Tapping Into AmeriCorps Programming


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For the Chamber's October Non-Profit Roundtable we invited Commissioner Megan Smith from the N.C. Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service to help Chamber Non-Profit members determine which AmeriCorps funding programs were right for them and how to write a competitive application.

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  • The Corporation funnels more than $20 million in national service initiatives and support into the State of North Carolina each year. State Service Commissions administers these funds and services for the State of North Carolina. While Learn and Serve programming has ended nationally, Learn and Serve programs in NC will function for 2012.
  • AmeriCorps NCCC members perform team-based service projects in five different areas-- natural and other disasters, infrastructure improvement, environmental stewardship and conservation, energy conservation, and urban and rural development-in communities in all 50 states and U.S. territories.Campuses are assigned randomly.
  • There are two deadline dates, one for the fall cycle (which typically falls on April 1st) and one for the winter cycle (which typically falls on July 1st). However, members are encouraged to apply early, because selection is continuous and the class may be filled before the application deadline date. Sometimes these deadlines may be extended. Please refer to My AmeriCorps for accurate listings.Sponsoring organizations request the assistance of AmeriCorps NCCC teams by submitting a project application to the regional campus that covers that organization’s state. The campuses provide assistance in completing the application, developing a work plan, and preparing the project sponsor for the arrival of the AmeriCorps NCCC team.
  • AmeriCorps VISTA is the national service program designed specifically to fight poverty. Authorized in 1964 and founded as Volunteers in Service to America in 1965, VISTA was incorporated into the AmeriCorps network of programs in 1993.  VISTA has been on the front lines in the fight against poverty in America for more than 45 years.
  • VISTA members commit to serve full-time for a year at a nonprofit organization or local government agency, working to fight illiteracy, improve health services, create businesses, strengthen community groups, and much more. With passion, commitment, and hard work, you’ll create or expand programs designed to bring individuals and communities out of poverty
  • Public, private, and faith-based nonprofit organizations—as well as local, state and federal organizations—can benefit greatly from linking up with AmeriCorps VISTA. Applications for members are handled by 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.We have shared a document summary with you that outlines the objectives and includes priority areas.
  • AmeriCorps State works with Governor-appointed State Service Commissions to provide grants to public and nonprofit organizations that sponsor service programs around the country, including hundreds of faith-based and community organizations, higher education institutions, and public agencies. Grants assist these groups in recruiting, training and placing AmeriCorps members to meet critical community needs in education, public safety, health, and the environment.CHC= Sex Offenders’ Check, FBI and Statewide criminal registry check.
  • Local programs design service activities for a team of members serving full- time part-time, less than part-time or education award only (EAO) for one year or during the summer. Sample activities include tutoring and mentoring youth, assisting crime victims, building homes, and restoring parks.Visit the Commission’s website for a list of NC AmeriCorps programs. Individuals interested in applying must apply to the specific program of interest.
  • The organizations that receive grants are responsible for recruiting, selecting, and supervising AmeriCorps members to serve in their programs. Organizations seeking AmeriCorps funding to operate a program within only one state. State Service Commissions select which applications to fund or to forward to compete in a national pool.MSY Maximum Cost Per Member (MSY)
  • Request for Proposal (RFP) is the same thing as the 2012 AmeriCorps Application Instructions.
  • Organizational Capacity Checklist is provided to all organizations that register for T/TA sessions. We also plan to post the Checklist to our website.
