42 U.S. Code § 12501 - Findings and purpose
This chapter, referred to in subsec. (b), was in the original “this Act”, meaning Pub. L. 101–610, Nov. 16, 1990, 104 Stat. 3127, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out below and Tables.
2009—Subsec. (b)(2). Pub. L. 111–13, § 1101(1), substituted “community and service throughout the varied and diverse communities of” for “community throughout”.
Subsec. (b)(4). Pub. L. 111–13, § 1101(2), inserted “geographic location,” after “income,”.
Subsec. (b)(6). Pub. L. 111–13, § 1101(3), inserted “national” after “existing”.
Subsec. (b)(7). Pub. L. 111–13, § 1101(4)(A), substituted “programs, agencies, and communities” for “programs and agencies”.
Subsec. (b)(9) to (19). Pub. L. 111–13, § 1101(4)(B)–(6), added pars. (9) to (19).
1993—Pub. L. 103–82 amended section generally, substituting provisions relating to findings and purposes for former provisions setting forth the purposes of this chapter.
Pub. L. 101–610, title I, subtitle B (§§ 110–118), § 110, Nov. 16, 1990, 104 Stat. 3132, which provided that such subtitle (enacting former part B (§§ 12521–12531) of subchapter I of this chapter) be cited as the “Serve-America: The Community Service, Schools and Service-Learning Act of 1990”, was repealed by Pub. L. 103–82, title I, § 103(a)(2), Sept. 21, 1993, 107 Stat. 825.
Pub. L. 108–45, § 1, July 3, 2003, 117 Stat. 844, which provided that Pub. L. 108–45, enacting section 12605 of this title, could be cited as the “Strengthen AmeriCorps Program Act”, was repealed by Pub. L. 111–13, title I, § 1406(b), Apr. 21, 2009, 123 Stat. 1521.
Pub. L. 101–610, title I, subtitle D (§§ 140–150), § 140, Nov. 16, 1990, 104 Stat. 3150, which provided that such subtitle (enacting former part D (§§ 12571–12580) of subchapter I of this chapter) be cited as the “National and Community Service Act”, was omitted in the general amendment of part D (now division D) by Pub. L. 103–82, title I, § 102(a), Sept. 21, 1993, 107 Stat. 816.
Pub. L. 101–610, title III, § 301, Nov. 16, 1990, 104 Stat. 3180, which provided that title III of Pub. L. 101–610, enacting subchapter II of this chapter, could be cited as “The Points of Light Foundation Act”, was repealed by Pub. L. 111–13, title I, § 1831(a), Apr. 21, 2009, 123 Stat. 1578.
[“(2) If this Act is enacted after September 30, 2020, this section shall be applied as if it were in effect on September 30, 2020.”]
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Policy. Building on our Nation’s rich tradition of citizen service, this Administration’s policy is to foster a culture of responsibility, service, and citizenship by promoting, expanding, and enhancing public service opportunities for all Americans and by making these opportunities readily available to citizens from all geographic areas, professions, and walks of life. More specifically, this Administration encourages all Americans to serve their country for the equivalent of at least 2 years (4,000 hours) over their lifetimes. Toward those ends, the executive departments, agencies, and offices constituting the USA Freedom Corps shall coordinate and strengthen Federal and other service opportunities, including opportunities for participation in homeland security preparedness and response, other areas of public and social service, and international service. The executive branch departments, agencies, and offices also will work with State and local governments and private entities to foster and encourage participation in public and social service programs, as appropriate.
Sec. 2. USA Freedom Corps. The USA Freedom Corps shall be an interagency initiative, bringing together executive branch departments, agencies, and offices with public service programs and components, including but not limited to programs and components with the following functions:
(i) recruiting, mobilizing, and encouraging all Americans to engage in public service;
(ii) providing concrete opportunities to engage in public service;
(iii) providing the public with access to information about public service opportunities through Federal programs and elsewhere; and
(iv) providing recognition and awards to volunteers and other participants in public service programs.
Sec. 3. USA Freedom Corps Council. (a) Establishment and Mission. There shall be a USA Freedom Corps Council (Council) chaired by the President and composed of heads of executive branch departments, agencies, and offices, which shall have the following functions:
(i) serving as a forum for Federal officials responsible for public service programs to coordinate and improve public service programs and activities administered by the executive branch;
(ii) working to encourage all Americans to engage in public service, whether through Federal programs or otherwise;
(iii) advising the President and heads of executive branch departments, agencies, and offices concerning the optimization of current Federal programs to enhance public service opportunities;
(iv) coordinating public outreach and publicity of citizen service opportunities provided by Federal programs;
(v) encouraging schools, universities, private public service organizations, and other non-Federal entities to foster and reward public service;
(vi) studying the availability of public service opportunities provided by the Federal Government and elsewhere; and
(vii) tracking progress in participation in public service programs.
