Serve Wisconsin 
October 2020 Newsletter
Governor Evers and Serve Wisconsin present the
2020 Governor's Service Awards
Recognizing the power of everyday contributions made by engaged citizens, Governor Tony Evers recognized 10 individuals and three programs at the 2020 Governor’s Service Awards ceremony for their significant service to Wisconsin citizens and communities on October 15, 2020, a recording of the entire ceremony is available here.

“Senior Corps and AmeriCorps members were some of the first folks to step up to the plate to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, rising to the challenges in front of us by connecting virtually with students and those at high risk for COVID-19 by providing critical assistance of students, helping those that are the most vulnerable or in need in our communities, and by distributing meals and supplies and PPE,” stated Governor Tony Evers. “This good work exemplifies our shared Wisconsin values, empathy, compassion, service, and taking care of our neighbors, because that's what Wisconsinites do. And it is needed now more than ever, as our communities and neighbors struggle with new challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has brought us. Our state is stronger because of folks like you.”

"We have an exceptional and inspiring group of honorees this year that hail from all parts of the state and have performed a diverse array of service. I am amazed at the variety of service that they have done. I am also sobered by the continuing challenges faced many of our fellow Wisconsinites and the wish the needs our volunteers were solving did not exist, and we all know that COVID-19 has only amplified the needs in our communities,” stated Jeanne Duffy, Executive Director of Serve Wisconsin. “You will be inspired by how AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and VISTA members and volunteers have risen to the challenge. They have continued to serve even at risk to their own personal safety and others have completely changed course to respond to needs that have arisen from the pandemic.”

The Governor’s Service Awards honors outstanding volunteers, AmeriCorps and Senior Corps participants and programs, veterans, local volunteers, and AmeriCorps alumni that address serious social needs across Wisconsin, including specific recognitions this year for those responding to COVID-19. The awards are sponsored by Serve Wisconsin, which is the state commission for national and community service. Details on each honoree and the service they have performed to assist the people of Wisconsin, as well as the recording of the entire ceremony and the individual segments on each honoree, can be found at
Public Allies Milwaukee launches water-focused partnership with Fund for Lake Michigan
As part of their mission to expand the capacity of nonprofit organizations to deliver critical direct services to Milwaukee residents and to develop local leadership, Public Allies Milwaukee is partnering with Fund for Lake Michigan, which is funding eleven Ally AmeriCorps members' service at host sites for the 2020-21 program year. By partnering with Public Allies Milwaukee, the Fund has helped ensure AmeriCorps members serve in environmentally focused nonprofits to expand the ability of those groups to meet their missions. Host sites benefiting from AmeriCorps service include Clean Wisconsin, Groundwork Milwaukee, Harbor District Inc., Milwaukee Riverkeeper, Milwaukee Water Commons, Menomonee Valley Partners, Reflo, River Revitalization Foundation, Urban Ecology Center, Walnut Way Conservation Corps, and Wisconsin DNR.

Fund for Lake Michigan knows that Lake Michigan is one of Wisconsin’s greatest assets and that its water is critical to the state’s future, with their efforts helping sustain the Lake on behalf of the people and places that depend on it. Their goal is to have a deep, positive impact on the health of Lake Michigan and on the communities of Wisconsin, now and into the future.

Part of this partnership is to not only build up the capacity for organizations to make a continued difference into the future, but to also expand the diversity of the perspectives and views used in their efforts. A 2018 national study of environmental nonprofits revealed that 80% of board members and 85% of staff of environmental nonprofits are White. The Fund for Lake Michigan, Public Allies Milwaukee, and the host sites understand that placing AmeriCorps members who have innate desires to diversify approaches is essential to lasting change. Additionally, the environmental-justice-focused consultancy Cream City Conservation will also create a community of practice for the selected environmental nonprofits’ leaders who are working to integrate equitable practices organization-wide. AmeriCorps member Kareem Benson-White, who served with Public Allies Milwaukee last year at the Milwaukee French Immersion School and will be placed as a Public Allies Fellow at Reflo this year, reflected that "being asked my opinion is huge for me. It also comes with more responsibility and I'm definitely up for it and looking forward to impacting Reflo and the community."

