AmeriCorps VISTA Project
Host Site Application
Please complete the following information and submit to the Volunteer Iowa VISTA Project Program Officer:
It is strongly suggested that potential applicants review the application and the “Host Site Application Guidance” document and contact the VOLUNTEER IOWA VISTA Project Program Officer with questions in advance of submitting this application, to ensure that the VISTA program is a good fit for the applicant agency.
Core Principles of AmeriCorps VISTA
Projects must be developed in accordance with AmeriCorps VISTA’s core principles: an anti-poverty focus; community empowerment; sustainable solutions; and capacity building.
1. Anti-Poverty Focus
The statutory purpose of AmeriCorps VISTA is to strengthen and support efforts to eliminate poverty. Each VISTA project should focus on empowering individuals to emerge from poverty, not simply make poverty more tolerable. VISTA projects should focus on long-term solutions rather than short-term services.
2. Community Empowerment
Prospective and current AmeriCorps VISTA project sponsors must engage low-income community members in planning, developing, implementing, and evaluating the project. Each project must be responsive and relevant to the lives of community residents, and tap into inherent community assets, strengths, and resources.
3. Sustainable Solutions
Congress has directed AmeriCorps VISTA to serve as short-term resources that serve to build the long-term sustainability of anti-poverty programs. Projects should be developed with a goal to phase out the need for VISTAs within three years and have the project continue without them.
4. Capacity Building
VISTAs create systems that remain long after their term of service ends. VISTA projects expand the scale, impact, and resource-leveraging ability of programs and organizations that work to eliminate poverty. Our members strengthen sponsors by building infrastructure, expanding community partnerships, securing long-term resources, coordinating training for participants, and more, as determined by local needs. VISTAs focus on capacity-building activities. On occasion, they may perform limited direct service activities if such activities are incidental to the activities required under their VISTA Assignment Description (VAD) duties, a part of a term-limited special initiative, or a necessary part of VISTA training activities.
VISTAs are not staff members or employees of the sponsoring organizations to which they are assigned.
VISTAs may not engage in activities at sponsoring organizations that would displace or supplant paid staff, contractors, or existing volunteers. These prohibitions against displacement and supplantation include activities related to the application and management of other CNCS grants and programs.
PART ONE: GENERAL INFORMATION
Organization Name and Mailing Address
Area to be served by the VISTA
(list the specific city, county, or region):
Title for the AmeriCorps VISTA Position
(must include the phrase, “AmeriCorps VISTA”):
Host site organization type (choose one):
501(c), state government agency, local government agency,
K-12 school, institute of higher education, faith-based organization, other (please indicate)
Host site EIN number:
Is your organization a certified Service Enterprise?
(For additional information about the Service Enterprise Initiative visit: https://volunteeriowa.org/SEI:
Which of the 3 VISTA Priorities most closely aligns with your project goals?
Healthy Futures, Economic Opportunity, or Education
Host site contact (will serve as contact with VOLUNTEER IOWA during application process):
Site supervisor (will serve as contact with VOLUNTEER IOWA if a position is awarded):
Host site is able to contribute cost share funding per member (awarding priority will be given to organizations able to provide cost share funding):
PART TWO: COMMUNITY NEED AND PROJECT GOALS
AmeriCorps VISTA members provide indirect, capacity-building service to improve your agency’s ability to accomplish your mission and thereby reduce poverty. Indirect service can take many forms, such as efforts to secure additional funding, create a community volunteer program, develop new outreach materials or curricula, or improve client intake and service systems. AmeriCorps VISTA members cannot replace regular employees (such as administrative assistants) nor may their primary assigned activities involve day-to-day direct service (such as preparing meals for the hungry, tutoring children, or building low-income housing).
Community need statement: (The suggested length of this statement is 3-6 sentences. Include the following information: Explain the community’s specific poverty-related need to be addressed. Describe the need in measurable terms. Include relevant characteristics of the community, including the number of low-income people directly affected by the identified problem or unmet need. Cite a reliable source that documents the need in the area being served. Briefly explain the VISTA sponsor’s capacity to address the need.)
