AmeriCorps

Overview

AmeriCorps logo
AmeriCorps joins a long tradition of programs that encourage and reward service ­ programs like the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Montgomery GI Bill, and the Peace Corps.

In return for their service, AmeriCorps members receive a modest living allowance and an education award that can be used to pay existing college loans or continuing education costs.

Partnerships that sponsor AmeriCorps programs recruit, select, and train their own AmeriCorps members, design and operate their local programs, and are responsible for providing funds and other resources to match the federal funds they receive through their AmeriCorps grant.


AmeriCorps Goals

In the short time since AmeriCorps' inception in 1994, its members have achieved impressive results.

Now nearly 20 years, 800,000 members and 1 billion hours of service later, AmeriCorps members are still getting things done.

Goals of AmeriCorps include:

* Getting Things Done. AmeriCorps helps communities meet needs in the areas of education, public safety, the environment, and other human needs through direct and demonstrable service.

* Strengthening Communities. AmeriCorps builds the capacity of community organizations and other institutions to more effectively engage community volunteers to improve our communities.

* Encouraging Responsibility. Through service and civic education, AmeriCorps members become agents of community solutions and develop an ethic of lifelong service.

* Expanding Opportunity. AmeriCorps helps those who help America. Members develop professional skills, gain invaluable experience and receive education awards for education or job training.

The AmeriCorps Family of Programs

AmeriCorps members posing

AmeriCorps*State and National

AmeriCorps State grant funding goes to Governor-appointed state service commissions, such as CaliforniaVolunteers, which in turn award and monitor grants to hundreds of nonprofit groups and agencies. The organizations that receive grants are responsible for recruiting, selecting, and supervising AmeriCorps members.

AmeriCorps*VISTA

For nearly 50 years, AmeriCorps*VISTA members have helped impoverished individuals and communities attain self sufficiency. Members serve full-time for a year with nonprofit groups, public agencies, and faith-based organizations throughout the country, working to fight illiteracy, improve health services, create and expand businesses, increase housing opportunities, and bridge the digital divide.

Approximately 8,000 AmeriCorps*VISTA members serve in more than 1,100 local programs.

AmeriCorps*NCCC

AmeriCorps*NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps) is a 10-month, team-based, full-time residential program for men and women between the ages of 18 and 24. It combines the best practices of civilian service with the best aspects of military service, including leadership training and team building.

Members serve in diverse teams of 10 to 14 individuals. Priority is given to homeland security and disaster relief projects. Teams are based at four campuses across the country and are assigned to projects in their respective regions. Approximately 1,200 members serve in AmeriCorps*NCCC each year.

AmeriCorps in California

More than 11,000 individuals served as AmeriCorps members during the 2012-13 program year.

CaliforniaVolunteers, in its role as the state service commission, supported nearly 4,000 of these members via $28 million in grants to 48 programs statewide. The majority of that investment is in education-related programming.

For more information on the 2014-2015 California AmeriCorps Grantees, click here to view the full portfolio.

How Can My Organization Access AmeriCorps Resources?

AmeriCorps member

Via CaliforniaVolunteers
The majority of AmeriCorps resources in California are administered by CaliforniaVolunteers. Interested partnerships of nonprofit and public agencies apply for grant funds that support a team of AmeriCorps members (a minimum of 20 full-time members). Recent grants have ranged from $150K to $2.5 million, with an average grant size of $516,637.

Grantees use the funding they receive to provide living allowances to members, to hire program staff that will operate the program and supervise members, fund evaluation expenses and support other program operating costs.

AmeriCorps grants generally provide funding for a three-year grant period, assuming demonstrated success toward achieving program performance measures and the completion of an annual continuation request.

Whenever grant funding is available, CaliforniaVolunteers runs a grant competition. The next anticipated AmeriCorps grant competition will begin in the summer of 2014 to support AmeriCorps programming beginning the fall of 2015. If you are interested in receiving information about future AmeriCorps grant opportunities, please email funding@CaliforniaVolunteers.ca.gov

Partner with an existing AmeriCorps Program
Sometimes existing AmeriCorps programs are able to place a portion of their corps of AmeriCorps members with a partnering agency. If you are interested in hosting one or more AmeriCorps members with your organization, but are unable to manage an AmeriCorps grant, you may wish to contact AmeriCorps programs in your area to determine if a partnership may be feasible.

