Franklin Project National Service Handbook for Organizations to Plan Service Year Programs National...

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Franklin Project National Service Handbook for Organizations to Plan Service Year Programs National Conference on Citizenship Aspen Institute Andrew Williams Jr Email: [email protected] Mobile: +1-424-222-1997 Skype: andrew.williams.jr

Transcript of Franklin Project National Service Handbook for Organizations to Plan Service Year Programs National...

  • Service Year: Coming Soon A Handbook for Organizations to Plan Service Year Programs June 2014
  • 5/29/14 1 Service Year: Coming Soon A Handbook for Organizations to Plan Service Year Programs Table of Contents About us Our partners Foreword by General Stanley McChrystal Getting started About national service About the Service Year Platform Features and benefits How to become part of the system AmeriCorps Others Developing your program The Certification Process Fees Funding Additional information Appendices A. Certification criteria B. Prohibited activities: Detailed list C. About AmeriCorps D. Resources We gratefully acknowledge Cisco for its support of the Service Year Platform
  • 5/29/14 2 About Franklin and NCoC The Franklin Project is a new venture by the Aspen Institute to marshal the best case for a voluntary civilian counterpart to military service in the United States. At the 2012 Aspen Ideas Festival, General Stanley McChrystal called for large-scale civilian national service to engage more Americans in serving community and country. We believe national service can and should become a common expectation and common opportunity for all Americans to strengthen our social fabric and solve our most pressing national challenges. To realize this vision, the Franklin Project engages outstanding Americans from the private sector, higher education, government, the military, the faith community, the philanthropy, and nonprofit organizations, to develop innovative policy ideas and to build momentum around advancing a new vision of civilian service for the 21st century. Our goal is to create one million new opportunities for large-scale civilian national service in the next decade. The National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC) is a congressionally chartered organization dedicated to strengthening civic life in America. We strive to define civic health as essential to our communities, facilitate civic engagement, and enable national service. We do this through a cutting-edge civic health initiative, an innovative national service project, and informative conferences. Our Partners Voices for National Service is a diverse coalition of national service programs, state commissions, and individual champions committed to expanding opportunities for Americans of all ages to serve and volunteer. Its mission is to support the growth and development of opportunities for all Americans to serve by mobilizing the field to educate our nations leaders and the American public about the power and impact of national service. ServiceNation is building a movement to change our culture and influence our politics so that a year of national service becomes a common expectation and common opportunity for young Americans. ServiceNation is the first campaign of Be The Change (BTC), a non- partisan, non-profit dedicated to strengthening American democracy by uniting citizens, social entrepreneurs, the service world and leaders from every sector of American society. BTC taps the wisdom, experience, and networks of these practitioners, thought leaders, and passionate Americans to craft non-partisan policy solutions to our greatest challenges and build powerful coalitions to advocate for them. The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is a federal agency that helps more than 5 million Americans improve the lives of their fellow citizens through service. Working hand in hand with local partners, CNCS taps the ingenuity and can-do spirit of the American people to tackle some of the most pressing challenges facing our nation. CNCS invests in thousands of nonprofit and faith-based groups that are making a difference across the country through AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, the Social Innovation Fund, the Volunteer Generation Fund, and more.
  • 5/29/14 3 Foreword by General Stanley McChrystal Throughout its historyin both war and peaceour country has worked best when its citizenship has been most active. How do we restore citizenship to the core of the American psyche and culture? How do we help young people grow up to become citizens and not only individuals? The answer is clear. By giving them the opportunity to serve America and fellow Americans - and creating the expectation that they do so. In periods of both war and peace, of both prosperity and want, service has bound Americans to the country and to one another. And yet, in our lifetimes, on our watch, weve allowed this tradition to weaken. Thats why we need universal national service. Not just for rich kids with a year to spare or for poor kids desperate for a paycheck. But an opportunity and an expectation for every young American to serve and experience a common rite of passage into mature citizenship. The concept isnt complex. All Americans would choose to serve some time in the decade they enter adulthood, between when they are 18 and 28. Their service, in one of a range of opportunities from education to conservation, would be voluntarynot legally requiredbut instead culturally mandatory. What if no American was comfortable having no answer to the question: Where did you serve?
