WASHINGTON, DC – Jaclyn Kolar of Austin was announced as the 2020 Outstanding Commission Staff Member of the year last night at a virtual awards ceremony held by America’s Service Commissions (ASC) at the association’s annual Innovation and Leadership Awards.
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. This marked the first year the event was celebrated virtually due to COVID-19.
Kolar is Director of National Service for OneStar Foundation, the Texas state service commission. She oversees the state’s AmeriCorps Texas grant portfolio and a statewide AmeriCorps VISTA Intermediary Project. Jaclyn first came to OneStar as a Program Officer in 2015, before being promoted to Manager and now Director. Prior to joining OneStar, Jaclyn spent five years working at the Travis County 4-H CAPITAL AmeriCorps program in Austin. She is a two-time AmeriCorps Alum, serving first as a VISTA in Vermont and then a VISTA Leader in Texas.
Kolar is known as a strong advocate for Texas AmeriCorps programs. She has also been sought out as a thought partner for the local ServeAustin AmeriCorps recruitment collaborative, helping the consortium better leverage private foundation dollars with federal grant funds, to boost AmeriCorps member benefits and incentivize recruitment and retention.
The advent of COVID-19 has put incredible pressure on the national service and nonprofit sectors. In response, Kolar created an immediate COVID-19 Planning Grant process that enabled existing AmeriCorps programs to adapt and receive additional risk management support for COVID-19 safety protocols to continue or even expand their services. It took her only five days to develop and publish the COVID-19 AmeriCorps Planning Grant opportunity in March, only two weeks after most shelter-in-place orders had begun. Under Kolar’s leadership, OneStar was able to quickly fund 15 emergency COVID grant applications totaling more than $920,000 in just two weeks.
Kolar was honored along with the following awardees:
2020 ASC Innovation & Leadership Award Recipients:
- Friend of America’s Service Commissions: Senator Chris Coons (Delaware)
- Friend of America’s Service Commissions: Senator Roger Wicker (Mississippi)
- Friend of America’s Service Commissions: Congressman Dave Loebsack (Iowa)
- State Service Leadership Award: State Senator Tony Vargas (Nebraska)
- State Service Leadership Award: State Representative Matt Wilhelm (New Hampshire)
- State Service Leadership Award: Mayor Michael Tubbs (California)
- Outstanding Commissioner: Paul Calistro (Delaware)
- Outstanding Commission Executive Director: Renee Bade (Idaho)
- Outstanding Commission Staff: Jaclyn Kolar (Texas)
- Outstanding Commission Staff: Sarah Sadowski (Montana)
- Outstanding Service Program: United Way of King County (Washington)
- Outstanding Service Program Staff: Gail Klearman (Iowa)
- Honor Roll: Stacy Higa (Hawaii)
- Honor Roll: Bill Hulterstrom (Utah)
“It’s an honor to recognize Jaclyn Kolar for her innovation and dedication to strengthening service and volunteering in Texas, especially at this critical juncture in our nation’s history,” said Kaira Esgate, CEO of America’s Service Commissions. “We are grateful for her tireless work to meet the moment through service, in spite of a global pandemic and greater challenges than we ever could have imagined a year ago.”
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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-appointed public agencies or nonprofit organizations made up of more than 1,200 commissioners, private citizens leading the nation’s service movement and administering nearly 80 percent of the federal AmeriCorps funds to address pressing community needs. Learn more at statecommissions.org.
OneStar Foundation equips Texas communities to meet their needs by convening partners across sectors to build the capacity of nonprofits, promoting service and volunteerism, and investing in effective solutions. As a supporting nonprofit of the Office of the Governor, OneStar serves as the state’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives and the State Service Commission, administering a portfolio of approximately $17.8 million in federal grant funds for AmeriCorps Texas programs. OneStar is recognized as a statewide voice for the nonprofit sector and a respected partner to foundations, state agencies, and the business community.