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AmeriCorps VISTA for Project Sponsors
Application Deadline: Jun 1, 2021
Provides nonprofits, state and local public agencies, and Native American tribes with an opportunity to engage AmeriCorps Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) members in anti-poverty projects at local, regional, and national levels. Sponsor organizations are responsible for recruiting, training, and managing VISTA members who commit to one year of full-time, volunteer service. Projects focus on building capacity, sustainability, and community empowerment to help people raise their standard of living and emerge from poverty.
For fiscal year (FY) 2021, AmeriCorps VISTA prioritizes projects in four focus areas:
Economic Opportunity - to end poverty
and provide opportunities to low-income individuals for
workforce training, education, and other employment
- Housing and eviction prevention
- Employment/workforce development
- Bridging the digital divide
Healthy Futures - to meet the health
needs of economically disadvantaged individuals in the
community being served, especially in response to the
COVID-19 pandemic, including:
- Access to healthcare
- COVID-19 contact tracing programs
- Food security
- Substance use prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery activities to address the opioid crisis in low-income communities
Education - to improve educational
outcomes for economically disadvantaged children.
Priority areas include:
- School readiness and learning loss
- Remote learning
- K-12 success
- Career and technical education
- College access and success
- Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programs
Veterans and Military Families - to
support low-income veterans and military families.
Priority areas include:
- Preventing and/or reducing veterans' homelessness
- School readiness
- K-12 and college success
- Career and technical education and post-secondary employment success
- Opioid addiction prevention and recovery
For FY 2021, AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associate programming priorities include:
- Preventing summer learning loss for students
- Combating hunger and food insecurity, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Summer Food Service Programs and senior meal programs
- Scaling up COVID-19 contact tracing programs
Within the focus areas described above, AmeriCorps VISTA encourages new FY 2021 project development with specific populations and geographic areas in:
- Rural communities
- Indian Country
- Areas of concentrated poverty defined as U.S. Census Bureau tracts or counties with poverty rates above 20%. Special consideration is given to areas of persistent poverty which have had a poverty level of 20% or higher for 30 years or more. Use USDA Rural Development's concentrated poverty mapping tool to assist in identifying these areas.
Priority consideration will be given to projects that advance racial equity in one of VISTA's focus areas or priority populations.
Amount of Funding
There are two different funding options for VISTA sponsorships, a standard project and a cost-share partnership.
For standard projects, the sponsoring organization provides funds for local operating and logistical costs such as office space, computers, equipment, and training for VISTA members. AmeriCorps provides VISTA members with a living allowance and other important benefits, including:
- Health coverage
- Travel relocation costs
- Segal Education Award or end-of-service stipend
- Other benefits
For cost-share partnerships, the sponsoring organization provides funds for local operating and logistical costs. The sponsor organization covers part or all of VISTA members' living allowance, while AmeriCorps assumes remaining costs, including the benefits described above.
Who Can Apply
Private or public nonprofit organizations, Native American tribes, and state, and local government agencies are eligible to apply.
Sponsors must operate and direct the project, recruit and supervise AmeriCorps VISTA members, and complete the necessary administrative support activities to meet the project goals. Sponsors must also develop and implement projects with meaningful involvement of the low-income communities to be served.
Organizations that focus solely on advocacy and lobbying are not eligible.
Only current sponsors are eligible to participate in the Summer Associates program, pending the availability of resources. To be considered a current sponsor, a memorandum of agreement with any new organization must be in place by March 31, 2021. AmeriCorps strongly encourages Summer Associate projects that serve or plan to serve tribal communities.
What This Program Funds
Applicants must complete a two-step process to apply to become a VISTA sponsor agency:
- Step 1: Applicants must submit an AmeriCorps VISTA concept paper describing the proposed VISTA project. Concept papers are a preliminary screening tool used to determine if the organization would be appropriate for potential VISTA sponsorship and resources. Concept papers must be submitted electronically through the eGrants web-based management system.
- Step 2: If the concept paper is approved, applicants are then invited to submit a full AmeriCorps VISTA project application.
AmeriCorps issues a quarterly request for concept papers. Dates and submission deadlines can be found in the FY 2021 request for concept papers timeline. Applicants are encouraged to contact their AmeriCorps State Service Commission before submitting a concept paper to discuss application details, project ideas, and other questions.
Topics This Program Addresses
American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians • Community Planning and Coalition Building • COVID-19 Response • Education and Training • Employment • Health and Wellness • Health Education for Community and Patients • Housing and Homelessness • Mental Health • Opioids • Prevention • Recovery • Substance Use Disorder • Treatment • Veterans