Call for Community Grant Reviewers

Posted by PennSERVE on November 23, 2015

PennSERVE: The Governor’s Office of Citizen Service


2016 AmeriCorps State National Competitive Grant Process

SUMMARY: PennSERVE: The Governor’s Office of Citizen Service is seeking individuals to review grant applications for the 2016 AmeriCorps State National Competitive Grant Process. This is an excellent opportunity to learn more about the grant-making process, develop your own grant-writing skills, and contribute your knowledge and experience to PennSERVE’ s efforts to select high-quality Pennsylvania-based programs for AmeriCorps funding.

REQUIREMENTS: Potential reviewers are required to submit resumes to PennSERVE by Wednesday December 2, 2015 and to be available on Wednesday, December 9, 2015 from 4:30pm to 5:30pm for a one-hour training session via webinar. Reviewers must be willing to devote time to reading the PennSERVE Request for Applications (RFA) before the December 9 training. Reviewers must be willing to read no more than 3 grant applications between December 12 and December 22. Please see the remainder of the announcement for further details.

What does a grant reviewer do? Grant reviewers will help to evaluate grant applications for the 2016 AmeriCorps State Grant Competition. Reviewers read, score and evaluate applications, and submit their feedback on each grant they review to PennSERVE. This feedback is then shared with the applicants. All feedback is anonymous. Reviewers are asked to track the time that they spend reading and evaluating the grants. Grant applications are approximately 25 pages long and include a 15 page narrative and budget and performance measure information.

What qualifications should reviewers have? PennSERVE is looking for a diverse group of reviewers that have grant writing and/or reviewing experience and also have experience with national service and/or community-based programs. Reviewers may be community service practitioners, educators, college students, national service alumni, people working in foundations, or individuals working on public policy issues. Preference will be made to applicants who have experience in writing or reviewing federal grants and/or writing or managing performance measures.

Reviewers must be comfortable reading a large volume of material in a short period of time and providing analysis to PennSERVE staff. Analysis must be completed by Tuesday, December 22, 2015.

Can members currently serving in AmeriCorps or any other streams of service serve as reviewers? No, you must have completed your AmeriCorps service before being selected as a reviewer. Alumni of AmeriCorps programs are strongly encouraged to apply to serve as reviewers. Current AmeriCorps members wishing to serve as reviewers must have completed service by December 4, 2015.

Can people who work for a Corporation for National and Community Service-funded program serve as a reviewer? Yes, people who work for organizations affiliated with AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, or other national service programs may serve as reviewers.

For instance, an individual who works for an organization that hosts a VISTA volunteer may review AmeriCorps applications. However, people cannot serve as a reviewer if they work for an organization that is being considered for funding in this competition.

What is the time commitment? Reviewers must be available on Wednesday, December 9, 2015 from 4:30pm to 5:30pm for a one-hour training session via conference call. Reviewers should be able to devote 1 – 2 hours to reading the PennSERVE RFA prior to this training (the RFA can be found here: )

Thereafter, reviewers should anticipate a time commitment of approximately 3 – 4 hours per application for reviewing and scoring, which will be due on Tuesday, December 22, 2015. Reviewers will be assigned no more than 3 applications.

What are the benefits to reviewers? The grant review experience is an excellent opportunity to: 1) learn more about national service and trends in federal grants; 2) develop a deeper understanding of the grant-writing and grant-making processes; 3) and contribute experience to the selection of high-quality programs for the Commonwealth. This is a volunteer opportunity; reviewers will NOT be compensated.

How does one apply to become a reviewer? To apply, please email your resume to Please share this announcement with other qualified reviewers.

Is there a deadline to apply? Yes. Please submit resumes as soon as possible, but no later than 5pm on Wednesday, December 2, 2015 for consideration.

What are the next steps after submitting a resume? PennSERVE will review resumes and begin contacting qualified applicants. We will check for conflicts of interest and confirm availability at that time.

Thank you for your interest in serving as a reviewer and for sharing this announcement with others who may be interested. This is an important part of our review process and our efforts to recommend high-quality programs for funding.

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