(b) Membership. In addition to the Chair, the members of the Council shall be the heads of the executive branch departments, agencies, and offices listed below, or their designees, and such other officers of the executive branch as the President may from time to time designate. Every member of the Council or designee shall be a full-time or permanent part-time officer or employee of the Federal Government. Members shall not be compensated for their service on the Council in addition to the salaries they receive as employees or officers of the Federal Government.
(i) Vice President;
(ii) Attorney General;
(iii) Secretary of State;
(iv) Secretary of Health and Human Services;
(v) Secretary of Commerce;
(vi) Secretary of Education;
(vii) Secretary of Veterans Affairs;
(viii) Secretary of Homeland Security;
(ix) Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation for National and Community Service;
(x) Director of the Peace Corps;
(xi) Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development;
(xii) Director of the USA Freedom Corps Office; and
(xiii) Director of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.
(c) Chair. The President shall be the Chair of the USA Freedom Corps Council, and in his absence, the Vice President shall serve as Chair. The Director of the USA Freedom Corps Office may, at the President’s direction, preside over meetings of the Council in the President’s and Vice President’s absence.
(d) Honorary Co-Chair. The President may, from time to time, designate an Honorary Co-Chair or Co-Chairs, who shall serve in an advisory role to the Council and to the President on matters considered by the Council. Any Honorary Co-Chair shall be a full-time or permanent part-time employee or officer of the Federal Government.
(e) Meetings. The Council shall meet at the President’s direction. The Director of the USA Freedom Corps Office shall be responsible, at the President’s direction, for determining the agenda, ensuring that necessary papers are prepared, and recording Council actions and Presidential decisions.
(f) Responsibilities of Executive Branch Departments, Agencies, and Offices.
(i) Members of the Council shall remain responsible for overseeing the programs administered by their respective departments, agencies, and offices. Each such department, agency, and office will retain its authority and responsibility to administer those programs according to law;
(ii) Each executive branch department, agency, or office with responsibility for programs relating to the functions and missions of the USA Freedom Corps as described in section 2 of this order shall be responsible for identifying those public service opportunities and coordinating with the USA Freedom Corps Council to ensure that such programs are, if appropriate, publicized and encouraged by the Council; and
(iii) Upon the request of the Chair, and to the extent permitted by law, the heads of executive branch departments and agencies shall provide the Council with relevant information.
Sec. 4. USA Freedom Corps Office. (a) General. The USA Freedom Corps also shall be supported by a USA Freedom Corps Office (Office), which shall be a component of the White House Office. The USA Freedom Corps Office shall have a Director who shall be appointed by the President. The Director shall be assisted by an appropriate staff within the White House Office.
(b) Presidential Recognition to Participants in USA Freedom Corps Programs. In addition to supporting and facilitating the functions of the Council listed in section 3 of this order, the Office shall support the President in providing recognition to volunteers and other participants in programs and activities relating to the functions and missions of the USA Freedom Corps as described in section 2 of this order.
Sec. 5. General Provisions. (a) The White House Office shall provide the Council and Office with such funding and administrative support, to the extent permitted by law and subject to the availability of appropriations, as directed by the Chief of Staff to the President to carry out the provisions of this order.
(b) This order does not alter the existing authorities or roles of executive branch departments, agencies, or offices. Nothing in this order shall supersede any requirement made by or under law.
(c) This order does not create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or equity, against the United States, its departments, agencies, or other entities, its officers or employees, or any other person.
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and to strengthen the ability of programs authorized under the national service laws to build and reinforce a culture of service, citizenship, and responsibility throughout our Nation, and to institute reforms to improve accountability and efficiency in the administration of those programs, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Definitions. For purposes of this order:
(b) “National and community service programs” means those programs authorized under the national service laws;
(c) “Policies governing programs authorized under the national service laws” refers to all policies, programs, guidelines, and regulations, including official guidance and internal agency procedures and practices, that are issued by the Corporation for National and Community Service (Corporation) and have significant effects on national and community service programs; and
Sec. 2. Fundamental Principles and Policymaking Criteria. In formulating and implementing policies governing programs authorized under the national service laws, the Corporation shall, to the extent permitted by law, adhere to the following fundamental principles:
(a) National and community service programs should support and encourage greater engagement of Americans in volunteering;
(b) National and community service programs should be more responsive to State and local needs;
(c) National and community service programs should make Federal support more accountable and more effective; and
(d) National and community service programs should expand opportunities for involvement of faith-based and other community organizations.
