Fully fund the $265,000 Volunteer Iowa operating budget as needed for federal match. Volunteer Iowa received $168,201 last year from administration of grant programs and Iowa MENTOR. (Economic Development appropriations subcommittee)
Impact: Underfunding operating expenses means more charges passed on to local programs, draining available local resources. Between 2019 and 2021 volunteer rates dropped over 8% from >50% of Iowans volunteering annually to now just 41.8%. This decline, while caused by the COVID 19 pandemic, has the potential to continue without specific reengagement efforts and represents millions of dollars in lost labor to Iowa communities and charitable efforts. Supporting the work of increasing volunteer engagement is more important now than it ever has been.