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Executive Director Amber Martin-Jahn Receives National Honor from America's Service Commission

image of Outstanding Commission Executive Director Amber Martin-Jahn - ASC Innovative & Leadership Award 2021

OLYMPIA – Serve Washington Executive Director Amber Martin-Jahn was recently named Outstanding Commission Executive Director of the year by America’s Service Commissions at the association’s annual Innovation and Leadership Awards ceremony.

The awards program is held each year to recognize the leadership and accomplishments of state service commissions and their commissioners, staff, service programs and legislative champions from across the United States and its territories.

Honorees were selected by a panel of external reviewers through a competitive national process.

Martin-Jahn joined Serve Washington in 2018 after previously directing the Nevada Volunteers state commission. Working hand in hand with governor-appointed Serve Washington commissioners, Martin-Jahn and her team work to advance AmeriCorps, national service, volunteerism, and civic engagement to improve lives, expand opportunity to meet local needs and strengthen community capacity.

Erika Tucci, chair of Washington’s state commission said Martin-Jahn is a key part of Serve Washington’s success.

“The way Amber worked tirelessly across state agencies and with new philanthropic partners is incredible to comprehend,” Tucci said. “Amber’s work has put Serve Washington on the map in new ways with cross-sector partners working to solve significant community challenges, has focused on creating the utmost in member experience, and maximized the ability for citizens to serve their friends and neighbors in Washington.”

Early in the pandemic, Martin-Jahn worked to develop an innovative partnership with the Schultz Family Foundation in response to COVID-19, which resulted in the launch of the WA COVID Response Corps. The Schultz Family Foundation invested in AmeriCorps programs across the state, marking the first time private philanthropy has partnered with Serve Washington to expand service capacity and the AmeriCorps member experience. Thanks to Martin-Jahn’s efforts, more than 100 Response Corps members received higher living allowances in high-cost areas, and an emergency fund was developed for AmeriCorps members in need, with additional supports put in place. Because of her work, the Schultz Family Foundation invested more than $1.59 million in Washington communities in the first year of the program.

The initiative led to 61,000 hours of service, 24 million pounds of food provided, and 4.7 million meals served to Washingtonians in need of support.

After a successful first year of teaming with the Schultz Family Foundation, the Washington COVID Response Corps has been renewed for the 2021–22 service year, with the foundation committing $2.23 million for seven programs supporting more than 200 AmeriCorps members. And due to the success of the partnership in Washington, the Schultz Family Foundation issued a $1 million National Service Challenge to the state service commission network nationwide for all states who wish to apply to expand their own state’s service capacity. The challenge will scale the impact of an innovative public-private partnership model pioneered by Martin-Jahn to expand service opportunities for young people around the country.

During the virtual awards ceremony on Sept. 14, Martin-Jahn was honored along with the following awardees:

2021 ASC Innovation & Leadership Award Recipients:

Friend of America’s Service Commissions: Congressman David E. Price (North Carolina)
Friend of America’s Service Commissions: Congresswoman Doris Matsui (California)
Friend of America’s Service Commissions: Congressman Tom Cole (Oklahoma)
Friend of America’s Service Commissions: Congressman Michael Waltz (Florida)
State Service Leadership Award: State Representative Morgan J. Rielly (Maine)
Outstanding Commissioner: Margarita Rodriguez-Duffy (Delaware)
Outstanding Commission Executive Director: Amber Martin-Jahn (Washington)
Outstanding Commission Staff: Dr. Sandy Pulles (Minnesota)
Outstanding Commission Staff: Ruhamah Bauman (Wisconsin)
Outstanding Service Program: COVID-19 Containment Response Corps (Colorado)
Outstanding Service Program Staff: Dr. Mary Ellen Isaacs (Texas)
Honor Roll: Thomas Branen (Maryland)

Kaira Esgate, CEO of America’s Service Commissions said the state has benefited from Martin-Jahn’s hard work.

“It’s an honor to recognize Amber Martin-Jahn for her innovative efforts, collaborative spirit, and inspiring determination to improve communities through service and volunteerism in Washington,” Esgate said. “We are grateful for Amber’s tireless work to meet the challenges of the past year by advancing AmeriCorps and national service statewide and her willingness to share her knowledge and resources with commissions across the country.”

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About: Serve Washington advances national service, volunteerism and civic engagement to improve lives; expands opportunity to meet the local critical needs of residents of Washington; and strengthens community capacity while creating healthy and resilient communities. For more information, visit

About America’s Service Commissions
America’s Service Commissions (ASC) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing and promoting the 52 state service commissions across the United States and territories with the mission to lead and elevate the state service network. State service commissions are governor-designated public agencies or nonprofit organizations made up of more than 1,000 commissioners, private citizens leading the nation’s service movement and administering more than 75% of the federal AmeriCorps State and National funding to address pressing community needs. Learn more at