Accessing AmeriCorps*VISTA
To apply for an AmeriCorps*VISTA grant, please contact the Corporation for National and Community Service California State Office at (310) 235-7421.

AmeriCorps*NCCC Teams
The AmeriCorps*NCCC Western Region Campus based in Sacramento accepts applications from nonprofit and public agencies to host an AmeriCorps*NCCC team (typically 10-12 members) for 6-8 weeks to assist with high-impact, but short-term projects.

Although transportation and basic tools will be provided by the NCCC, project sponsors are required to provide materials, specialized tools, orientation, training and technical supervision. Further, the project sponsor must assist with arranging housing, food, and other logistics for the team during their deployment.

For further information and/or application materials, please contact Sharon Morioka-Estrada at (916) 640-0310.

AmeriCorps FAQs

What is AmeriCorps?
AmeriCorps is known as the “domestic Peace Corps.” Participants – known as AmeriCorps members – perform a year of service with a program that meets local community needs. AmeriCorps programs focus on the four issue areas of education, the environment, public safety, and other human needs.

Individual programs recruit and train their own members with funding from an AmeriCorps grant. CaliforniaVolunteers’ AmeriCorps grants provide funding for member living allowances, health benefits, childcare (for eligible members), AmeriCorps program staff, training, evaluation, and other program operating costs. Members also receive an education award directly from the federal Corporation for National and Community Service.


What types of activities can AmeriCorps members perform?
AmeriCorps members engage in a variety of direct service activities in the areas of education, public safety, the environment, and health and human needs. Examples of activities include: assisting in community policing programs, conducting health education workshops, restoring natural habitats, tutoring children in afterschool programs, and serving as service-learning coordinators at schools. Members also perform indirect service such as recruiting community volunteers to serve in these activities.


How can I get AmeriCorps members to help with my program?
CaliforniaVolunteers does not provide AmeriCorps members directly to organizations or programs. Instead, CaliforniaVolunteers provides grants that support local partnerships to recruit, train, and support AmeriCorps members throughout their year of service.

The next anticipated AmeriCorps grant competition will begin in summer 2012 to support AmeriCorps programming beginning fall of 2013. If you are interested in receiving information about future AmeriCorps grant opportunities, please send an email to Funding@CaliforniaVolunteers.ca.gov.


Is it possible to be a placement site for AmeriCorps members, but not actually administer an AmeriCorps program (i.e., how do I get 1-2 AmeriCorps members for my organization)?
CaliforniaVolunteers requires a program to support at least the equivalent of 20 full-time AmeriCorps members. In unusual and/or extenuating circumstances, CaliforniaVolunteers will consider requests for the equivalent of 10 full-time members. CaliforniaVolunteers recognizes that many organizations lack the capacity to supervise and adequately provide for the minimum-sized corps of members. In such cases, organizations are advised to seek intermediaries, form partnerships with other organizations, or contact an existing AmeriCorps program.


How much are AmeriCorps members paid?
The AmeriCorps member living allowance varies from program to program. For the 2013-14 program year, a full-time member must receive a minimum living allowance of at least $12,100 and no more than $24,200. Programs may decide on the living allowance that they will pay their members so long as it falls within this range.


What is an education award?
An education award is commonly compared to a scholarship. However, Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards are much more flexible than typical scholarships. Each AmeriCorps member who successfully completes a term of service will receive an education award that can be applied to (1) the costs of attendance at a qualified institution of higher education, (2) the costs of approved school-to-work programs, or (3) the costs of repaying qualified student loans. For more information on the education award, please visit the AmeriCorps Web site.


Do placement sites contribute financially to the cost of supporting AmeriCorps members? If so, what is the cost?
Partner contributions to AmeriCorps programs depend on the structure of individual partnerships and programs. In some cases, placement sites do contribute cash to the program (the amount varies by program). In other cases, placement sites might contribute in-kind services, supplies, trainers, facilities, evaluation expertise, or other services and equipment. Each partnership is unique to a given location and program.


Who can apply for an AmeriCorps grant?
An AmeriCorps program’s legal applicant must be a public or private non-profit entity. There are no restrictions on organizations that are partners in an AmeriCorps program.


Are there partnership requirements for AmeriCorps grants?
Yes. An AmeriCorps program must include at least three independent organizations, including at least one public and one private (nonprofit or for-profit) organization, each of which must have a significant role in planning, operating and sustaining the program.