  • 5/29/14 4 Getting Started This handbook provides basic information to help organizations learn more about national service and the planned Service Year Platform. This platform will not only allow organizations to have their positions reviewed and approved in a streamlined matter, but enable individuals to search for positions and organizations to search for individuals as well as enable both to raise funds for positions. In the future, the Platform will also offer learning opportunities for staff and corps members, including some that offer college credit, as well as a rewards program for corps members who complete their terms of service, a system for community leaders to connect with programs, corps members, and alumni, and benefits for alumni to aid them in their transition to jobs or further education. About National Service What is national service? National service refers to service that addresses important problems and requires a substantial time commitment over a specific term -- typically, full time for a full year -- through organized programs that are designed to build ties among individuals from diverse backgrounds or increase life opportunities for those who serve. Because of the substantial time commitment involved, national service participants are typically paid modest living allowances and benefits. They may also be rewarded with other benefits. Programs that are part of AmeriCorps, a federal program administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, receive Segal Education Awards that can be used to pay higher education expenses or pay back student loans. There is no one typical national service program design. In some cases organizations recruit dozens of corps members and organize them in teams to take on projects. In others, one or two individuals serve at an organization, working under the supervision of staff. Ideally organizations, whether they have one or one hundred corps members, enable corps members to be part of a team and understand their larger role in solving societys problems. They swear-in members, orient and train them, connect with other local programs for training or joint projects, and recognize them at the completion of their service. Examples of National Service Programs City Year Teach For America Playworks Code for America AmeriCorps VISTA AmeriCorps NCCC Education Works Public Allies Student Conservation Corps The Mission Continues College Possible Community Health Corps Jesuit Volunteer Corps YouthBuild Earth Conservation Corps LIFT Schools of Hope Citizen Schools Food Corps Points of Light VetSuccess MusicianCorps
  • 5/29/14 5 Why do we need it? The idealism and commitment of the young adults of our country represent an extraordinary natural resource. Over half a million applications for national service positions were submitted last year from people willing to serve long hours for modest compensation. Most of these applicants were turned away. At the same time, the needs of our nation are great. Children need tutors and mentors. Disasters leave families homeless. People left out of the job market need help finding their way in and veterans need opportunities to connect military experience to civilian positions. Aging Americans and people with disabilities need help to live independently. We need environmental stewards and community leaders. National service provides the critical human capital we need to make progress in all these areas. The experience of serving can also transform the lives of those who serve. Research documents that those who serve are more likely to become employed, advance their educational attainment, stay healthy, and even become happier than those who dont. Young people who spend a year serving learn professionalism and job skills, learn about their communities or meet people from different backgrounds, and become more civically engaged. For young people uncertain about their futures whether they are just out of high school or have graduate degrees a year of service can help them find purpose and direction. How does national service benefit organizations? Most nonprofit, education, and public organizations are perpetually short-staffed. Finding the human capital you need at a price you can afford may be a constant challenge. So can attracting talent to your organization. In fact, experts expect that the talent shortage for nonprofit and public positions will grow dramatically as Baby Boomers retire. National service helps meet these needs in three ways: A full-time corps member can cost as little as $15,000 far less than traditional entry level staff. Organizations benefit from the full-time service of individuals who might not otherwise be willing to take a low-paid job with an organization the fact that they are doing a service year gives new meaning to front-line or back office roles. National service can be an effective recruitment strategy. Many organizations use national service to test the fit of corps members with their work, hiring many alumni after their term of service. Corps members may either perform direct service that helps people or the environment, or indirect service that builds the capacity of an organization to provide direct service, either professionally or using volunteers. A corps member who tutors a child, delivers meals and companionship to the elderly, or removes invasive species from public lands is performing direct service. In contrast, a corps member who recruits and manages volunteers, raises money for an organization, or creates a new web site for an organization
