That’s just what AmeriCorps supporters are hoping. The future of the government program, which pays stipends to individuals spending up to a year helping nonprofits “move communities forward,” is in doubt. So eighteen nonprofits, including many that rely on AmeriCorps such as City Year and Teach for America, are joining a three year campaign to inspire more people to sign up to help their communities. ServiceNation, an advocacy coalition, is coordinating the effort.
To popularize the idea of community service with a younger audience, ServiceNation is using tools like YouTube, Funny or Die, and celebrity endorsements. The campaign started with a send off from the HBO hit drama True Detective. One of the main character’s daughters is described as having joined AmeriCorps to teach. Chelsea Clinton tweeted her thanks to the show and HBO.
But is popularizing community service enough? AmeriCorps is already stretched far beyond its resources, receiving many more applications than it can accept. And President Obama’s efforts to expand AmeriCorps have been blocked by Republicans in Congress. ServiceNation promises to advocate for more federal spending on AmeriCorps in addition to its efforts at popularity.
Do you think a mention of your organization on a popular TV show would increase support?