The eleven Members and Host Sites will receive specialized coaching and training during the program year to build capacity around environmental justice and water justice in Milwaukee, with help from Public Allies AmeriCorps Alumnus Darrin Madison. AmeriCorps Member Public Ally Catie Petralia, placed with River Revitalization Foundation reflects, "I'm so excited to serve the community and share our beautiful Milwaukee River Greenway trails!
Farm to School AmeriCorps members help Wisconsin students celebrate the Great Apple Crunch
October marks the celebration of Farm to School Month throughout the nation, with Governor Tony Evers issuing a proclamation marking October 2020 as Wisconsin Farm to School Month at the beginning of the month. One of the highlights of this annual celebration for the AmeriCorps members serving with the Wisconsin DPI AmeriCorps Farm to School Program is participating with their students and nearly 2 million others in the Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch to crunch into locally and regionally grown apples. This event highlights several aspects of the mission of the AmeriCorps Farm to School Program, educating students about nutrition and bringing healthy foods into the schools while making community connections with local farmers.

The Farm to School AmeriCorps members created individual celebrations at their host sites and a video of their own participation in the Great Apple Crunch to encourage participation from schools throughout the state. While the celebrations may have looked different this year, AmeriCorps members and schools organized ways for Wisconsin students to join with those from Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio to crunch into their apples at noon on Thursday, October 8, through a combination of events at schools currently doing in-person instruction and virtually at those learning remotely.

While the crunching sounds of those participating virtually may have been spread out, activities such as those done in the Oregon School District continued reaching kids in innovative ways. They started off by working with two nearby orchards, Alpine Ridge and Eplegarden, to provide deliciously local apples for each student enrolled in the school lunch program, with families sharing their Crunch on social media with #osdgreatapplecrunch! The apple fun continued through October, as the Kid's Cooking Club met virtually to make yummy pumpkin-apple muffins and apple fun facts can be spotted throughout Oregon's local grocery store.

Pictures and Videos from local celebrations
PASS AmeriCorps members support Trick Or Treat So Others Can Eat
While it may look a little different this year, the AmeriCorps members with Partners for After School Success (PASS) are continuing their annual support of the “Trick or Treat So Others Can Eat” food drive for the Community Action Coalition For South Central Wisconsin, Inc. Typically, PASS AmeriCorps members have supported efforts by their students to leave bags at doors throughout Dane County to be collected at a later date. In 2019, 2,449 pounds of food were collected through this Halloween trick-or-treating alternative.

This year, the PASS AmeriCorps members are working with eighteen host sites to collect food at community centers and other locations throughout the county. With the activities at most of their host sites running virtually or limiting in-person activities, they have had to get creative this year, with much of their focus on having students create promotional materials that can be shared on social media and through other networks.

The project this year is being organized by AmeriCorps members Jon Gullickson, who is serving at the MSCR-Meadowood Neighborhood Center, and Ian O’Connor-Giles, who serves with MSCR at La Follete High School. As second term members, Jon and Ian have taken the lead in coordinating information with the Community Action Coalition (CAC), communicating that with the AmeriCorps members, and coordinating bag donations, as a few sites are still handing out bags for donations.

Jon describes that “the CAC provides barrels for the food drive and receives most donations, but our host sites are also welcome to keep donations at their own pantries, so we are able to make an even more localized impact at sites like MSCR-Meadowood Neighborhood Center, where I serve. While there have been some changes, most of the process for the service project remains the same, and the need is even greater this year with the pandemic.”

News stories and promotional student videos on the Trick or Treat So Others Can Eat project
New funding opportunity to expand Foster Grandparents Programs in 42 Wisconsin counties
AmeriCorps, formerly known as the Corporation for National and Community Service, recently released a Notice of Funding Opportunity to expand the scope of Foster Grandparents Programs throughout the nation, including the opportunity to expand service in 42 Wisconsin counties.