  • 5/29/14 6 is performing indirect service that enables the organization to expand its reach or operate more effectively. The field today and in the future Today, about 80,000 Americans serve through AmeriCorps, the federal program that funds both full- and part-time positions. Tens of thousands of other Americans serve through nonprofits and publicly funded programs that are independent. By enabling any nonprofit or public agency to create national service positions and have them certified, the Service Year Platform could enable the number of positions to grow dramatically over the next decade. These positions may be funded privately, through public sources, or a combination of both. About the Service Year Platform With support from Cisco, the National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC) is building a platform that will unite full-time national service programs, corps members, and supporters. The platform is under development with the goal of becoming operational in 2015. Organizations will be able to post positions before the site goes live to the public. Initially, the platform will be open only to nonprofit organizations and public agencies (both those funded by AmeriCorps and those that are not) offering full-time service positions within the United States that are open to young adults. In the future, positions offered by social enterprises, international positions, and those targeting other populations (such as older adults) may be incorporated. Initial features Certify. Organizations will be able to submit information about their proposed (or existing) programs or individual positions and have them approved through a streamlined process. AmeriCorps programs will be automatically approved. Post. Once approved, positions will be posted online and be searchable by prospective corps members. Note that positions may be posted even if they are not yet fully funded. Search. Individuals interested in serving will be able to search for positions and apply through a streamlined process. At the same time, organizations will be able to search for corps members expressing interest in positions similar to the ones they have posted. Fund. The Platform will include a crowd funding system that will enable both individuals and organizations to raise funds for positions. It will also enable funders (or organizations) to create a group of positions or programs (such as positions in a specific community or programs that focus on the same issue) and challenge other funders to support these positions. Future functions Learn. In the future, the Platform will offer learning opportunities for both corps members and organization staff related to their work. For corps members, such opportunities might
  • 5/29/14 7 include courses that orient them to national service, teach them best practices in mentoring or managing volunteers, or help them connect their service to historical trends or broader efforts to address problems. For staff, such opportunities might focus on recruitment strategies, how to manage corps members, or strategies for outcome measurement. Courses will be offered online and selected from courses already offered by national service programs, higher education institutions, and/or nonprofit associations. In some cases, corps members may be able to obtain college credit. Reward. When corps members are enrolled in the Platform, they will be able to earn points for each month they continue in good standing. These points can be exchanged for prizes and rewards provided by companies, cultural institutions, sports teams, and local government. Convene. Local leaders program directors, mayors, college presidents, and others may be certified to use the Platform to reach out to other organizations, corps members, or alumni for joint service projects, recognition activities, and other approved purposes. Connect. All corps members will automatically become Alumni upon completion of their terms of service and will be given access to the tools needed to stay connected to their programs and colleagues, enabling them to enjoy a wide, lifelong network. How to become part of the system AmeriCorps programs. If your program receives support from AmeriCorps in the form of a grant or VISTA placement you will be able to join the Platform by answering a few simple questions and creating your program page on the system. You do not need to review the rest of this section of the Handbook. Other organizations. If your organization is not currently part of AmeriCorps, or if you want to create a new program not recognized by AmeriCorps, you will need to answer some questions online in order to have your program or individual positions certified. If your program is already operating, you may review the criteria in the Appendix to see if your program would qualify to be part of the Platform. If you are creating a new program or position, please consider the following ten key questions as you develop your program or position: 1. What is the goal of your program or position and what outcomes are you trying to achieve? You may want to begin your planning with an assessment of needs is there an unmet need in your community that could be addressed through full-time national service? Talk to others in the community to assess the importance of the need and strategies to address it. Collect data that will document the scale and scope of the need. Next, try to identify a measureable outcome that is an outcome that can be quantified or that you can determine if it has been achieved. If it is possible to attribute specific results to the program or individual corps members, that is even better. Here are some examples:
