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MCSC AmeriCorps VISTA Program
The Michigan Community Service Commission (MCSC) invites Michigan organizations to apply to become an AmeriCorps VISTA program host site as part of its community resilience work. VISTA members serve directly with organizations to empower and advocate for communities to have equality, justice, a sustainable environment, good health, and success in school and/or work.
VISTA Member Activities
VISTA members may serve in-person, remotely, or in hybrid settings to provide capacity-building organizational support with the ultimate goal of eliminating poverty in Michigan. The activity focus areas include education, healthy outcomes, economic opportunity, environmental stewardship, disaster preparedness and response, veteran support, as well as equity and justice. Service activities include:
- creating systems that remain long after the AmeriCorps member service ends
- expanding the scale, impact, and resource-leveraging ability of organizations
- building organizational infrastructure
- expanding community partnerships
- securing short and long-term resources
VISTA Service Parameters
- VISTA members do not provide direct support services. (ex - tutoring or cleaning up parks).
- VISTA members may participate in direct service activities as part of a term-special initiative such as National Days of Service.
- VISTA members are not staff members or employees of the host site and its partners.
- VISTA members may not engage in activities at host sites that would displace or supplant paid staff, contractors, or existing volunteers.
Selected host sites will be asked to provide a detailed description of service and a recruitment plan before starting the recruitment process
MCSC AmeriCorps VISTA host sites will be awarded based on three criteria:
- Geographic representation
- Strength of program through the demonstration of meaningful impact
- Focus on one of our core areas in youth development, economic opportunity, social justice, climate change, and health.
Applications will be reviewed starting Aug. 15. The review process will continue until all positions are filled.
If you have additional questions, contact Patrice Henderson at email@example.com
MCSC AmeriCorps VISTA Program Information
Overview of AmeriCorps VISTA
The AmeriCorps Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) was founded in 1965 and designed to provide needed resources to nonprofit organizations and public agencies to increase their capacity to lift communities out of poverty. In 1993, VISTA was incorporated into the AmeriCorps network of national service programs, housed at AmeriCorps the Agency. AmeriCorps VISTA provides opportunities for Americans 18 years and older from a diverse range of backgrounds to dedicate a year of full-time service with a sponsoring organization to create or expand programs designed to empower individuals and communities in overcoming poverty. For more information about AmeriCorps VISTA visit: AmeriCorps VISTA | AmeriCorps.
Michigan Community Service Commission (MCSC) MCSC serves as an intermediary AmeriCorps VISTA sponsor though AmeriCorps The Agency. The Michigan Community Service Commission is the state’s lead agency for volunteerism and utilizes service as a strategy to address the state's most pressing issues and empowers volunteers to strengthen communities. Awards under the MCSC VISTA program are subject to appropriations and approval from AmeriCorps The Agency.
Host Site Responsibilities
Host Site Eligibility and Requirements
MCSC AmeriCorps VISTA host sites will be awarded based on three criteria: geographic representation, strength of program through the demonstration of meaningful impact, and a focus on one of our core areas in youth development, economic opportunity, social justice, climate change, and health.
Applications for more than one VISTA member will be considered and should be denoted in the application. A VISTA Assignment Description (VAD) will be required for each requested VISTA member and must be submitted to Patrice at the same time of the application.
VISTA members are short-term resources with the goal of building long-term sustainability in host site programming. VISTA projects are required to be developed with the goal to build infrastructure that allows the host site and community partners to have the capacity to continue without AmeriCorps members in the future.
Host sites are required to conduct recruitment outreach efforts to select a candidate that fits its needs. This includes posting the position, screening, interviewing and submitting the candidate’s name to MCSC once identified. Parallel to recruitment by the host sites, MCSC will perform state-wide recruitment looking for talent applicable to position descriptions. MCSC will prescreen applicants and contact the host sites that seem to be a good match. MCSC will interview selected candidates, check references, and submit the candidate to AmeriCorps the Agency for approval.
Host Site Fee
The MCSC is responsible for the program and administration costs, providing training, submitting all official reporting, and meeting federal guidelines. All host sites must pay a “host site fee” to MCSC to assist with these costs. The host site fee is $8,000 per VISTA member but a reduced rate of $5,000 is provided to organizations that are not able to secure the funding due to capacity issues. Host site fees are non-refundable, but a new member can be recruited if a person departs early.
Applicants must identify an individual who will serve as the primary host site supervisor. The identified supervisor must have the capacity to provide day-to-day support to the proposed VISTA. Additionally, MCSC requires that the person who serves as the host site supervisor be a full-time employee of the host organization. The supervisor is required to attend a supervisor training and participate on support calls.
