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Volunteers in Service to America

Americorps VISTA VISTA
Number: 94.013
Agency: Corporation for National and Community Service

Program Information 

Program Number/Title (010):
94.013 Volunteers in Service to America
Federal Agency (030):
Corporation for National and Community Service
Authorization (040):
Domestic Volunteer Service Act of 1973, as amended, Public Law 93-113, , Title I, Part A, Public Law 93-113, 87 Stat. 394, 42 U.S.C 4951-49600.
Objectives (050):
AmeriCorps VISTA is the national service program of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) designed specifically to fight poverty. VISTA supports efforts to alleviate poverty by engaging individuals, 18 years and older, from all walks of life, in a year of full-time service with a sponsoring organization (sponsor) to create or expand programs designed to bring individuals and communities out of poverty.
Types of Assistance (060):
Provision of Specialized Services
Uses and Use Restrictions (070):
See program's Notice of Funding Opportunity. This is not a grant-based program. Restrictions on use of funds are described in program’s Notice of Funding Availability/Opportunity. Use of funds must be consistent with awarded application, and are subject to the Corporation for National and Community Service’s administration laws, regulations and policies. All appropriated funds awarded under this program are discretionary.
Eligibility Requirements (080)
Applicant Eligibility (081):
The proposed project must have a clear anti-poverty focus, include the involvement of the low-income community and the activities must lead towards sustainability of the project. The activities of the VISTA members may not supplant staff or current volunteers. See program's Notice of Funding Opportunity for more information.
Beneficiary Eligibility (082):
VISTA activities must benefit low-income persons and communities by building the capacity of the sponsoring organization to find permanent solutions to poverty.