  • 5/29/14 8 During the 2014-15 school year, a team of 8 corps members will provide homework help and reading tutoring to 100 K- 3 students. Eighty percent of the students assisted will increase their school performance by one letter grade and their reading scores by one and half grade levels. The three corps members will each recruit and manage 20 volunteers, who will collectively build and maintain six community gardens. The gardens will provide the equivalent of 25 meals of produce to each of 25 families. Each of the ten corps members will work directly with teaching staff in an elementary or middle school in the district. They will arrange service learning projects for at least 100 students in each school. The three corps members in our program will each work with six nonprofit organizations to improve their use of technology to advance their missions. If you are interested in AmeriCorps support, you should try to design your outcomes to be consistent with AmeriCorps performance measures. More information about AmeriCorps performance indicators can be found online here. 2. What service activities will corps members perform to advance that outcome? Corps members may either perform direct service that is, helping the clients of your program directly (such as students in a school or residents in a neighborhood) or carrying out activities that directly provide a general benefit to society, such as reducing energy consumption; or indirect service that builds the capacity of organizations that offer direct service. Here are examples of direct and indirect service: Examples of national service corps member roles Direct Service Education: Tutoring and mentoring students; helping students apply for college; working with children in early childhood or afterschool programs; offering arts or museum programming for children and youth Opportunity: Helping people apply for jobs; serving at a homeless shelter; offering financial counseling or tax preparation services; renovating homes for low-income families; translating for families seeking assistance Health: Providing exercise or sports programs for children; helping older adults live independently; providing health cooking classes at clinics and community centers Veterans: Helping veterans succeed in college; providing respite services and supports for military families; helping returning veterans transition to civilian life Environment: Providing home weatherization and other services to reduce energy consumption; restoring natural habits; removing debris from rivers and parks Disaster: Helping communities, organizations, and families be prepared in the event of a disaster; helping communities recover after a disaster Indirect Service Community outreach Coordinating service-learning projects Strengthening organizations through planning, data, or evaluation Fundraising Recruiting and managing volunteers Leading teams of corps members Conducting training Creating apps or incorporating technology strategies into programs
  • 5/29/14 9 Direct service: tutoring, mentoring, building or repairing houses, organizing and participating in a clean-up, providing financial counseling, preparing meals for older adults to enable them to live at home, helping job seekers write resumes, helping students complete student aid forms. Indirect service: recruiting and managing volunteers, organizing fundraising events, developing a website for a nonprofit organization, creating a procedures manual for a new program, interviewing clients to assess and report on their needs. Note that some activities do not qualify for national service. Research that does not build the capacity of a direct service organization (for example, academic or think tank research) does not qualify. Neither does purely administrative work unless it is related to other qualifying activities performed by the corps member (so a corps member could not have as his or her sole role, to serve as the receptionist, database manager, or file clerk of an organization; however, a corps member can be expected to answer his or her own phone, keep the files on his or her project, and manage a database related to the project). Some activities are strictly prohibited, including religious proselytization, political and lobbying activities, union organizing or busting, and petitions and protests. Also note that you cant use national service to replace a paid employee. See the appendix for a full list of prohibited activities. 3. What structure best suits your program? There are several options for program structures: Teams: Many corps members find their experience to be more rewarding when they are organized in teams to work on a common project. Depending on the skills and experience of the corps members, one leader can lead a group of four to ten corps members. Often national service programs use an experienced second year corps member to lead a team. Individual placements: It is also possible to host just a small number (or even a single) position at an organization, particularly if the organization is small or the function is highly specialized. In the case of individual placements, it will be important to incorporate opportunities for the corps member to connect with other corps members in the community and be mentored within the organization. It is also possible to combine individual placements with a team structure if organizations collaborate, or a single organization agrees to serve as the sponsor who will place corps members with other organizations. Program or Position? As used by the Service Year Platform a position is a defined opportunity for an individual corps members. A group of positions that are organized with common activities is considered a program. Both positions and programs (groups of positions) can be certified.
