Springfield nonprofit to receive over $100k to support tutoring program

The nonprofit Springfield Promise Neighborhood has been reapproved for a grant that will help them provide tutoring to elementary-aged students.

The organization will engage 20 AmeriCorps members in their program who will work with preschool-aged children and their families to help prepare them for kindergarten. The members will also tutor at four elementary schools in the south side of Springfield serving primarily low-income youth.

The nonprofit, which started as a product of the Springfield Foundation, has four full-time staff members. The nonprofit’s main goal for the upcoming year is to enroll more students in its literacy program and increase the program success rate, which already falls at 80%.

“We’re really focusing on trying to be a community organization that enhances, supports and uplifts the community on the south side,” Executive Director of Springfield Promise Neighborhood Kali Lawrence said.

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Springfield Promise Neighborhoods received a $139,244 federal grant from AmeriCorps to fund the tutoring, among other items. The local nonprofit is one of 30 organizations in Ohio to receive funding and human capital in the form of volunteers toward their community improvement efforts.

AmeriCorps, a federal agency dedicated to service and volunteerism, engages about 900 members each year who serve about 1.2 million hours of service per year.

“The amount of community support that we’ve received has been enormous. We would not be in the place where we are at now without the significant contributions from churches, other nonprofits and all of our major community and city partners,’' Lawrence said. “Everybody is looking to work together, and the community has been so supportive.”

Throughout the 2021-2022 program year, Serve Ohio has awarded more than $9.8 million in AmeriCorps grants to improve Ohio communities in the areas of education, economic opportunity, healthy futures and environmental sustainability.

According to Rebeccah Verhoff-Kiss, director of strategic engagement for Serve Ohio, Springfield Promise and its engagement with AmeriCorps volunteers is impactful for both the community and the members who serve.

“It gives AmeriCorps members professional development opportunities, workforce development opportunities, and puts them in a professional environment,” Verhoff-Kiss said. “A lot of times these AmeriCorps members decide they want to go into a career around what it is they did during their service year and then they become the pipeline for new workers in that field.”

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Verhoff-Kiss says Ohio has an incredible volunteer ethic, with volunteerism bringing in an estimated $6.7 billion of labor at no cost.

“Volunteers are the backbone of communities, and a lot of times, volunteers will report that they get more out of volunteering than they give,” said Verhoff-Kiss, director of strategic engagement for Serve Ohio. “It’s a win-win for communities to be able to take advantage of support from their own community and it’s really allowing volunteers to give back and become more deeply involved.”

Springfield Promise Neighborhood is recruiting for community members interested in serving and working with children. Those interested can visit Springfieldpromise.com