Learn and Serve America:
School-based and Community-based Programs
This grants program involves school-age youth in service-learning efforts
that are administered by two different sets of organizations and receive
support through two different competitions. The grants are:
School-based. Learn and Serve America school-based programs are
administered by state education agencies (or local education agencies in
states that do not apply for funding), Indian tribes, U.S. territories,
and nonprofit organizations. Participants are elementary and secondary
school students. Along with planning, implementing, and expanding
service-learning programs, grantees can use Learn and Serve America
funds to support adult volunteer programs and teacher training in
Community-based. Learn and Serve America Community-based
programs are administered by State Commissions on
National Service and nonprofit organizations. These funds may be used
to implement, expand orreplicate community-based service-learning
programs. Participants are students and out-of-school
youth between the ages of 5 and 17.
What is Service-learning?
Service-learning is a method of teaching and learning that involves
young people in service to their community as part of the curriculum.
Service-learning programs engage young people in community activities
that show how skills acquired in school can be used to solve real-life
problems. At the same time, program activities help students understand
their ability to help determine and address the quality of life in their
Service-learning involves students in ongoing community projects that
complement their classroom studies. For example, students might plan,
prepare and serve lunch in a homeless shelter on a weekly basis
as part of their health education class. By creating and serving
balanced meals, students not only learn nutrition basics, they also
establish relationships with people different from
themselves and gain an understanding of the conditions that lead to
How are Learn and Serve America funds distributed?
The Corporation distributes Learn and Serve America funds in two ways:
(1) to state education agencies according to a population-based
allotment (states then award grants to local applicants);
(2) to state Commissions on National Service, nonprofit grantmaking
entites, Indian tribes, and U.S. territories through a competitive
How do schools and community organizations apply?
School districts and community-based organizations complete separate
applications. Interested schools and school districts should contact
their state education agency for applications. Community
programs should contact their State Commission on National Service.
Nonprofits operating in two or more states may apply directly to the
Corporation. For your state contact and information on application
deadlines, please call Learn and Serve America: School- and
Community-based programs in Washington, D.C., 202-606-5000.
What do successful proposals have in common?
Successful applicants reveal clear understanding of service-learning and
how a program will benefit communities served as well as enhance
students' academic studies. Ideal programs allow
young people to fully participate in their design and implementation.
They also help students gain insight into how local government and
nonprofit organizations can work together to address community needs.