Volunteer Mississippi (VM) and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) are pleased to announce the availability of federal funds to support new Mississippi AmeriCorps formula programs to start September, 2018 for a 12-month program cycle.

What Is AmeriCorps?  AmeriCorps is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, an independent federal agency created to connect Americans of all ages and backgrounds with opportunities to give back to their communities and their nation. CNCS - through AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, the Social Innovation Fund, and the Volunteer Generation Fund - has helped to engage millions of citizens in meeting community and national challenges through service and volunteer action.  The mission of the Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service is to engage and support Mississippians of all ages and backgrounds in service to their communities.  Administering and supporting AmeriCorps programs, our partners, provides opportunities for Mississippians to address documented needs in our communities.

AmeriCorps grants are awarded to eligible organizations proposing to engage AmeriCorps members in evidence-based or evidence-informed interventions to strengthen communities. Each applicant must clearly describe a project that will deploy AmeriCorps members effectively to solve a significant community problem. An AmeriCorps member is an individual who engages in community service through an approved national service position. Members may receive a living allowance and other benefits while serving. Upon successful completion of their service, full time members earn a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award of up to $5,920 from the National Service Trust that members can use to pay for higher education expenses or apply to qualified student loans. Members who serve in a less than full time capacity receive an education award based upon position enrolled in. 

Why should my organization apply for a Mississippi AmeriCorps program?  AmeriCorps Mississippi provides people-power.  Funds provided through AmeriCorps Mississippi support a team of members who provide direct service to build or improve communities and services and generate volunteers to support their efforts.  If there are needs in your community in the priority areas that you believe can be addressed by the involvement of people serving together, then this program may be for you.  Grant funds can considerably enhance current programs, but cannot duplicate or displace current employees.

What are the 2018 AmeriCorps Focus Areas & Funding priorities?  The Corporation’s purpose is to maximize the power of service and volunteering to improve lives in communities across the country. Through all its programs, CNCS expands economic opportunity – helping Americans acquire the skills, education, and training they need for productive employment.  By helping more Americans graduate, pursue higher education, and find work, national service provides immediate and long term benefits by expanding individual opportunity, building family stability, and creating more sustainable, resilient communities.  In order to carry out Congress’ intent and to maximize the impact of investment in national service, CNCS has the following 2018 AmeriCorps Funding Priorities - CNCS seeks to prioritize the investment of national service resources in:

  • Disaster Services - improving community resiliency through disaster preparation, response, recovery, and mitigation
     
  • Economic Opportunity - increasing economic opportunities for communities by engaging opportunity youth, either as the population served and/or as AmeriCorps members, to prepare them for the workforce.
     
  • Education - improving student academic performance in Science, Technology, Engineering, and/or Mathematics (STEM)
     
  • Healthy Futures – reducing and/or preventing prescription drug and opioid Abuse
     
  • Veterans and Military Families -- positively impacting the quality of life of veterans and improving military family strength
     
  • Governor and Mayor Initiatives
     
  • Rural intermediaries - organizations that demonstrate measureable impact and primarily serve communities with limited resources and organizational infrastructure
     
  • Safer communities - programs that focus on public safety, preventing and mitigating civil unrest, and/or partnerships between law enforcement and the community
     
  • Evidence Based Intervention Planning Grants
     
  • Encore Programs - programs that engage Americans age 55 and older

Who Is Eligible To Apply?  Public or private nonprofit organizations, including faith-based and other community organizations; institutions of higher education; government entities within states or territories (e.g., cities, counties); labor organizations; partnerships and consortia; and Indian Tribes are encouraged to apply.  The Corporation encourages organizations that have never received funding from the Corporation or AmeriCorps to apply for the grants described in this Notice.

What Type Of Grants Are Available?  This grant is made for one program year. Additional funding for the remainder of a three-year cycle is contingent upon numerous factors, including, but not limited to, satisfactory performance, demonstrated capacity to manage the grant, compliance with grant requirements, agency priorities, and the availability of appropriated funds.

Program Size And Grant Size.  Programs must be large enough to achieve a demonstrable impact on the community served.  Thus, while the actual size of each program may vary depending on the size of the community and/or organization it operates in, the design of the program, and other factors, applicants are encouraged to apply for a minimum of twenty (20) AmeriCorps members.  A 20-member full time corps averages $298,640 in federal funds per program annually and all requests require match funds.

Is There A Match Requirement?  There is an overall grantee match requirement of 24% for the first 3-year funding period.  This match can be cash and/or inkind.  Overall grantee share of total program costs increases gradually to 50% by the tenth year of fundingOther federal funds used as match for this program must be tracked and reported.

Do Placement Sites Contribute Financially To The Cost Of Supporting AmeriCorps Members?  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; 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.

What Are The Responsibilities Of Operating An AmeriCorps Program?

  • Recruiting, selecting, placing, training, and supervising AmeriCorps members.
  • Designating a full-time coordinator to manage the program.
  • Submitting progress reports reflecting progress towards meeting performance measurements, monthly expenditure reports, and financial status reports.
  • Participating in training and technical assistance sessions for program directors and staff.
  • Participating in statewide AmeriCorps member events and activities.

What If You Only Want To Involve One Or A Few AmeriCorps Members?  You have numerous options, some of which include the following:  You can find an agency to apply for and manage the funds (as a fiscal agent) that would then place the members at host service sites throughout a community, county, region or statewide; you can search our online program directory of existing AmeriCorps programs (found at www.volunteermississippi.org/) which will provide you with names and contact information for programs in your area, or you can contact the Corporation for National and Community Service State Office, which manages AmeriCorps*VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) and Senior Corps programs.  For more information on AmeriCorps*VISTA and Senior Service Corps contact 601.965.5664 or ms@cns.gov.

Where Can I Find Instructions And When Is The Application Due?  The CNCS documents may be accessed hereGrant applications are due to MCVS via eGrants no later than May 10, 2018.  All potential applicants should submit a Letter of Intent, Readiness Assessment, and completed Logic Model Worksheet, the templates for which can be obtained at http://www.volunteermississippi.ms.gov/americorps-funding-opportunity  or from Judy Stein (judy@volunteermississippi.org or 601.842.6700) no later than May 3, 2017.  MCVS will provide applicants with additional instructions once completed Letter of Intent, Readiness Assessment, and Logic Model Worksheet have been received.  For more information contact Judy Stein at judy@volunteermississippi.org or 601.842.6700.