  • Tapping Into AmeriCorps Programming

    1. 1. Tapping Into AmeriCorps Programming Alicia Hartsfield, AmeriCorps Director Alicia.hartsfield@nc.gov Megan G. Smith, Commissioner October 2012
    2. 2. A Brief Timeline of National Service Support 1933 – 1942 Civilian Conservation Corps 1961 – Peace Corps 1965 – VISTA 1965 – FGP 1971 – RSVP 1974 – SCP 1990 – Serve America (now called Learn and Serve) 1993 – AmeriCorps (VISTA becomes part) 1994 – Martin Luther King, Jr., Day of Service 2009 – Kennedy Serve America Act passed
    3. 3. Who has applied for a service grant?  I have applied for and/or managed a federal grant  I have applied for and/or managed a state grant  I have applied for and/or managed a local(?) grant  I have never applied for a grant
    4. 4. Who may apply for a service grant in the near future?  I am already preparing (or intend to) an application  I do not plan on using this type of funding  I am unsure and still researching opportunities
    5. 5. AmeriCorps NCCC Regional campuses – services are provided in states throughout service area.  Denver, CO  Sacramento, CA  Perry Point, MD  Vicksburg, MS  Vinton, IA Objective – strengthen communities and develop leaders through direct, team-based national and community service. Eligibility for members  Between18 and 24 years old  10 months of service  Direct service in support of community efforts in home region.
    6. 6. AmeriCorps NCCC Benefits for Members  Monthly living allowance, housing, meals and limited medical benefits  End of service term $5550 Education Award Member Application deadlines (typically)  April 1st  July 1st Eligibility for project sponsors  Local, state or federal agencies; public, private or faith-based nonprofit organizations  Must submit project application to appropriate campus
    7. 7. AmeriCorpsVISTA Volunteers in Service to America Where serving – Low wealth communities Objective  To help move people out of poverty through literacy education, health assistance, housing programs, bridging the digital divide, economic development programming Restrictions:  Projects must focus on capacity building for project sustainability after VISTA resources are withdrawn
    8. 8. AmeriCorpsVISTA Volunteers in Service to America Eligibility for members  Must be at least 18 years old  One year of full-time service  Member effort is focused on capacity building rather than direct service to agency clients/customers. Benefits: Modest bi-weekly living allowance; at end of term of service $5550 Education Award or may opt for $1500 cash payment.
    9. 9. AmeriCorpsVISTA Volunteers in Service to America Eligibility for sponsors: Local, state or federal agencies; public, private or faith-based nonprofit organizations. Must apply to establish a VISTA project and be able to engage a minimum of three full-time members (www.americorps.gov). Cash match is not required. In-kind match will be negotiated prior to project approval. Sharing a portion of the cost may increase the availability of VISTA resources to your agency. Cost share is strongly encouraged for sponsors who are approved member positions beyond three years.
    10. 10. Example of VISTA Programs The North Carolina IDA and Asset Building Collaborative uses an asset building approach to address poverty at the community level. 12 VISTA members placed throughout the state focus on: (1) improving low income citizens financial and savings knowledge by recruiting and training volunteers to provide financial education and serve as wealth coaches in low-income communities (2) increasing community engagement by creating a manual for best practices in community-based asset building across the state (3) forming regional Asset Building Coalitions and (4) increasing the capacity of the local site to deliver services to low income citizens.
    11. 11. Questions AmeriCorps NCCC AmeriCorps VISTA
    12. 12. AmeriCorps State Formula Where serving – In communities with established need Objective  Engage members in providing direct service to address unmet community needs. CNS priority areas:  Disaster Services, Economic Opportunity  Education, Environment al Stewardship  Healthy Futures, Veterans and Military Families Restrictions  Members engaged primarily in direct service
    13. 13. AmeriCorps State Formula Eligibility for Members  ≥17 years old (some programs 18yo)  Cleared by criminal history check Benefits  Modest monthly living allowance  Student loan forbearance  Health insurance  End of term of service $5550 Education Award Full-time, part-time, less than part-time and EAO positions One year service term Visit www.americorps.gov for AmeriCorps programs across the county.
    14. 14. AmeriCorps State Formula Eligibility for sponsors: Local, state or federal agencies; public, private or faith-based nonprofit organizations Match required: Corporation requires a 24% cash or in- kind match of the overall program operating costs. State commissions may add additional match requirements. After the first three years of funding the match will go up incrementally, to a maximum of 50% match. (MSY $13,300). Fixed rate grants do not require a specific match but do require that community financial support be a part of the program’s funding plan. Currently available for fulltime member programs only. (MSY $13,000).
