Federal Program Spotlight: AmeriCorps

by | Oct 15, 2015

acThis post is part of Transform Consulting Group’s blog series highlighting federal programs that provide education opportunities and/or youth development services in communities.

AmeriCorps is an initiative of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) that leverages community service to tackle critical community issues such as poverty, education, public safety, health, and the environment. AmeriCorps programs are located in nonprofits, schools, public agencies, community centers, and faith-based groups across the country.

AmeriCorps was created under President Bill Clinton through the National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993, incorporating Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) and the National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC). AmeriCorps just celebrated its 20th Anniversary, with over 900,000 Americans contributing to over 1 billion service hours. AmeriCorps VISTA also celebrated a recent anniversary, highlighting 50 years of volunteers serving to fight poverty across America.

AmeriCorps VISTA aims to combat poverty in local communities through capacity building. VISTA members commit to serving an agency for one year, working full-time on a specific project aimed at improving their organizational, financial, or administrative reach. Some examples include grant management, volunteer coordination, and food program design.

AmeriCorps VISTA differs from AmeriCorps State and NCCC service programs because VISTA members do not provide direct service. NCCC programs are available to citizens between the ages of 18 and 24, whereas AmeriCorps and VISTA only have a minimum age of 18 to serve.

AmeriCorps programs benefit nonprofits by providing service members that design, implement, and evaluate an organization’s programs to expand its impact. In addition, AmeriCorps programs provide citizens an opportunity to learn valuable work skills, earn money for education, and develop a greater appreciation for service. It is clear that AmeriCorps programs benefit organizations and service members alike.

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 the State Service Commission (i.e. Serve Indiana) if program activities take place in a single state and the organization is a:

  • State and local nonprofit organization
  • Community and faith-based organization
  • State, local, and higher education institution
  • State and local government
  • U.S. territory

Transform Consulting Group can help you plan and strategize how to use AmeriCorps resources to meet your organization’s goals, as well as help you write your next AmeriCorps grant application. Transform Consulting Group has successfully helped other organizations like the United Way of Central Indiana and Early Learning Indiana receive AmeriCorps funding. Contact us today for a free consultation!

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