Sec. 3. Agency Implementation. (a) The Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation for National and Community Service (Chief Executive Officer) shall, in coordination with the USA Freedom Corps Council, review and evaluate existing policies governing national and community service programs in order to assess the consistency of such policies with the fundamental principles and policymaking criteria described in section 2 of this order.
(b) The Chief Executive Officer shall ensure that all policies governing national and community service programs issued by the Corporation are consistent with the fundamental principles and policymaking criteria described in section 2 of this order. To that end, the Chief Executive Officer shall, to the extent permitted by law,
(i) amend all such existing policies to ensure that they are consistent with the fundamental principles and policymaking criteria articulated in section 2 of this order; and
(ii) where appropriate, implement new policies that are consistent with and necessary to further the fundamental principles and policymaking criteria set forth in section 2 of this order.
(c) In developing implementation steps, the Chief Executive Officer should address, at a minimum, the following objectives:
(i) National and community service programs should leverage Federal resources to maximize support from the private sector and from State and local governments, with an emphasis on reforms that enhance programmatic flexibility, reduce administrative burdens, and calibrate Federal assistance to the respective needs of recipient organizations;
(ii) National and community service programs should leverage Federal resources to enable the recruitment and effective management of a larger number of volunteers than is currently possible;
(iii) National and community service programs should increase efforts to expand opportunities for, and strengthen the capacity of, faith-based and other community organizations in building and strengthening an infrastructure to support volunteers that meet community needs;
(iv) National and community service programs should adopt performance measures to identify those practices that merit replication and further investment, as well as to ensure accountability;
(v) National and community service programs should, consistent with the principles of Federalism and the constitutional role of the States and Indian tribes, promote innovation, flexibility, and results at all levels of government;
(vi) National and community service programs based in schools should employ tutors who meet required paraprofessional qualifications, and use such practices and methodologies as are required for supplemental educational services;
(vii) National and community service programs should foster a lifetime of citizenship and civic engagement among those who serve;
(viii) National and community service programs should avoid or eliminate practices that displace volunteers who are not supported under the national service laws; and
(ix) Guidelines for the selection of national and community service programs should recognize the importance of professional corps programs in light of the fundamental principles and policymaking criteria set forth in this order.
Sec. 4. Management Reforms. (a) The Corporation should implement internal management reforms to strengthen its oversight of national and community service programs through enforcement of performance and compliance standards and other management tools.
(b) Management reforms should include, but should not be limited to, the following:
(i) Institutionalized changes to the budgetary and grant-making processes to ensure that financial commitments remain within available resources;
(ii) Enhanced accounting and management systems that would ensure compliance with fiscal restrictions and provide timely, accurate, and readily available information about enrollment in AmeriCorps and about funding and obligations incurred for all national and community service programs;
(iii) Assurance by the Chief Executive Officer and the Chief Financial Officer in the Corporation’s Management Representation Letter that its financial statements, including the Statement of Budgetary Resources, are accurate and reliable; and
(iv) Management reforms that tie employee performance to fiscal responsibility, attainment of management goals, and professional conduct.
Sec. 5. Report. Within 180 days after the date of this order, the Chief Executive Officer shall report to the President, through the Assistant to the President and Director of the USA Freedom Corps Office, the actions the Corporation proposes to undertake to accomplish the objectives set forth in this order.
Sec. 6. Judicial Review. This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by a party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or other entities, its officers or employees, or any other person.
Memorandum of President of the United States, July 15, 2013, 78 F.R. 43747, provided:
Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies
Service has always been integral to the American identity. Our country was built on the belief that all of us, working together, can make this country a better place for all. That spirit remains as strong and integral to our identity today as at our country’s founding.
Since its creation 20 years ago, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) has been the Federal agency charged with leading and expanding national service. The Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act of 2009 (SAA) expanded CNCS’s authority to create opportunities for more Americans to serve. This landmark, bipartisan legislation focuses national service on six areas: emergency and disaster services; economic opportunity; education; environmental stewardship; healthy futures; and veterans and military families. The SAA provides greater opportunities for CNCS to partner with other executive departments and agencies (agencies) and with the private sector to utilize national service to address these critical areas.