    15. 15. Examples of AmeriCorps ProgramsACCESS Joblink 17 Full-Time and 6 Half-Time members serve at JobLink Career Centers and assist individuals with disabilities, at-risk youth, older adults, and former offenders with reaching their employment goals. Job search activities include assistance with resume writing, cover letters, interviewing, transportation & child care plans, success plans, financial literacy, computer skills, employment applications, job retention skills and skill building activities.
    16. 16. Examples of AmeriCorps Programs Project HEARTis an academic coaching program that serves low performing students in 8 counties in Eastern North Carolina. The program housed on the East Carolina University campus, recruits Half-Time college students and Education-Award-Only high school seniors to serve as academic coaches for more than 2,500 middle, high school, and first-year college students. Fifty (50) Half-Time and 120 Education-Award-Only members provide tutoring, homework, and study skills sessions. In addition, coaches help students with time management, organization and goal setting. These sessions will help students succeed academically and graduate from high school and college.
    17. 17. Questions AmeriCorps State Formula
    18. 18. What type of National Service funding are you most likely to apply for? NCCC VISTA AmeriCorps State Formula
    19. 19. Steps in Submitting an Application1. Determine need through community participation2. Develop community collaborations3. Plan your project4. Determine agency capacity5. Identify and verify match dollars6. Prepare the application7. Participate in an AmeriCorps T/TA session
    20. 20. Determining Community Need The Corporation for National and Community Service requires that agencies consult their communities in determining the need for specific projects. You must be able to:  Verify the need through documentation.  Explain how the community was involved in determining the need.  Detail the scope of the need in your community and insure that this need is not already being met by another agency.
    21. 21. Developing Community Collaborations  Identify other agencies in the community that are interested in partnering in the identified need area.  Develop relationships with these agencies in order to strengthen programming and avoid duplication of service.  Determine relative strengths and weaknesses of each partner.
    22. 22. Planning Your Project Utilizing information gained through partnership development, create a project plan. Refer to RFP to insure that all program requirements are covered. Utilize the expertise of commission staff to assist with technical questions. Insure that all partners have committed to the plan, both programmatically and fiscally.
    23. 23. Determining Agency Capacity Utilize organizational capacity checklist provided by commission. Program sponsor must be able to demonstrate experience in grants management and strong fiscal controls. Sponsor must dedicate a full time Program Director Sponsor must dedicate a staff member to AmeriCorps financial management.
    24. 24. Identifying Match Dollars Determine what each partner will bring to the table in terms of match. Match may be cash or in-kind. Verify that match is committed.Year 1,2,3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10+Share 24% 26% 30% 34% 38% 42% 46% 50%
    25. 25. Preparing the Application Once the program is fully planned and funding is assured, prepare the application. Take care to answer every point raised in the RFP. Be clear and concise. There is a page limit.
    26. 26. Preparing the Application Attend the mandatory training and technical assistance session. Insure that minimum number of members are included. Currently, the commission is asking that all programs plan for at least 20 members. Organizations targeting rural and economically distressed communities may request 10 members In the budget section, be sure not to exceed the average cost per MSY in your request ($13,300 Formula).
    27. 27. Training and Technical Assistance Sessions  These sessions are intended for those completing an RFP in order to address specific questions and details regarding the application.  Four (4) sessions are typically held each year across the state.  Seek technical assistance from commission staff where requested information seems unclear.  Dates will be posted to the website after the new RFP is posted.
    28. 28. NC Commission Website Tour www.volunteernc.org
    29. 29. Final Points Organizational capacity and community collaboration are key. Utilize the technical expertise of commission staff along the way. Developing a strong AmeriCorps application may take a year or more of planning. Most important is to develop a program that truly meets the community’s need. Visit the Commission’s website (www.volunteernc.org) for a list of programs currently funded by the Commission. 2013-14 AmeriCorps Application and Instructions will be posted on the Commission’s website soon.
    30. 30. For Further InformationCNCS State Office:919-856-4731www.nationalservice.govNC Commission Office:800-820-4483www.volunteernc.orgwww.americorps.gov