Americorps

of $100 million dollars. "Voices for AmeriCorps"

lasted 100 straight hours, from Tuesday to Saturday,

according to Marty Friedman, executive director of

EducationWorks, an AmeriCorps grantee.

"Voices for AmeriCorps" drew AmeriCorps members,

alumni, service organization leaders and members of

the Senate and the House of Representatives, Friedman

said.

"The idea is to get people to understand what

AmeriCorps has done," Friedman said. AmeriCorps, a volunteer organization that was created nine years ago, needs $100 million in

supplemental appropriations for the 2003-04 program

year, he said.

AmeriCorps faced budget cuts for the 2003-04 fiscal

year, administrative mismanagement and owed money from

the 2002-03 fiscal year.

Administrative mismanagement at the beginning of the

program year came from enrolling 70,000 volunteers

instead of the 50,000 funding allows, according to a

speech on the Senate floor from Senator Barbara

Mikulski (D-M.D.).

In response to the over-enrollment problem, the

"Strengthen AmeriCorps Program Act" was passed in

January.

"This bill is simple and straightforward," Mikulski

said in her speech. "It gives the AmeriCorps program

flexibility within the current funding for 2003 so

that there can be 50,000 AmeriCorps volunteers this

year."

"We've addressed management problems found in the

past," AmeriCorps spokesman Sandy Scott said. "We're

on track to reaching the maximum number of AmeriCorps

volunteers possible."

AmeriCorps also owed $64 million in "prior year

obligations not related to the 2003 picture," Scott

said. AmeriCorps got the money through the "Emergency

Wartime Supplemental Appropriations Act" in April.

However, AmeriCorps still does not have enough money

to fund all the programs it funded last year because

of budget cuts in the 2003-04 fiscal year, Friedman

said.

"The people who suffer are the people who benefit

from these programs," he said. If programs do not get

funding this year, they may have to shut down and will

not benefit from any possible increased funding next

year, he said.

The Senate approved the $100 million in an emergency

supplement in the spring, Friedman said. However, the

House did not.

"The House Republican leadership rejected efforts to

include the $100 million supplement in the bill that

came before the House for a vote in July," Congressman Jerry Kleczka (D-Milwaukee) said in a

statement. Kleczka is a strong supporter of AmeriCorps

and wrote President Bush asking that "the

necessary additional funding be included in the

emergency supplemental bill."

According to reports, Bush is also an AmeriCorps

supporter. Scott said he requested funding be

increased to accommodate 75,000 volunteers each year.

Funding problems for AmeriCorps have had an effect on

20-year-old Erica Trani, who spent two years at

Beloit College. Trani is taking a year off of school

to volunteer.

"They sent me letters saying, 'Your acceptance is

contingent on us having enough funding,'" Trani said.

She said she did not know if other volunteers received

phone calls canceling their positions in the program,

but she is leaving Sept. 16.

Trani was majoring in biology but will spend the next

10 months volunteering in the southern United States.

AmeriCorps works primarily through local non-profit

organizations by awarding grants. These non-profits

participate in grant competitions by submitting

proposals. AmeriCorps then chooses which organizations

to fund, the grant money being used to recruit,

select and supervise AmeriCorps members, according to

AmeriCorps' Web site.

Trani, however, will be in the AmeriCorps National

Community Civilian Corps, which has volunteers work

for 10 months in a specific region of the United

States. The AmeriCorps NCCC is only open to 18-24

year-olds who receive an education stipend of

approximately $4,500, she said.

She decided to join because she wanted "experiential

learning" before deciding what to do with the rest of

her life.

"When I got out of high school I really wanted to do

something valuable with my life," Trani said. "I

didn't think just doing home work was very valuable to society."