AmeriCorps Programs through The Advancement Foundation
The Advancement Foundation is the Southwest Virginia Intermediary for AmeriCorps VISTA. We currently have 20 VISTAs at 14 different organizations and will be placing additional VISTAs next year. We are accepting applications for potential sites. AmeriCorps VISTA Members make a year-long, full-time commitment to serve at a nonprofit. They focus their efforts to build the capacity of organizations that fight illiteracy, improve health services, foster economic development, and assist low-income communities.
Capacity Building: VISTA expands your ability to fight poverty. Rather than providing services to low-income individuals and communities, VISTAs strengthen and support organizations by building infrastructure, expanding community partnerships, and securing long-term resources. Except for brief training purposes for project development, VISTAs should not be involved in performing direct services such as tutoring, teaching, counseling, driving clients, painting, manual labor, or clerical work.
There are four key types of strategies to consider when building the capacity and, ultimately, the sustainability of your organization and VISTA project.
- Recruitment and management of volunteers
- Partnerships with community members and organizations
- Marketing and promotion
- Increase and diversification of resources
Outcomes from Capacity Building Efforts by VISTA Members
- Increase services
- Expand service delivery
- Strengthen organizational capacity
- Improve infrastructure
- Increase operational resources
AmeriCorps State provides grants to a broad network of public and nonprofit organizations that sponsor AmeriCorps service programs around the country. Grants provide assistance to programs to recruit, train, and supervise AmeriCorps members meeting critical community needs in the areas of: education, disaster services, health, environmental stewardship, economic opportunity and service to veterans and military families.
The purpose of AmeriCorps State is to engage AmeriCorps members in direct service and capacity-building to address critical community needs. The grant applicant designs service activities for a team of members serving full- or part-time for one year or during the summer.
Sample activities include tutoring and mentoring youth, providing job placement assistance to unemployed individuals, addressing childhood obesity through in-school and after-school physical activities, and weatherizing and retrofitting housing units for low-income households. AmeriCorps State members also mobilize community volunteers and strengthen the capacity of the organizations where they serve.
What do AmeriCorps State Members do?
AmeriCorps State Members recruit, train, and supervise community volunteers, and can engage in direct services, including but not limited to tutoring children in reading; helping to run an after-school program; engaging in community clean-up projects; providing health information to a vulnerable population; providing relief services to a community affected by a disaster; and conducting a neighborhood watch program as part of a public safety effort.
Examples of Direct Service Activities
- Tutoring children in reading;
- Helping to run an after-school program;
- Engaging in community clean-up projects;
- Providing health information to a vulnerable population
- Teaching as part of a professional corps
- Providing relief services to a community affected by a disaster; and
- Conducting a neighborhood watch program as part of a public safety effort
Director of Civic Engagement