  • 5/29/14 10 4. How many corps members can you support and what qualifications should they have? How many corps members are right for your organization? The number will vary based on your need, proposed activities, and your capacity to manage and mentor them. The Platform will be marketed to young adults, ages 18 28. However, this age range includes diverse young people ranging from individuals with limited work experience and no college to those with professional degrees and years of work experience. We believe most young people may want to serve right after high school or college. However, some may want to take time off from college and still others may serve after graduate school or after leaving the military. Organizations will need to determine the population they want to target for positions. 5. What will be the required term of service? To be certified, each position must have a start and end date and require at least 20 hours of service per week as part of a full-time commitment. (Note that there is an exception to the hours requirement for AmeriCorps programs and in some other instances, which are described in the Certification Criteria outlined in the appendix.) Other program activities such as training, education, and team activities may make up the remainder of the hours for a full-time program. For example, a position in which service activities take place from 9 to 5, four days a week with the fifth day reserved for leadership training, online courses, and team planning would still be considered a full-time position. We will not require that you use any specific system for recording hours, but will ask all position sponsors to report online monthly regarding whether each member is in good standing i.e. has met the required hours and performed satisfactorily. 6. How will corps members be oriented and trained, and what skills will they develop through their participation in the program? All programs must provide an orientation for corps members as well as any necessary training they will need to perform their service activities. The orientation must include information about national service and its history, the organization that will host them, the community where they will serve, an overview of prohibited service activities and all program/position requirements. In addition, we encourage organizations to develop a skill-building and education plan for corps members that is appropriate to their education and experience. In phase two of the Platform, online courses will be available. Specifying the skills-building and education opportunities that will be made available will help organizations recruit the right corps members. Many programs set aside a time each week for skill-building or education activities. Consider finding partners in the community that can offer training to the corps members on a one-time or regular basis.
  • 5/29/14 11 7. How will corps members be supervised? Each corps member must have a supervisor to support and oversee their service activities. The supervisor will need to be able to report online (through a simple form) that the member is in good standing each month having completed what was required of him or her, including the service hours. Note that traditional youth corps typically have at least one or two team leaders for a team of 8 corps members, while organizations that typically place individuals in a variety of organizations may have one leader working with a similar number of corps members. Some programs use second year corps members as team leaders. Team leaders who are corps members should not be considered to be supervisors for purposes of the service year platform unless there are special circumstances. 8. Who will mentor the corps members and what other support will you provide? Each corps member should have a mentor who can be available to the corps member at least once a week to provide advice and moral support. The mentor may be a staff person, second year corps member, board member, donor, volunteer, or other adult connected to the organization. A good mentor will be able to help the corps member make connections within the community, navigate the field in which they are working, and transition to future education or employment. 9. How much will corps members receive in a living allowance and what other benefits will they receive? In most cases, corps members must receive a living allowance from the organization sponsoring their position in an amount that would be allowable under AmeriCorps (approximately $12,000 to $24,000). However, there are three exceptions to this rule. Corps members who will use professional skills within the program (such as computer programming, legal, or medical skills) may either be paid a typical professional salary, but work in a hard-to-serve area, or may be paid a below-market salary. Corps members who are provided housing or meals (or both) may be paid less than the minimum living allowance. Finally, corps members may choose to waive their living allowance. Only corps members serving with AmeriCorps programs are eligible for Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards. However, arrangements can be made with the Corporation for National and Community Service to sponsor Education Awards for certified programs that meet AmeriCorps standards and requirements. Contact your state commission or CNCS state office to discuss these opportunities. In phase two of the Platform, corps members will be eligible to receive additional rewards upon completion of the term of service. Any benefits required by law should be provided by the sponsoring organization.