MCSC, as a part of the project application to AmeriCorps the Agency, has selected performance measures that coincide with the goals of our project. These performance measures will be collected in monthly reports supplied by MCSC. Those monthly reports will be collected and combined to create reports to be submitted to AmeriCorps the Agency.
The Role of the Michigan Community Service Commission
- Complete required programmatic and financial grant reports
- Conduct site visits in support of program implementation
- Conduct monitoring visits to ensure compliance with the federal application, procedures and reporting
- Complete expense reimbursements for MCSC required events
- Track VISTA members’ attendance and use of leave time (based on submitted timesheets)
- Support host site supervisors by phone, email and on-site as needed
- Collect monthly VISTA outcomes report to send to AmeriCorps The Agency
- Tracking, Networking, and Program Support
- Convene VISTA members biannually for professional development trainings
- Connect with VISTA members monthly for conference calls and monthly professional development
- Connect VISTA Members and host sites to additional training opportunities and resources available through MCSC, AmeriCorps the Agency and its partners
- Recruit candidates through the AmeriCorps portal, Service Year, and other statewide outreach networks
- Provide support for host site supervisors on recruitment
- Screen candidate applications, conduct interviews, check references, write sponsor evaluations of candidates and submit candidates to AmeriCorps The Agency for approval
MCSC VISTA Program Priorities
MCSC’s VISTA Program has the following cohorts:
- Resilience Regional Cohort: VISTA members will support partnering organizations in eight regions of the state with accessing resources to sustain their work
- Youth Development Cohort: VISTA members will serve in organizations that provide mentoring, education support and access, and promote youth volunteerism.
- Climate Corps Cohort: VISTA members will assist organizations to engage the community in understanding the environmental impacts and be active participates in developing solutions.
- Health Cohort: VISTA members will assist nonprofits to address issues of mental health, health access, food insecurity, and older adults aging in place.
- Economic Opportunity and Technology Cohort: VISTA members will assist organizations to support workforce development, technology options to streamline services, and help organizations develop solutions to help community members have access to economic opportunities.
- Equity and Social Justice Cohort: VISTA members will research equity issues, support youth to have a voice in generating solutions and support youth to be engaged through the arts to make lasting change in social justice.
Current MCSC sites may apply for renewal at the beginning of each program year, provided they follow all the guidelines. Renewal applications will be prioritized in the review process. Awards are made on an annual basis and are not guaranteed. Renewal applicants must outline the goals and objectives for the renewal year based on the progress made during the current program year. The renewal application must include a project plan building on the current year’s work illustrating strides towards sustainability.
MCSC AmeriCorps VISTA Members
- MCSC VSITA members vary in age and come from a variety of diverse backgrounds and experiences.
- A year of national service is regarded as a full-time placement requiring a minimum of 37.5 hours of service each week
- Most VISTAs have graduated from a two or four-year college degree program
- The minimum age requirement to serve as a VISTA is 18 years old
- AmeriCorps Member Benefits
- During a VISTA member’s year of service, each member receives a monthly stipend, support and benefits from AmeriCorps The Agency. Those benefits include:
- Living Stipend $18,000.00 (anticipating an increase)
- End of Service Award - Education Award - $6,195 or Cash Stipend – approximately $1,800
- Healthcare Assistance
- Child Care Assistance
- Relocation or Settling in Allowance (if moving more than 50 miles)
- VISTA Member Support Host Site Requirements
- Facilitate access to relocation support to incoming VISTA members
- Conduct VISTA orientation training at the beginning of a member’s year of service
- Provide professional development trainings and opportunities throughout the member’s year of service
- Provide support to VISTA members by phone, email and on-site as needed
- Provide a secure office/desk space with office supplies, access to phone and private voicemail, use of a computer with internet and email account, access to photocopier and printer, community and organization orientation, and assistance in securing housing and accessing resources.
- Remote Service – host sites are required to provide access to a computer and virtual meeting space to provide adequate supervision and collaboration.
Additional Non-cash Support
Host sites are permitted to provide additional non-cash support to the MCSC VISTA during their year of service. Host sites providing a housing or food stipend will increase the likelihood of attracting quality VISTA applicants and will aid in the retention of the VISTA throughout the program year. If the program or organization can provide housing for free, that will drastically increase VISTA interest in a particular host site.
- Examples of allowable non-cash support are:
- Organizational housing or rentals subsidy paid directly to the landlord
- Meal plans and gift cards to grocery stores
- Access to facility amenities such as fitness centers
- Access to free or reduced trainings, courses, or university classes
- Conference attendance and other professional development opportunities
- Travel support including bus passes and parking
- Additional cash payments beyond the VISTA living stipend are not permitted