May 2020 Newsletter

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Resources Available to Support Organizations Responding to COVID-19

Is your organization feeling the strain of COVID-19? Does it feel like processes within your agency require substantial changes due to COVID? Incorporating social distancing at the same time community needs are increasing is tough; and diverts staff time and focus away from other priorities. AmeriCorps is here to help!

Volunteer Iowa and the Iowa Economic Development Authority Center for Rural Revitalization are making dozens of AmeriCorps positions available at no cost to local organizations that are active in COVID-19 recovery efforts or struggling with the effects of COVID-19. Initially, at least seventy summer positions are being created, but we will consider expanding the program if needs are present. Please complete this survey to tell us how these resources could help, and we will follow up for more information. Your input will help us plan accordingly.

Volunteer Iowa wants to work with your agency on member placements that helps support your mission.

  • AmeriCorps members can provide direct service activities like community gardening, supporting food bank activities, supporting a shelter, facilitation of transportation or providing online tutoring for kids while not in school
  • AmeriCorps members can also focus on capacity building activities related to the elimination of poverty such as researching grant opportunities or designing and implementing a volunteer program.

Most placements will run from June through August.
Complete this survey by COB May 6, 2020 if you are interested in learning more.

AmeriCorps members are eligible to receive a living allowance and an end of service Education Award. Some members are eligible for childcare assistance and health care coverage. At the same time, they gain raining and experience which builds their confidence and resume.

If you’d like to explore the potential of COVID-19 recovery AmeriCorps members in your organization, please complete this short survey:

Looking to make an impact?
Iowa needs you.

Demands on nonprofits, including food banks and pantries, are higher than ever. Meanwhile, volunteering by our biggest volunteer group, high-risk seniors, has needed to decline due to COVID-19. By joining AmeriCorps you can help meet critical needs in your community.

As an AmeriCorps member, you can:

  • Earn an education award for college or student loans
  • Defer student loan payments
  • Receive a living stipend
  • Make a difference in your community
  • Gain valuable career experience through service

Two month through one year service terms are available. Learn more about how you can Get Things Done for America HERE.

Volunteer Iowa's COVID-19 Response

Volunteer Iowa has been hard at work throughout the COVID-19 crisis. As part of the statewide emergency response team, Volunteer Iowa has played a key role in activating volunteers across the state to meet demand, as well as reassigning or deploying AmeriCorps Iowa members to assist with the response. For example, Conservation Corps of Iowa members have been deployed to Davenport for two weeks to
assist with food distribution at the River Bend Foodbank.
In addition, to provide continued support to programs throughout Iowa, Volunteer Iowa has been involved in response to the crisis by:

  • Expanding our Volunteer Iowa VISTA project and adding 20 new summer associate slots to respond to COVID-19 needs
  • Funding a new formula AmeriCorps state program with 50 QT members to be placed at food banks, volunteer centers, etc. and support COVID-19 needs in the state, with the goal to start mid-May
  • Volunteer Generation Fund (VGF) sub-grantees are coordinating volunteer response efforts with county emergency managers
  • Creating a guide on our website about volunteering and volunteer engagement during COVID-19
  • Collecting data on Get Connected volunteer needs and user views for HSEM
  • Developed information about why and how to track COVID-19 response volunteer hours for FEMA match
  • Coordinating partnership with FFA chapters to volunteer at local food pantries and collect data on needs

COVID-19 Volunteer Needs

Volunteers are still needed, even during this time of social distancing. We've launched a COVID-19 Response Initiative on our Get Connected site so individuals can easily find volunteer needs in their community.

Organizations can post their urgent COVID-19 related needs on the site and tag them as "COVID-19," "COVID-19 Food Distribution" or "Virtual" opportunities. General, ongoing volunteer needs can also be posted to the Get Connected page.

In addition, we have also created a webpage filled with resources for Volunteer Iowa partners. Please visit to access those resources.

Organizations are also encouraged to consider virtual opportunities that can support their organization. Virtual volunteer opportunities provide multiple benefits in addressing community needs, connecting people to the community, and supporting mental health.

Virtual volunteer opportunities unrelated to COVID-19 response can be posted and searched under the “Virtual Volunteer Opportunities” Initiative.

2020 Governor’s Volunteer Awards POSTPONED

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the 2020 Governor’s Volunteer Awards will be postponed. Volunteer Iowa asks that any Iowa nonprofits, charitable organizations, schools, non-state government entities and state government agencies who were planning to nominate an outstanding volunteer for an award this year will submit that individual for an award in 2021.

“I have made the difficult decision to postpone the Governor’s Volunteer Awards for 2020,” said Governor Reynolds. “The health and safety of all Iowans is of utmost importance during this time. I know Iowans have been and will continue to help their neighbors and serve their communities through volunteerism, while following recommendations to mitigate community spread of the virus.”

Volunteer Iowa will be considering options for recognizing volunteers who contributed to the COVID-19 response. Please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates.

Virtual Volunteering: Now It's Essential

Volunteer Iowa, with the support of Volunteer Generation Fund, hosted a FREE webinar for Iowa organizations on April 22 on virtual volunteering. You can watch a recording of the webinar HERE.

Webinar Description: There's nothing new about virtual volunteering - it's a proven, successful practice that's more than 30 years and many thousands of programs engage volunteers online. But per the current global health crisis and widespread home quarantines, many organizations need to launch new roles and activities immediately to keep their current volunteers engaged. This webinar will help you realize just how easily you can introduce and expand your online engagement of home-bound volunteers.

About the Presenter: Jayne Cravens is an internationally-recognized researcher, university lecturer, consultant and trainer. She is a pioneer regarding the research and practice of virtual volunteering, and she is a veteran manager of various local and international initiatives, including the United Nations. She has been quoted in articles in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and the Associated Press, as well as for reports by CNN, Deutsche Well, and the BBC. Resources from her web site,, are frequently cited in reports and articles by a variety of organizations, online and in-print. She is currently based near Portland, Oregon in the USA.

Become a Future Ready Iowa Virtual Mentor!
Are you looking for a virtual volunteer opportunity? You may now register to be a Future Ready Iowa virtual mentor. This is an opportunity for professionals in the workforce to play a pivotal role in helping a recipient of the Future Ready Iowa Last-Dollar Scholarship connect and succeed.

Mentors are matched with a student based on their professional goals, among other factors. Mentoring is all done virtually and is facilitated through a web-based platform that is supported through Android and iOS apps. No prior mentoring experience is necessary. Ample training and support is provided.

The need for mentors is significant but the time commitment is flexible (1-2 hours per month on average). Students are still actively seeking mentors, particularly in the fields of healthcare and information technology. The program is ongoing and the need for career mentors will grow as students enroll in summer and fall terms. Learn more about the program and sign up today at

The Sixth Annual Give Back Iowa Challenge Has Begun!

While volunteer experiences are different in the current COVID-19 environment, we are still hosting the 6th Annual Give Back Iowa Challenge! It’s not too late to join in the competition – you can still register your organization for the challenge at

Give Back Iowa is an eight-week statewide challenge, which serves as a competitive way to encourage organizations and businesses alike to participate in volunteer activities. The Challenge runs from April 1st through May 31st. It’s simple; register your organization, track the hours of your employees, record those hours on our system, and celebrate your employees and their dedication to volunteerism! You can search for virtual volunteer opportunities at and access additional resources and volunteer suggestions at

Service in the News

Important Dates

Looking for a way to give back? Visit Get Connected today to find volunteer opportunities. Organizations can post volunteer opportunities on Get Connected as well at no cost.

Printed from the website on September 19, 2020 at 9:21pm.