AmeriCorps VISTA Fact Sheet
AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) taps the skills, talents, and passion of more than 8,000 Americans annually to support community efforts to overcome poverty. The program's nationwide corps of VISTAs commits full-time for a year at nonprofit organizations or local government agencies to build the capacity of these organizations to carry out programs that tackle poverty. VISTAs recruit and manage community volunteers, raise funds, and help manage projects. VISTAs support programs that improve literacy, expand job opportunities, develop financial assets, reduce homelessness, and improve health services. They also support programs that increase housing opportunities, increase economic opportunities for low-income veterans and military families, and expand access to technology for those living in rural and urban areas of poverty across America.
Core Principles of AmeriCorps VISTA
Anti-Poverty Focus: AmeriCorps VISTA supports community efforts to overcome poverty. Any nonprofit organization, educational institution, or tribal or public agency with a project explicitly designed to alleviate poverty may sponsor a VISTA.
Community Empowerment: AmeriCorps VISTA values the inherent strengths and resources of the community. VISTA expects project sponsors to involve residents of the community in planning, developing, and implementing the VISTA project. This approach allows low-income individuals the freedom to speak for themselves in determining the projects that suit their specific needs.
Capacity Building: AmeriCorps VISTA expands the ability of sponsor organizations to fight poverty. VISTAs strengthen and support organizations by building infrastructure, expanding community partnerships, securing long-term resources, coordinating training for participants, and much more. These capacity-building activities enable organizations to provide better services to low-income individuals and communities.
Sustainable Solutions: VISTAs serve as a short-term resource to help sponsor organizations achieve lasting solutions to poverty.
Become an AmeriCorps VISTA
AmeriCorps VISTA is open to U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents age 18 and older. VISTAs choose from projects throughout the country, based on their skills and interests, and serve full time for one year with community-based organizations. During their service, VISTAs receive a living allowance, as well as health care, child care, training, relocation expenses, and liability insurance. After a successful year of service, VISTAs receive either a $1,500 stipend or a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award equal to the maximum amount of the federal Pell Grant. The award can be used to pay for educational expenses at qualified institutions of higher education, or to pay back qualified student loans. For VISTA service approved in fiscal year 2014, the education award is $5,645.
Find out more here, or call 800-942-2677 (TTY: 800-833-3722).
Sponsor a Project
View these additional resources at AmeriCorps.gov:
- Guide to Becoming a VISTA Sponsor
- VISTA 101: Understanding VISTA
Contact the local CNCS State Office
Or call 202-606-5000 (TTY: 800-833-3722)
Corporation for National and Community Service
AmeriCorps VISTA is an anti-poverty program created by the federal government in 1964. The first class of VISTAs began serving in 1965. In 1993, VISTA became part of AmeriCorps, a network of national and community service programs that annually engage more than 75,000 members in intensive service to meet critical needs in disaster services, economic opportunity, education, environmental stewardship, healthy futures, and veterans and military families. AmeriCorps is administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that improves lives, strengthens communities, and fosters civic engagement through service and volunteering. Each year CNCS engages more than 5 million Americans of all ages and backgrounds in service to meet local needs through AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, the Social Innovation Fund, and other programs, and leads President Obama’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information on CNCS, visit www.NationalService.gov
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