The AmeriCorps Seniors Foster Grandparent Program (FGP) engages adults age 55 and over to provide tutors and mentors to children and youth with special or exceptional needs, or who would benefit from the one-one-one attention a AmeriCorps Seniors volunteer can provide. AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers serve an average of 20 hours per week in schools, hospitals, drug treatment centers, correctional institutions, and childcare centers. Among other activities, they review schoolwork, reinforce values, teach parenting skills to young parents, and care for premature infants and children with disabilities.

Foster Grandparent programs can be managed by nonprofit organizations, local and state governments, institutions of higher education, and Native American tribes. Those interested in learning more about the application process can access the AmeriCorps webpage on the Foster Grandparents Expansion Sponsor Competition.

Additionally, AmeriCorps Seniors will host a series of technical assistance calls to answer questions about these funding opportunities, performance measures, and eGrants, with call dates and times can be found at that webpage. Those with questions at any time during the application period can send an email to [email protected].

Wisconsin Counties eligible for expansion
Adams, Ashland, Barron, Bayfield, Burnett, Calumet, Dodge, Door, Douglas, Douglas, Dunn, Florence, Forest, Iron, Jefferson, Kenosha, Kewaunee, Langlade, Manitowoc, Marathon, Marinette, Marquette, Oconto, Oneida, Outagamie, Ozaukee, Pierce, Polk, Price, Racine, Rock, Sawyer, Shawano, Sheboygan,
St. Croix, Vilas, Walworth, Washburn, Washington, Waukesha, Waupaca, Waushara, Wood
Next deadline for NCCC AmeriCorps concept papers is November 4
For nonprofit organizations and government agencies interested in working with an AmeriCorps NCCC this spring, the next deadline for submitting a concept form is for November 4, which is for organizations interested in having a team in 2021 between either March 8 and April 24 or March 18 and May 7. Information on the application process for this upcoming period or for several other project windows next spring, summer, and fall are available in their Request for Proposal (RFP) for 2021 service dates.

AmeriCorps NCCC teams are constituted of 18-24 year-olds that travel regionally to help communities meet their critical needs by completing projects that typically last 6-8 weeks. NCCC partners with a variety of nonprofit organizations, government entities (federal, state or local), educational institutions, neighborhood associations, Native American Tribal Councils, and community-based or faith-based organizations to complete projects which address a compelling community need. These projects address five main service areas: natural and other disasters, energy conservation, environmental stewardship and conservation, infrastructure improvement, and urban and rural development.
Become an AmeriCorps Member Today!
If you wish to engage in meaningful community service and acquire job skills, consider joining AmeriCorps!
To learn more about AmeriCorps or if you are ready to join and have questions about which program is right for you, contact us! We are happy to answer your questions and help you explore the different opportunities available. Program information is also available on our Serve Wisconsin website.
Please email us at [email protected] or call (608) 492-2928.
We look forward to speaking with you!
Interesting in serving as a member of the Wisconsin National and Community Service Board?
For those interested in taking an active role in promoting national service and volunteerism in Wisconsin, the Wisconsin National and Community Service Board has a current or pending vacancy for board members for the following appointment type:
  • An individual between the ages of 16 and 25, inclusive, who is a participant or supervisor of a service program for school-aged youth, or of a campus-based or national service program 

Those interested in serving are required to complete an application to the governor for the appointment. The online application for applying for a board position can be found HERE, with additional information on the application process found at Apply to Serve - Governor Tony Evers. If you are potentially interested in serving on the board and have any questions, please contact Serve Wisconsin Executive Director Jeanne Duffy at [email protected].
Calendar: Upcoming Events and Key Dates

  • November 9 - Deadline for applications for 2021-2022 AmeriCorps State Request For Proposals (RFP)
  • November 20 - Racial Justice Training Series - Session 1

  • December 1 - Program Evaluation & Development Committee Meeting 
  • December 10 - Wisconsin National & Community Service Board Meeting
  • December 18 - Racial Justice Training Series - Session 2
Serve Wisconsin | | AmeriCorps