DMPS to See Major Expansion of AmeriCorps

The Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service (ICVS) has voted to award approximately $6 million in AmeriCorps State grants and education awards to support the placement of 657 AmeriCorps members in community-based organizations across Iowa.

Des Moines Public Schools (DMPS) was awarded $610,064 by ICVS and the Corporation for National and Community Service’s nationally competitive Governor and Mayor Initiative. In addition, the school district was awarded $268,787 for educational funding for members who successfully complete their terms of service.

With this grant award, the Des Moines Public Schools AmeriCorps Program will place 68 AmeriCorps members in 49 schools across the district to increase academic performance and student engagement through:

  • Math and literacy tutoring in elementary schools;
  • Career-focused mentoring in middle schools;
  • Service-learning opportunities in International Baccalaureate schools; and
  • Volunteer engagement.

“As Governor of Iowa, I am acutely aware that too many of our students are failing to become engaged in the classroom and fall behind in reading and math; that our students and schools would benefit greatly from additional ‘people power’ to assist in recruiting and engaging community volunteers to mentor and support service-learning projects in the schools and out of school time,” said Governor Terry Branstad. “That is why I was delighted to work with the Des Moines Public Schools on this endeavor and am excited this AmeriCorps program received funding from the Corporation for Nation and Community Service, in partnership with the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service, to make this a reality for the district.”

“This support from AmeriCorps and the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service will allow our district to expand our volunteer efforts, and provide additional support to our students and schools,” said Tom Ahart, superintendent of Des Moines Public Schools. “This is a great supplement to the terrific work done each and every day by our teachers and principals.”

In addition to collaborating with the offices of Governor Branstad and Mayor Cownie, the district is partnering with the following organizations to implement the program: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa, Community! Youth Concepts, United Way of Central Iowa, and the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines.

This year’s AmeriCorps grant cycle was highly competitive, with requests for grant dollars and positions in Iowa reaching nearly twice the amount that could be funded. Since 1994, more than 8,100 Iowa residents have provided more than 10 million hours of service to local communities through AmeriCorps. This federally funded national service program, administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, enables Americans of any age to serve their community, state, and country through local schools, governments, or nonprofits.

Individuals interested in AmeriCorps opportunities with Des Moines Public Schools should go to and click on “AmeriCorps” under the list of career opportunities.