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New AmeriCorps CEO Has Long Service History

The director of a signature program in the Obama White House that continued to the Obama Foundation will be the next CEO of AmeriCorps, the federal agency for national service and volunteerism formerly called the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).

The U.S. Senate confirmed the appointment of Michael D. Smith by a 58-41 vote. Nine Republicans joined 47 Democrats and 2 Independents in approving the confirmation; one Democrat did not vote. All 41 votes against the confirmation came from Republicans. President Joseph Biden announced plans in June to nominate Smith. He succeeds Barbara Stewart, who served as CEO from February 2018 to January 2021.

Smith previously was executive director of the My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Alliance and director of the Youth Opportunity Programs at the Obama Foundation in Chicago. He was part of the team that designed and launched the MBK initiative in the Obama administration. He was appointed special assistant to the president and senior director of cabinet affairs for My Brother’s Keeper, managing the initiative and interagency task force at the White House.

Prior to joining the White House team, Smith was director of the Social Innovation Fund (SIF), senior vice president of social innovation at the Case Foundation, and helped build national initiatives aimed at bridging the digital divide. A Senior Atlantic Fellow for Racial Equity, Smith also was a member of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America’s Alumni Hall of Fame — the highest honor bestowed by the organization. He also serves on the board of directors of Results for America and Venture Philanthropy Partners (VPP).

Smith holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from Marymount University in Arlington, Va., according to his LinkedIn profile, and in the late 1990s served as staff assistant to Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), who currently is chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

“A former colleague and fervent champion, Michael has committed his career to serving others, creating opportunities to improve access and equity, and focus on leaving one’s community stronger,” Mal Coles, who has been acting CEO of AmeriCorps since January, said via a statement announcing Smith’s confirmation. “He’s a long-time advocate, changemaker, and innovator who can undoubtedly help AmeriCorps and the national service community inspire new generations of Americans to serve.”

In September 2020, national service programs, organizations and members funded through the AmeriCorps VISTA, the National Civilian Community Corps, and state and national programs, and the Volunteer Generation Fund, united under the name AmeriCorps.

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