Amizade and the American Rescue Plan

AMIZADE AND THE AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN

There has been a lot of change over the past year, but one thing that hasn’t changed is why we run our programs. Amizade seeks to inspire empathy, catalyze social action, and link diverse communities. After more than a year of quarantines, social distancing, and learning loss, students need to feel re-inspired and reconnected. Through our 25+ years of experience in creating educational opportunities that inspire young people, Amizade can help close the learning gap and get your students excited about learning again. We can do so by building a more relevant, collaborative, and responsible classroom. 

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)

On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021 into law. The total package is expansive and includes funding for vaccines, testing and tracing, housing programs, school reopening and many other COVID-19 relief measures. ARPA also includes stimulus checks, supplemental unemployment insurance and support for businesses. The legislation totals about $1.9 trillion, of which at least $162 billion has been earmarked for education.

Read more below for a brief overview of the American Rescue Plan funds — with examples of how we can help — or contact volunteer@amizade.org to plan a program today. 

ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOL EMERGENCY RELIEF FUND (ESSER)

In 2020 and 2021, Congress passed three stimulus bills that provided nearly $190.5 billion to the Elementary and Secondary Emergency Education Relief (ESSER) Fund:

  • ESSER I: $13.4 Billion in March 2020 through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act
  • ESSER II: $54.3 Billion in December 2020 through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA)
  • ESSER III: $122.7 Billion in March 2021 through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)

ESSER III funding will move from the federal level, to the state level, and then to local education agencies (LEAs), or local school boards. At the state level, 5% of these funds must be allocated to learning loss, 1% to after-school activities, and 1% to summer learning programs. At the school board level, at least 20% of the funding that is received will need to address learning loss. Two thirds of ESSER III funds are available immediately, while the remaining third will be available to states after they submit their implementation plans. 

In case you didn’t know, Amizade has worked with high schools for many years.
How can Amizade help local school boards reach their goals with ESSER III funding?  

Example 1: Virtual or In-Person Summer Learning Programs

These programs provide real-world context for almost any subject and age group. Amizade partners with community leaders and grassroots organizations around the world who love to share their stories. Whether it’s one day or three weeks, your students will be inspired, hear new perspectives, and gain cross-cultural and leadership skills that will help them confidently return to the classroom. 

Example 2: Virtual or In-Person 2022 School Year Programs

Plan a guest speaker series or add a service project to any of your classes and subjects. Looking for a science lesson? Tour a mangrove reserve in Puerto Rico with Caras con Causa and learn about the process of planting mangrove seedlings. What about history? Connect directly with a Holocaust expert in Poland. Studying business? Learn from ambitious and thoughtful entrepreneurs in Italy or Bolivia.

Example 3: Virtual or In-Person After School Programs

If this doesn’t fit into your classroom time, plan an after school program that takes your students around the world from the comfort of their homes. If you’re in the Pittsburgh area, plan a hands-on, experiential after-school program with Amizade facilitators and our local partners.

HIGHER EDUCATION EMERGENCY RELIEF FUND (HEERF)

In 2020 and 2021, Congress passed three stimulus bills that provided over $77 billion to the Higher Education Emergency Relief (HEERF) Fund:

  • HEERF I: $14 Billion in March 2020 through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act
  • HEERF II: $23 Billion in December 2020 through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA)
  • HEERF III: $40 Billion in March 2021 through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)

HEERF funding is distributed from the Department of Education directly to nonprofit and for-profit higher education institutions. For-profit institutions must use 100% of their HEERF III funding towards student grants.  Non-profit institutions must distribute 50% of their HEERF III funding towards student grants, while the remaining 50% are to be used to defray expenses related to coronavirus including: lost revenue, reimbursement for expenses already incurred, technology costs associated with a transition to distance education, faculty and staff trainings, payroll, and to make additional financial aid grants to students. 

How can Amizade help higher education institutions reach their goals with
HEERF III funding? Click on the options below to explore.

WORK WITH AMIZADE

Want to use ESSER or HEERF funds to plan a program? Contact us to get started.

A NOTE OF SOLIDARITY AND SUPPORT FOR OUR NETWORK

Amid the flood of Covid-19 information, policies, regulations and advice, we would like to offer a simple message of solidarity and support. The past 12+ months are teaching us what a global pandemic requires of us — and it is difficult for everyone. The past year has been difficult for students who were forced to struggle with the demands of virtual education, while missing out on each other’s company and the joys of walking through their school or college campus. It has been difficult for parents and families, who have had to make adjustments financially, emotionally, and logistically.  The year has been difficult for teachers, administrators, faculty, and staff members who have had to wrestle with the complexities of working in a whole new way, while also balancing the needs of students with care for the whole community. It’s been difficult for everyone. As we consider the future, we worry about the health and safety of our loved ones and mourn the loss of so much and so many. 

On behalf of all of us here at Amizade, we offer our gratitude to the members of this network who have joined together to continue to advance our mission of inspiring empathy, catalyzing social action, and linking diverse communities, all with grace through the most difficult of times. Thanks to your efforts, Amizade continues to connect people all over the world as we work to build a more just and joyful world. May we all strive to grow through this historic challenge together.