VISTAs live and serve in some of our nation’s poorest areas. They receive a modest living allowance and other benefits during their service. After successfully completing a term of service, VISTAs and Summer Associates may receive a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award, which can be used to pay for college or student loans, or an end-of-service cash stipend. Sponsors may contribute to the cost of a VISTA through "cost share", but are under no obligation to do so.
Credentials/Documentation (083):
Various records and forms are required for first time applicants, as well as a copy of last audit may be requested. First time applicants must certify financial systems. OMB Circular No. A-87 applies to this program.
Application and Award Process (090)
Preapplication Coordination (091):
Preapplication coordination is not applicable. Environmental impact information is not required for this program. This program is eligible for coverage under E.O. 12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs." An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his or her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review.
Application Procedures (092):
OMB Circular No. A-102 applies to this program. OMB Circular No. A-110 applies to this program. See program's Notice of Funding Opportunity and application instructions for information on other application procedures.
Award Procedure (093):
See program's Notice of Funding Opportunity and application instructions for information on other application procedures.
Deadlines (094):
Contact the headquarters or regional office, as appropriate, for application deadlines.
Range of Approval/Disapproval Time (095):
From 90 to 120 days.
Appeals (096):
No formal appeals for denial of initial project application; however, regulations provide for hearings on terminations and suspensions, and opportunity to show cause in cases of denial of refunding.
Renewals (097):
From 120 to 180 days. Renewal applications are required annually at least 120 days prior to the end of the project period. Renewals are subject to the same review procedures as new projects.
Assistance Consideration (100)
Formula and Matching Requirements (101):
This program has no statutory formula.
This program has no matching requirements. The VISTA program does not, as a rule, provide assistance through cash grants, and, thus has no matching requirements. In the case of those projects that receive small grants to offset costs, there are no matching requirements. VISTA does operate a voluntary cost share program where sponsoring organizations can pay living allowance costs for one or more VISTA members, allowing the program to maximize its reach. Sponsors also provide equipment, work space and other in-kind support of the VISTA members assigned to ensure overall project success.
This program does not have MOE requirements.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance (102):
VISTA Volunteers are assigned to a project for a given length of time, generally 3-4 years, as designated in a Memorandum of Agreement between Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and the sponsor. Individual volunteers commit themselves to an one year term of service which may be extended with sponsor and CNCS approval. Note that, with certain small exceptions, the VISTA program does not grant financial resources to organizations, but rather provides the resource through the placement of a VISTA member. Method of awarding/releasing assistance: lump sum.
Post Assistance Requirements (110)
Reports (111):
No program reports are required. In the case of VISTA projects that receive cash grants, cash management reports are required. The Corporation for National and Community Service uses the US HHS Payment Management System for payments and cash management reporting. Progress reporting requirements are described in the Memorandum of Agreement and reporting forms. In the case of VISTA projects that receive small cash grants, Federal Financial Reports are required as specified in the grant award provisions. The Corporation for National and Community Service and its VISTA sponsors are required to practice risk-based monitoring and routine field and desk-based oversight of all project/grant awards and expenditures.
Audits (112):
In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133 (Revised, June 27, 2003), "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations," nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $500,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in Circular No. A-133. Audits are required only for those projects receiving cash grants. Corporation for National and Community Service grants are subject to audit by Corporation for National and Community Service employees, the CNCS Inspector General, the Government Accountability Office, and auditors contracted by the CNCS.
Records (113):
Sponsors are expected to maintain records pertaining to volunteer assignments and training activities for 3 years after the end of the project year. Grant recipients must maintain all grant financial and program records for a period of three years from date of submission of the final Federal Financial Report for the award. This includes but is not limited to all financial records including receipts, disbursements, and vouchers for Federal and nonfederal costs, timecards, copies of all contracts, personnel records, and job descriptions, program execution and performance records, criminal history checks, and similar records to reflect all activities and spending performed under the award. Note that all individuals receiving a salary, living allowance, stipend, National Trust Education Award or similar compensation through a national service program funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service must first clear a National Service Criminal History Check and check records must be maintained within project records.
Financial Information (120)
Obligations (122):
(Provision of Specialized Services) FY 13 $89,960,772; FY 14 est $92,364,000; and FY 15 est $92,364,000
Range and Average of Financial Assistance (123):
See program’s Notice of Funding Opportunity for information.
Program Accomplishments (130):
Fiscal Year 2013: In FY 2013, 7211 VISTA members and Summer Associates served in more than 1200 low-income communities throughout the United States. Fiscal Year 2014: We anticipate 7700 AmeriCorps VISTA members and Summer Associates will start service during FY 2014. Fiscal Year 2015: The request will support an estimated 7800 full-time VISTA members and Summer Associates.
Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature (140):
45 CFR 1201; VISTA Member Handbook; Publications: “Overcoming Poverty, Building Capacity”, “Is VISTA Right for Your Organization?”
http://www.americorps.gov/pdf/12_0724_vista_guide_to_sponsor.pdf
Information Contacts (150)
Regional or Local Office (151) :
See Regional Agency Offices. The Corporation for National and Community Service maintains regional offices in most States. Refer to the CNCS website for address and contact information.
Headquarters Office (152):
Kelly L. Daly, 1201 New York Avenue NW , Washington, District of Columbia 20525 Email: kdaly@cns.gov Phone: (202) 606-6849
Website Address (153):
http://www.americorps.gov/about/programs/vista.asp
Examples of Funded Projects (170):
Not Applicable.
Criteria for Selecting Proposals (180):
All of the following elements must be found in the applicant's proposal for new or renewal projects. The project must: (1) be poverty oriented in scope and comply with the provisions of the Domestic Volunteer Service Act of 1973 applicable to VISTA and all published regulations and Corporation for National Service policies; (2) show that the project goals, objectives and Volunteer tasks are attainable within the time frame during which the Volunteers will be serving on the project and will produce a measurable result; (3) must recruit and involve low-income community residents in the planning, development and implementation of the VISTA project; (4) provide for frequent and effective supervision of the Volunteers; (5) identify resources needed and make them available for Volunteers to perform their tasks; and (6) have the management capability to carry out the project.