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USA Freedom Corps,
Principles and Reforms for a Citizen Service Act

Administrative, Management, and Other Improvements

While demanding greater accountability for the use of Federal resources, there are opportuni-ties to improve the way the Corporation for National and Community Service does its business. This should strengthen support in the private sector for community service, open up service opportunities for Americans with disabilities, and increase participation by smaller community-and faith-based organizations, while improving the Corporation's management controls. Some of these proposals were identified in the relevant program section. Others are included below.

Summary of Proposals
To strengthen and improve the administration of national and community-based service opportunities, the President proposes the following reforms:

Provide for a challenge grant fund to support the growth of service and volunteerism.

Require $1 in private support for every $1 provided by the Corporation as a challenge grant, and emphasize the importance of using such grants to build up the capacity of non-profit organizations, especially small community-based organizations. Once such challenge grants are funded, provide for a 2-to-1 match in subsequent years.

Authorize the Corporation to establish a veterans service initiative for youths.

To support the service of veterans and retired military personnel as tutors and mentors, the Administration is proposing to establish a veterans component to the Corporation's youth-serving programs.

Eliminate barriers to participation in national service programs by individuals with disabilities.

Grants for accommodation to increase the placement of individuals with disabilities should no longer be limited to certain parts of AmeriCorps. AmeriCorps benefits should no longer negatively affect entitlement to disability benefits, and participation in AmeriCorps may lead to new opportunities for productive work for Americans with disabilities.

Authorize the Corporation to consolidate or modify application procedures and reporting requirements under the national service laws to promote efficiency and eliminate duplicative provisions. States should be permitted to file a single application rather than the multiple applications required under current law to access Corporation funds.

Authorize the Corporation to eliminate administrative requirements. The Administration proposes to eliminate the administrative burdens that have been identified by states as impeding the coordination and effectiveness of their national and community service programs.

Conduct research on program effectiveness and evaluate best practices. Make available up to 3 percent of program funds from AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and Learn and Serve America for research and evaluation purposes.

Authorize the Corporation to support a management clearinghouse. To provide small community-based nonprofit organizations with technical advice and assistance, the Administration proposes the specific authorization for a management clearinghouse to be supported by the Corporation.

Make a series of technical adjustments to strengthen AmeriCorps programming and reduce burdens on grantees.

The Administration supports a number of technical adjustments to the authorizing statutes in an effort to strengthen AmeriCorps programming and reduce burdens on AmeriCorps grantees, including: (1) using AmeriCorps funds to support training and technical assistance for all national service programs receiving assistance; (2) authorizing grants which, by design, support allowable costs without requiring grantees to maintain source documentation and detailed financial records; (3) providing for an adjustment to living allowances for members who serve less than 12 months; and (4) permitting an individual to receive the aggregate value of two full-time education awards.

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