How to Host a VISTA Member
Are you a nonprofit organization based in one of Colorado’s rural communities? Does your organization address poverty alleviation in rural Colorado? Do you have a project or program that you want to get off the ground but lack capacity to do so?
CRC runs what we like to call a “rural intermediary” VISTA program. This means that CRC holds the federal grant directly from the Corporation for National and Community Service, the agency that administers VISTA programs nationwide. By taking on the administrative, reporting and financial responsibilities of managing the VISTA grant, CRC is able to provide easy access to VISTA members for small rural organizations. CRC currently places upwards of 25 members in organizations based in rural Colorado.
Read below to learn more about CRC’s AmeriCorps VISTA program and how you can host a VISTA member in your own community.
What IS an AmeriCorps VISTA Member?
VISTA stands for Volunteers in Service to America, and is a national service program that seeks to fight poverty in America. AmeriCorps VISTA members make a year-long, full-time commitment to focus their efforts to build the organizational, administrative and financial capacity of organizations that fight illiteracy, improve health services, foster economic development, and assist low-income communities.
AmeriCorps VISTA is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).
What can a VISTA Member do for my organization?
VISTA members enable an organization to turn dream projects into reality. They mobilize local human, financial, and material resources to expand the capacity of low-income communities to build on their own resources and address the challenges they face. VISTA members around the country are involved with:
- Project Management and Expansion
- Fund Development
- Volunteer Engagement and Management
- Community Outreach
- Convening Stakeholders
To learn more about how VISTA members directly benefit and build capacity for organizations across Colorado, download our 2017 Rural VISTA Snapshot.
Capacity Building is defined as tasks and activities to create, expand or strengthen systems or processes in order to increase an organization’s ability to function effectively and meet its mission. VISTA members do not take part in direct service activities. Instead, they take part in capacity building activities that aim to make an organization self-sustainable.
What are the costs associated with hosting a VISTA Member?
CRC’s VISTA program is designed to provide rural-based organizations affordable access to national services members, without taking on the administrative costs and responsibilities of managing the federal VISTA grant.
VISTA Host Sites must consider the following financial commitments of hosting a VISTA member:
- Host Site Fee of 80% of the VISTA member’s total annual living stipend, which vary by county. Annual member living stipends are determined at the federal level and vary anywhere from $12,300 to $16,000 in Colorado.
- Mileage reimbursement for any work related travel that the VISTA member must do during their term. This does not include a daily commute.
- Expense reimbursement for any work related out of pocket expenses the VISTA member might accrue.
- Indirect costs such as workspace, equipment (computer, phone/ etc.) and supervision time.
Are you ready to host a VISTA Member?
Does your organization:
- Have the staff capacity to supervise a full-time AmeriCorps member?
- Have the ability to provide a clean, collaborative workspace?
- Have the ability to commit to a year-long term?
- Have the ability to commit financially?
- Understand whether you need indirect service or direct service capacity?
If you can answer YES to all these questions, we invite you to apply using our formal online application system. As part of the application, you will be asked to submit a drafted position description (i.e. what do you envision your VISTA member doing within the organization?). We are currently accepting applications for host sites interested in hosting a VISTA member as soon as December 2019 or January 2020. Host site applications for a December/January placement are due by July 31st.
CRC often receives more host site applications than we are able to accommodate, so please apply early! Contact Andrea Swan, Volunteer Engagement Manager, if you plan to apply.