  • 5/29/14 12 10. How will corps members be sworn in, graduated, and otherwise recognized for their service? All corps members should be sworn in at the beginning of their service. AmeriCorps programs may use the AmeriCorps pledge and programs may use their own pledges. Upon completion of the term of service, corps members should be recognized for their service, ideally through a graduation ceremony. Organizations, especially those operating small programs, are encouraged to conduct the graduation or recognition event in collaboration with other programs in the community. The Certification Process Once you have designed your program and are able to answer the ten questions above, you may apply for your organization and its national service program or individual positions to become certified. This will enable your organization and corps members to use the other features of the Service Year Platform. The process will be relatively simple and will take place online. Once your organization is approved, you can post the approved positions, search for corps members, and have them search for you. You will also be able to use the Platform to raise money for positions (see below). Fees To participate in the platform, organizations may be asked to pay a modest fee that will be based on a sliding scale. In the initial year of operation, participation fees will be waived for all AmeriCorps programs. Funding The Service Year Platform will not provide funding for your positions. We encourage you to raise funds for positions through your traditional funding sources. You may want to apply to the Corporation for National and Community Service for funding. More information about the Corporations AmeriCorps programs can be found in the appendix. You will be able to post positions even if they are not yet funded. Individuals who are willing to raise their own funds or who are able to waive the living allowance and benefits may apply for your position. The Service Year Platform will include opportunities for individuals and organizations to crowd fund positions. Crowd funding makes it easy to reach out to your network and ask for gifts toward a specific goal. It also will enable funders to challenge other funders to support a set of programs, positions, or individuals who have things in common for example, programs that will serve a specific neighborhood, work on a single issue, or engage people who have similar backgrounds (i.e. veterans, alumni of a higher education
  • 5/29/14 13 institution, disadvantaged youth, or children of employees). More information on the fundraising benefits of the Platform will be shared as soon as it is available. For more information Contact the National Conference on Citizenship at [email protected]
  • 5/29/14 14 Appendices Certification Criteria ! Address unmet community needs and specify intended outcomes ! Specify a term of service of at least 9-12 months up to two years. Special rule: A shorter term of service that is at least 6 months may be considered acceptable for comprehensive programs that either (1) consist of multiple significant components, one of which is the corps members direct service, or (2) recruit from very specific populations, including but not limited to, veterans reintegrating into civilian life or students pursuing service and degree attainment simultaneously. ! Engage corps members in direct service or indirect capacity building for direct service programs at least 32 hours per week. Special Rule: A minimum of 20 hours per week may be considered acceptable for comprehensive program that either (1) consist of multiple significant components, one of which is the corps members direct service, or (2) recruit from very specific populations, including but not limited to, veterans reintegrating into civilian life or students pursuing service and degree attainment simultaneously. ! Provide a living allowance allowable under AmeriCorps (or in the case of professional corps positions requiring higher levels of skills or experience, is less than the market salary for professionals in the field or places participants in underserved communities); living allowances can be waived by the participant or reduced if housing is provided. (In 2014, the allowable AmeriCorps annual living allowance range from $12,100 to $24,200.) ! Provide orientation, training, supervision, and mentoring to participants to build their skills and opportunities, increase their ability to provide quality service, and ensure they benefit from their service experience. Identify specific skills, certifications, and other learning outcomes the corps members will attain through the program. [Note: Beginning in 2016, all corps members enrolled in the Service Year Platform will be encouraged to record notes about what they are doing and learning throughout their service year. This information can be used to create a portfolio that may be submitted for review and possible for awarding of postsecondary credit through the Council for Adult and Experiential Learnings Learning Counts program.] ! Provide support to participants as they transition out of the program and into school or work. Plans should be developed early in the program year with appropriate supports throughout the term of service. ! Take measures to ensure the safety and security of participants and those they serve ! Strengthen civic ties by connecting participants to other national service participants, including those from other backgrounds, including: ! Agreeing to arrange for participants to be sworn in and graduate as a class belonging to the civilian national service corps across the United States; ! Maximizing, to the extent practicable, diversity across geography, race, ethnicity and income or building leadership from within communities ! Enabling participants to receive the Presidents Civilian Service Award for Outstanding Service to the Nation or other recognition upon completion of their term of service. ! Encouraging participants to serve alongside other national service participants during service projects on National Days of Service. ! Agree to comply with existing law governing AmeriCorps and VISTA, on issues such as prohibitions on advocacy, proselytizing, and displacement of workers