National service and volunteering can be effective solutions to national challenges and can have positive and lasting impacts that reach beyond the immediate service experience. Americans engaged in national service make an intensive commitment to tackle unmet national and local needs by working through non-profit, faith-based, and community organizations. Service can help Americans gain valuable skills, pursue higher education, and jumpstart their careers, which can provide immediate and long-term benefits to those individuals, as well as the communities in which they serve.
Americans are ready and willing to serve. Applications from Americans seeking to engage in national service programs far exceed the number of available positions. By creating new partnerships between agencies and CNCS that expand national service opportunities in areas aligned with agency missions, we can utilize the American spirit of service to improve lives and communities, expand economic and educational opportunities, enhance agencies’ capacity to achieve their missions, efficiently use tax dollars, help individuals develop skills that will enable them to prepare for long-term careers, and build a pipeline to employment inside and outside the Federal Government.
Therefore, by the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to expand the positive impact of national service, I hereby direct the following:
Section 1. Establishing a Task Force on Expanding National Service. There is established a Task Force on Expanding National Service, to be co-chaired by the Chief Executive Officer of CNCS and the Director of the Domestic Policy Council, which shall include representatives from agencies and offices that administer programs and develop policies in areas that include the six focus areas set forth in the SAA. The Task Force shall include representatives from:
(a) the Department of Defense;
(b) the Department of Justice;
(c) the Department of the Interior;
(d) the Department of Agriculture;
(e) the Department of Commerce;
(f) the Department of Labor;
(g) the Department of Health and Human Services;
(h) the Department of Housing and Urban Development;
(i) the Department of Transportation;
(j) the Department of Energy;
(k) the Department of Education;
(l) the Department of Veterans Affairs;
(m) the Department of Homeland Security;
(n) the Peace Corps;
(o) the National Science Foundation;
(p) the Office of Personnel Management;
(q) the Environmental Protection Agency;
(r) the White House Office of Cabinet Affairs; and
(s) such other agencies and offices as the co-chairs may designate.
Sec. 2. Mission and Function of the Task Force. (a) The Task Force shall:
(i) identify existing, and, if appropriate, recommend new, policies or practices that support the expansion of national service and volunteer opportunities that align with the SAA and agency priorities;
(ii) make recommendations on the most effective way to coordinate national service and volunteering programs across the Federal Government;
(iii) identify and develop opportunities for interagency agreements between CNCS and other agencies to support the expansion of national service and volunteering;
(iv) identify and develop public-private partnerships to support the expansion of national service and volunteering;
(v) identify and develop strategies to use innovation and technology to facilitate the ability of the public to participate in national service and volunteering activities; and
(vi) develop a mechanism to evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of national service and volunteering interventions in achieving agency priorities, and aggregate and disseminate the results of that evaluation.
(b) Within 18 months of the date of this memorandum, the Task Force shall provide the President with a report on the progress made with respect to the functions set forth in subsection (a) of this section.
Sec. 3. Facilitating National Service and Volunteering Partnerships. (a) Each agency on the Task Force shall:
(i) within 180 days of the date of this memorandum, consult with CNCS about how existing authorities and CNCS programs can be used to enter into interagency and public-private partnerships that allow for meaningful national service and volunteering opportunities, including participating in AmeriCorps, and help the agency achieve its mission;
(ii) work with CNCS to evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of such partnerships; and
(iii) work with CNCS to identify ways in which the agency’s national service participants and volunteers can develop transferable skills, and also how national service can serve as a pipeline to employment inside and outside the Federal Government.
(b) Where practicable, agencies may consider entering into interagency agreements with CNCS to share program development and funding responsibilities, as authorized under 42 U.S.C. 12571(b)(1).
Sec. 4. Recruitment of National Service Participants in the Civilian Career Services. In order to provide national service participants a means to pursue additional opportunities to continue their public service through career civilian service, the Office of Personnel Management shall, within 120 days of the date of this memorandum, issue guidance to agencies on developing and improving Federal recruitment strategies for participants in national service.
Sec. 5. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this memorandum shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law or Executive Order to an agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This memorandum shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c) This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
(d) The Chief Executive Officer of CNCS is hereby authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.