Corporation for National and Community Service
2019 AmeriCorps VISTA Programming Opportunities
From: Pennsylvania State Office of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS)
Subject: 2019 AmeriCorps VISTA Programming Opportunities
The Pennsylvania State Office of the Corporation for National and Community Service announces an opportunity to develop new AmeriCorps VISTA projects in Pennsylvania. This process is open to organizations that are not current VISTA sponsors and is subject to availability of resources. Please share this notice with your networks, and contact us at PAOutreach@cns.gov with any questions.
Overview of AmeriCorps VISTA
Founded in 1965, Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) is a federal national service program designed to provide needed resources to nonprofit organizations and public agencies to increase their capacity to lift Americans out of poverty. In 1993, VISTA was incorporated into the AmeriCorps network of programs, housed at the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).
AmeriCorps VISTA supports efforts to alleviate poverty by recruiting Americans 18 years and older from a diverse range of backgrounds to dedicate a year of full-time service with a sponsoring organization (“sponsor”) to create or expand programs designed to empower individuals and communities in overcoming poverty. While strong progress has been made in lifting Americans out of poverty since the inception of VISTA, recent data from the United States Census Bureau identifies more than 45 million Americans still living below the poverty line.
Programming Priorities for 2019
We are looking to support new projects that address the following CNCS focus areas:
• Economic Opportunity: Safe and affordable housing (including legal aid strategies to support safe and affordable housing) and employment training and access
• Education: Improved school readiness and academic performance in K-12 schools, increased graduation rates, and college enrollment and retention
• Healthy Futures: Improved access to nutritious foods and health care, and response to the opioid epidemic
• Veterans and Military Families: Providing service to veterans and military families
We strive to ensure that our portfolio of projects is diverse in both programmatic areas and geography. As we look to balance our support across the state, we are particularly interested in proposals for new projects in Pennsylvania’s small to mid-sized cities as well as rural areas. We consider sponsorships from a broad range of organizations, from small grassroots entities to large national groups.
We seek to support projects that demonstrate the effectiveness of their proposed intervention in addressing a particular community need. Evidence of effectiveness could include past performance, results from credible research, or results from a similar, successful program. Evidence should provide the basis for decisions about the design, frequency, and intensity of the proposed intervention. We also seek to support projects that improve organizations’ ability to use performance and outcome data to improve results.
Each VISTA project typically last three years, while intermediary sponsorships in which different projects are cycled in and out can be long-term. From the beginning of the project planning process, the sponsor and community must think about how to use the project to phase-in other resources and systems to replace the VISTA resource.
AmeriCorps VISTA positions will be awarded on a full-time basis for one year of service with the potential for continuation into additional years. VISTA members will likely begin service during the summer of 2019, following the development and approval of full project applications, supervisor orientation, and VISTA member recruitment and orientation.
Project Development Process and Timeline
To start the process of seeking support for a VISTA project with your organization, please email us at PAOutreach@cns.gov to express your interest. We will follow up to discuss your project ideas, explain the concept paper and application process, and answer any questions you have. Please email us by October 19, 2018.
All prospective AmeriCorps VISTA sponsors should also review VISTA 101, an online orientation to help you decide if VISTA is right for your organization.
We will host an optional conference call for interested organizations on October 11, 2018 at 2:30 p.m. The number is 866-670-8282 and the participant passcode is 45243427.
We look forward to hearing from you about your work to fight poverty in Pennsylvania and how we may work together in 2019.
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