Blue-State Bonanza for Americorps Funding

This week the White House announced $234 million in grants to Americorps and other "service"-oriented nonprofits through the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act. The press release reports:

Together with other positions in AmeriCorps VISTA and NCCC, AmeriCorps is on track to support more than 85,000 members this year, the first step towards the Serve America Act goal of 250,000 annual AmeriCorps members by the year 2017.

These numbers don't approach the perhaps hyperbolic remark by candidate Obama in July 2008 that "[w]e've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded [as our military]." But a force of 250,000 isn't insignificant; our Marine Corps numbers 203,000.

Analysis of the 2010 disbursements reveals gross inequalities among the states. As with ARRA stimulus money, blue states were the big winners. Overall, states that voted for Obama in 2008 garnered 81% of Ted Kennedy Serve America funding, while red states were thrown a bone of the remaining 19%.

My own state of Massachusetts, home to around 2% of the U.S. population, was the big winner, with 12.61% of the funding, which will support service jobs for 6,278 people. One nonprofit called Jumpstart is receiving funding for 1,520 employees. Apparently it doesn't hurt to have the Act named after our former Senator.

The disparity among states was striking: The top ten states received 70% of the money, while the bottom ten states received a mere 1.45%. The top nine states all voted for Obama in 2008, while five of the bottom ten were red states.

Total Competitive Grants

$234,400,720






2008 Election

Massachusetts

$29,569,006

12.61%

Obama

New York

$28,141,957

12.01%

Obama

California

$20,176,073

8.61%

Obama

Maryland

$15,834,406

6.76%

Obama

Washington

$14,878,192

6.35%

Obama

District of Columbia

$13,529,798

5.77%

Obama

Minnesota

$13,456,794

5.74%

Obama

Wisconsin

$10,967,327

4.68%

Obama

Pennsylvania

$9,374,913

4.00%

Obama

Mississippi

$9,191,691

3.92%

McCain





Top Ten States

$165,120,157

70.44%






North Dakota

0

0

McCain

South Carolina

0

0

McCain

Virginia

0

0

Obama

Delaware

$126,000

0.05%

Obama

South Dakota

$288,119

0.12%

McCain

Kansas

$537,946

0.23%

McCain

Connecticut

$576,339

0.25%

Obama

Vermont

$612,001

0.26%

Obama

Nevada

$617,500

0.26%

McCain

Arkansas

$648,663

0.28%

McCain

Bottom Ten States

$3,406,568

1.45%



The way the program redistributes federal tax receipts isn't even a case of "spreading the wealth around"; many of the wealthiest states receive the most funding. Massachusetts, 6th out of 50 in median household income, receives twelve times the funding of West Virginia, 49thth out of 50. The District of Columbia, with 600,000 residents, receives 18 times the funding of Alabama, population 4.7 million. In other words, D.C. ranks 11th in median household income, and it receives 140 times as much funding per capita as Alabama, which is 46th out of 50.

Since these grants were competitive, it is possible that Massachusetts simply is home to more of the breed of entrepreneur who can create a viable service organization that attracts government funding. Furthermore, blue states are more likely than red states to have been swept up in the service learning mania that has infiltrated our schools. It stands to reason that there is greater demand for our children to prove their moral worth by serving others, so our states require more money.

And there is a slim possibility that Chicago-style slush fund political payback played a role in these allocations.
This week the White House announced $234 million in grants to Americorps and other "service"-oriented nonprofits through the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act. The press release reports:

Together with other positions in AmeriCorps VISTA and NCCC, AmeriCorps is on track to support more than 85,000 members this year, the first step towards the Serve America Act goal of 250,000 annual AmeriCorps members by the year 2017.

These numbers don't approach the perhaps hyperbolic remark by candidate Obama in July 2008 that "[w]e've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded [as our military]." But a force of 250,000 isn't insignificant; our Marine Corps numbers 203,000.

Analysis of the 2010 disbursements reveals gross inequalities among the states. As with ARRA stimulus money, blue states were the big winners. Overall, states that voted for Obama in 2008 garnered 81% of Ted Kennedy Serve America funding, while red states were thrown a bone of the remaining 19%.

My own state of Massachusetts, home to around 2% of the U.S. population, was the big winner, with 12.61% of the funding, which will support service jobs for 6,278 people. One nonprofit called Jumpstart is receiving funding for 1,520 employees. Apparently it doesn't hurt to have the Act named after our former Senator.

The disparity among states was striking: The top ten states received 70% of the money, while the bottom ten states received a mere 1.45%. The top nine states all voted for Obama in 2008, while five of the bottom ten were red states.

Total Competitive Grants

$234,400,720






2008 Election

Massachusetts

$29,569,006

12.61%

Obama

New York

$28,141,957

12.01%

Obama

California

$20,176,073

8.61%

Obama

Maryland

$15,834,406

6.76%

Obama

Washington

$14,878,192

6.35%

Obama

District of Columbia

$13,529,798

5.77%

Obama

Minnesota

$13,456,794

5.74%

Obama

Wisconsin

$10,967,327

4.68%

Obama

Pennsylvania

$9,374,913

4.00%

Obama

Mississippi

$9,191,691

3.92%

McCain





Top Ten States

$165,120,157

70.44%






North Dakota

0

0

McCain

South Carolina

0

0

McCain

Virginia

0

0

Obama

Delaware

$126,000

0.05%

Obama

South Dakota

$288,119

0.12%

McCain

Kansas

$537,946

0.23%

McCain

Connecticut

$576,339

0.25%

Obama

Vermont

$612,001

0.26%

Obama

Nevada

$617,500

0.26%

McCain

Arkansas

$648,663

0.28%

McCain

Bottom Ten States

$3,406,568

1.45%



The way the program redistributes federal tax receipts isn't even a case of "spreading the wealth around"; many of the wealthiest states receive the most funding. Massachusetts, 6th out of 50 in median household income, receives twelve times the funding of West Virginia, 49thth out of 50. The District of Columbia, with 600,000 residents, receives 18 times the funding of Alabama, population 4.7 million. In other words, D.C. ranks 11th in median household income, and it receives 140 times as much funding per capita as Alabama, which is 46th out of 50.

Since these grants were competitive, it is possible that Massachusetts simply is home to more of the breed of entrepreneur who can create a viable service organization that attracts government funding. Furthermore, blue states are more likely than red states to have been swept up in the service learning mania that has infiltrated our schools. It stands to reason that there is greater demand for our children to prove their moral worth by serving others, so our states require more money.

And there is a slim possibility that Chicago-style slush fund political payback played a role in these allocations.