  • 5/29/14 15 Prohibited Activities While on duty or in uniform, corps members may not: ! Attempt to influence legislation; ! Organize or engage in protests, petitions, boycotts, or strikes; ! Assist, promote, or deter union organizing; ! Impair existing contracts for services or collective bargaining agreements; ! Engage in partisan political activities, or other activities designed to influence the outcome of an election to any public office; ! Participate in, or endorse, events or activities that are likely to include advocacy for or against political parties, political platforms, political candidates, proposed legislation, or elected officials; ! Engage in religious instruction, conduct worship services, provide instruction as part of a program that includes mandatory religious instruction or worship, construct or operate facilities devoted to religious instruction or worship, maintain facilities primarily or inherently devoted to religious instruction or worship, or engage in any form of religious proselytization; ! Provide a direct benefit to ! A business organized for profit; ! A labor union; ! A partisan political organization; ! A nonprofit organization that fails to comply with the restrictions contained in section ! 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 related to engaging in political activities or a substantial amount of lobbying. ! Conduct a voter registration drive; ! Provide abortion services or referrals for receipt of such services. Corps members may not engage in the above activities directly or indirectly by recruiting, training, or managing others for the primary purpose of engaging in one of the activities listed above. Individuals may exercise their rights as private citizens and may participate in the activities listed above on their initiative, on non-program time, and using non-program funds. Individuals should not wear their uniforms while participating in these activities. Organizations may not use corps members to displace paid employees.
  • 5/29/14 16 About AmeriCorps There are three types of AmeriCorps programs: AmeriCorps State and National, which is a grant program; AmeriCorps VISTA, which places VISTAs with host organizations; and AmeriCorps NCCC, a residential program run by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). All AmeriCorps members who complete a term of service with one of these programs are eligible to receive Segal Education Awards that can be used to pay for higher education expenses or to pay back student loans. AmeriCorps State and National AmeriCorps State and National supports a wide range of local service programs that engage thousands of Americans in intensive community service each year. The Corporation for National and Community Service provides grants to local and national organizations and public agencies committed to using national service to address critical community needs in education, public safety, health, and the environment. Each of these organizations and agencies, in turn, use their AmeriCorps funding to recruit, place, and supervise AmeriCorps members nationwide. AmeriCorps State and National programs are open to U.S. citizens, nationals, or lawful permanent resident aliens age 17 and older. Members may serve full- or part-time over a period not to exceed 12 months. Full-time AmeriCorps State and National members receive a living allowance; health care; childcare, if they qualify; and become eligible for the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award upon successful completion of the program. Organizations may apply for a grant directly from the Corporation for National and Community Service if they are: A national nonprofit organization that operates in two or more states An Indian tribe A consortia formed across two or more states, consisting of institutions of higher education or other nonprofits, including labor, faith-based, and other community organizations A state or territory without a State Service Commission Organizations may apply for a grant through a State Service Commission if program activities take place in a single state and they are a: State or local nonprofit organization Community or faith-based organization Higher education institution State or local government U.S. territory Contact your State Service Commission for more information on the Grant application or deadlines. Contact information can be found on the CNCS website at In the FY 2014 AmeriCorps competition, CNCS prioritized the investment of national service resources in economic opportunity, education, veterans and military families, disaster