Goal statement: The suggested length of this statement is 1-3 sentences. Include the following: Describe who (population) will be served by the VISTA, describe what the VISTA will do using verbs (develop, implement), describe how poverty is addressed by VISTA efforts (breaking the cycle of poverty by…), state the specific self-sustaining product or service resulting from the VISTA efforts (volunteer systems, partnerships, funding), and if applicable describe how resources will be used (VISTA will write grants to support…).
Sustainability: (The suggested length of this statement is 1-3 sentences. Describe in measurable terms the anticipated sustainability of results at the conclusion of the project.)
Planning: (The suggested length of this statement is 1-3 sentences. Indicate the involvement of beneficiaries (as an advisory group) in project development and implementation throughout the life of the project.)
Volunteer Management: (The suggested length of this statement is 1-3 sentences. Indicate the role of the VISTA member in developing or enhancing the ability of the organization or partner organization(s) to implement effective volunteer management best practices and/or engage volunteers in meaningful service.)
PART THREE: VISTA ASSIGNMENT DESCRIPTION (VAD) Assignment description: The VISTA assignment description should identify key capacity building tasks and activities that can be realistically accomplished in a single year. Please develop 2-4 objectives for the VISTA member, identify the steps to complete the objective, and the planned period of service (e.g. Months 1-6, Months 4-12, etc.). Include enough detail in the activity description to guide the VISTA member while still allowing for flexibility in carrying out day-to-day tasks and activities. Please review the resources listed in “Facts for Host Site Applicants” for additional assistance. Note to current sites: the goal of VISTA is sustainability, so your VAD should change and build off the accomplishments of current members. SAMPLE Objective: Establish volunteer management infrastructure to assist with service delivery Step 1: Develop the policies and procedures for the recruitment, screening, training, and supervision of volunteers. Step 2: Develop volunteer recruitment, screening, training, and supervision materials. Step 3: Train all staff members in volunteer policies and procedures. Step 4: In collaboration with staff, conduct an organizational needs assessment to identify potential positions for volunteers and create volunteer position descriptions. Planned Period of Service Months 1-5 Objective: Step 1: Step 2: Step 3: Step 4: Step 5: Planned Period of Service Objective: Step 1: Step 2: Step 3: Step 4: Step 5: Planned Period of Service Objective (if needed): Step 1: Step 2: Step 3: Step 4: Step 5: Planned Period of Service Objective (if needed): Step 1: Step 2: Step 3: Step 4: Step 5: Planned Period of Service Comments:
PART FOUR: CONNECTION TO VOLUNTEER IOWA & NATIONAL SERVICE
Connection to the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service mission, vision, and objectives: (Reference the 2019-2022 Iowa State Service Plan, developed by the VOLUNTEER IOWA and our partners. Describe in two to four sentences how the proposed AmeriCorps VISTA project relates to the VOLUNTEER IOWA mission, vision, and goals for service in Iowa.)
Does your service site have any other relationships to the VOLUNTEER IOWA? If yes, please describe: (Examples may include staff member serves on the Commission, staff serve on planning committee for Iowa Nonprofit Summit, agency hosts another program or grant awarded through the VOLUNTEER IOWA, etc.)
Other AmeriCorps programming at your site: (Are there other AmeriCorps members serving at your site? If yes, please share what you know about their service, such as what branch of AmeriCorps and what program. How will the AmeriCorps VISTA’s duties relate to the existing members’ service activities?)
Other national service programming at your site: (Are there other national service programs at your site (i.e. Senior Corps, Foster Grandparents, Senior Companions, Volunteer Generation Fund)? If so, how will the AmeriCorps VISTA activities complement the other national service programming?)
Service experience and training: (The suggested length of this statement is 1-3 sentences. Please address how your organization will ensure a meaningful service experience for the AmeriCorps VISTA member. What training opportunities will you offer the member?)
Monitoring: (The suggested length of this statement is 3-4 sentences. Please address how your AmeriCorps VISTA member will be supervised on-site, how you will monitor the VISTA member’s progress toward the targets identified in the VAD, and your ability to complete and submit reports in a timely fashion.)