Sponsor a VISTA Project
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 the Corporation State Offices. 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. Learn more at our Sponsor a VISTA Project page.
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.
Who can apply?
- Public, private, or faith-based nonprofit organizations
- Local, state, or federal agencies
Project sponsors must be able to direct the project, supervise the AmeriCorps VISTAs, and provide necessary administrative support to complete the goals and objectives of the project. 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.
How Does My Organization Apply to Become an AmeriCorps VISTA Sponsor?
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. AmeriCorps VISTA uses eGrants, the CNCS online application system for single-site project renewals and new applications. 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.
The CNCS State Office will review the application for adherence to AmeriCorps VISTA project guidelines and the CNCS State Office's annual plan for project development. You will receive more specific information on the AmeriCorps VISTA program guidelines with your application kit, along with information on cost-sharing your project. The application kit may include the following forms and guidelines:
- FY 2016 Program Guidance (PDF)
- AmeriCorps VISTA Concept Paper Instructions (PDF)
- AmeriCorps VISTA Project Application and Instructions (PDF)
- AmeriCorps VISTA Standard Budget (PDF)
- AmeriCorps VISTA Support Budget (PDF)
- VISTA 101: Understanding VISTA (Flash Course)
What is Cost-Share?
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, your organization contributes the living allowance for each AmeriCorps VISTA member.
Cost-share is an excellent way to leverage additional funding resources and see where the dollars will be matched by AmeriCorps VISTA. In finding funding for your organization's share of the partnership, consider approaching:
- Community foundations;
- State government funding sources;
- Municipalities and school districts;
- Colleges and universities; and
- Local corporations.
AmeriCorps VISTA covers the cost of a series of benefits and services for the AmeriCorps VISTA members and your organization.
- A Segal AmeriCorps Education Award or post-service stipend
- Health coverage for all members assigned to your project - approximately $2,700 per member
- Payroll services: Members receive their paychecks directly from AmeriCorps VISTA
- Training in project management and leadership for members and project supervisor
- Travel costs associated with training. Moving allowance for members relocating to serve
- Liability coverage for all members, under the Federal Employees Compensation Act and the Federal Torts Claims Act
- Child care for income-eligible members
- Assistance with recruiting members
Estimated total contribution: $10,000
Specific details about the cost share billing process are available in the Electronic Cost Share Billing Training Manual for VISTA Sponsors.
For more information, call our toll-free line at 800-942-2677 (TTY: 800-833-3722). Or, you can visit the National Service Hotline support page.