  • 5/29/14 17 services, and the Governor and Mayor Initiative. CNCS will continue to focus on national service programs that improve academic outcomes for children, youth, and young adults. In addition, CNCS seeks to increase its investment in programs that serve veterans and military families or engage veterans and military families in service. CNCS will also focus investment in programs that increase community resiliency through disaster preparation, response, recovery, and mitigation. CNCS will focus investment in programs that increase economic opportunities for communities and AmeriCorps members. Finally, CNCS focused on summer programming for K-12 students, especially those programs that address the academic summer slide. Proposed activities will engage youth and young adults as summer members to help support summer reading, math, science, and environmental learning activities for youth in rural and urban areas most likely at risk of summer learning loss. New priorities may be set for next years competition. Performance indicators for AmeriCorps programs and more information about funding priorities can be found on the CNCS website, Applicants for AmeriCorps should be capable of managing federal grant funds and plan to engage a minimum number of AmeriCorps members (set by the state - typically 10 or 20). All AmeriCorps grantees must raise matching funds in an amount determined by CNCS and specified in the application materials. AmeriCorps VISTA AmeriCorps VISTA provides full-time members to community organizations and public agencies to create and expand programs that build capacity and ultimately bring low- income individuals and communities out of poverty. AmeriCorps VISTA members spend one year in full-time service to address the needs of low-income communities. All projects focus on building permanent infrastructure in organizations to help them more effectively bring individuals and communities out of poverty. Public, private, or faith-based nonprofit organizations, as well as, local, state, or federal agencies can become an AmeriCorps VISTA sponsor. Applications for VISTA projects are handled through CNCS State Offices. A list of State Office contacts can be found on the CNCS website, Project sponsors are not required to provide a financial match but must be able to direct the project, supervise the members, and provide necessary administrative support to complete the goals and objectives of the project. (Members are paid directly by CNCS.) The goals and objectives must be clearly defined and directed toward alleviating problems of low- income communities, and meet the regulations of the AmeriCorps VISTA program. One consistent goal for every AmeriCorps VISTA project should be the sustainability of the project by the sponsoring agency and the low-income community after AmeriCorps VISTA project sponsorship ends. To apply for AmeriCorps VISTA members, a potential sponsor must contact the CNCS State Office covering the area in which the proposed project would be located to discuss application requirements and procedures. The CNCS State Office will provide technical assistance during the application process. You can also download the initial application. The length of the application process varies, but the average time from the initial contact to a final decision is 3 to 5 months.
  • 5/29/14 18 AmeriCorps VISTA covers the cost of a series of benefits and services for the AmeriCorps VISTA members and your organization. There is no required match for new AmeriCorps VISTA project sponsors, but there is the option to cost-share. Cost share is not required but is strongly encouraged, particularly in projects wishing to have AmeriCorps VISTA resources beyond the third year. As a cost-share project, an organization contributes the living allowance--about $9,500--for each AmeriCorps VISTA member. AmeriCorps NCCC The AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) is a full-time residential program for men and women, ages 18-24, that strengthens communities while developing leaders through direct, team-based national and community service. Members are assigned to one of five campuses Denver, CO; Sacramento, CA; Perry Point, MD; Vicksburg, MS; and Vinton, IA. AmeriCorps NCCC serves communities in every state. Sponsoring organizations request the assistance of AmeriCorps NCCC teams by submitting a project application to the regional campus that covers that organizations state. The campuses provide assistance in completing the application, developing a work plan, and preparing the project sponsor for the arrival of the AmeriCorps NCCC team. Options: Fewer than 10 positions 10 or more positions Focused on building the infrastructure of organizations that work on poverty alleviation Apply for AmeriCorps VISTA or Cost Share Service Year Certification Apply for AmeriCorps VISTA or Cost Share Service Year Certification Focused on directly addressing economic opportunity, education, veterans and military families, environment, disaster services, other health and human needs Service Year Certification Apply for AmeriCorps State and National Service Year Certification Focused on directly addressing other community needs or building the capacity of nonprofit organizations that provide direct service Service Year Certification Service Year Certification
  • 5/29/14 19 Resources Main Corporation for National and Community Service website: AmeriCorps knowledge network (including performance measures): AmeriCorps grant application information: _Applicants_10_22_13.pdf AmeriCorps program planning blueprint: program-blueprint-implementation-new-program-start-guide Resources for youth corps: Background on national service: