About the Program
Our Purpose: The Volunteer Iowa VISTA program seeks to partner with organizations who are working with low-income families and individuals throughout the state of Iowa in areas of greatest need both rural and urban.
VISTA projects will create an environment where low-income youth and adults can access resources to overcome barriers to poverty. This will be done through education, transportation, accessibility, employment, financial literacy, and affordable housing services, and a myriad of other services. And, in general, teach skills and provide resources to better equip themselves to rise out of poverty.
Priorities for the Volunteer Iowa VISTA Program
The VISTA program focuses on creating an impact through volunteering and service in the following priority areas.
Our programs serve as a pathway to employment opportunities and help develop vital work skills. We build and rehabilitate affordable housing, provide financial literacy training, and connect people to jobs. Volunteer Iowa will give priority to efforts that support access to resources which contribute to improved economic well-being and to the financial security of economically disadvantaged people in Iowa communities.
Our members and volunteers support students dozens of public schools across Iowa. Through our work we improve attendance and engagement, increase high-school graduation rates and expand college enrollment. Volunteer Iowa will give priority to projects that facilitate access to improved education and educational attainment for economically vulnerable youth.
We provide independent living services to elderly Iowans. We also build the capacity of food banks, combat the opioid crisis, tackle homelessness, and address food insecurity. The VISTA program will give priority to efforts which seek to improve health outcomes, including access to a wider variety of food and better health care for low-income families. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, there continues to be many different negative impacts, particularly on low-income men, women, and children.
Military Veterans and Their Families
We provide assistance to veterans and military families by connecting them to education opportunities, jobs, and the benefits they have earned. Many veterans also volunteer with AmeriCorps so they can continue to serve their country.
State and local public offices and nonprofit organizations with a 501(c) status addressing low-income individual, family or community issues are encouraged to apply.
Applications are now being accepted to begin a VISTA project. All applicants will receive consultation by the Volunteer Iowa staff prior to and during the application process. You can find the VISTA application and accompanying guidance below.
For more information, contact Julie Struck at 515.348.6238 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About AmeriCorps VISTA
AmeriCorps VISTA members may be placed directly with Iowa nonprofit and government agencies through an agreement with AmeriCorps to become a VISTA project sponsor, or an agency may request a member through an existing VISTA project. AmeriCorps VISTA project sponsors and host sites have varying degrees of responsibility for financial support of the VISTA members, depending on the type of VISTA position(s) they are awarded.
Types of VISTA Members
- Standard members. Require no cash contribution from the host; instead the project sponsors provide necessary in kind resources, such as supplies, office space and equipment, and administrative support.
- Cost-share members. The project sponsor must provide funds to help meet the costs of the VISTA member’s living allowance, in addition to providing in kind support
AmeriCorps VISTA program awards will contain a combination of standard and cost-share member slots.
How to apply to AmeriCorps to be an AmeriCorps VISTA project sponsor
- Review the project information on the AmeriCorps VISTA section of the AmeriCorps website.
- Applications for members are accepted on a rolling basis. Agencies are allowed to place members four times throughout the year.
- Project sponsors are responsible for overall management of the AmeriCorps VISTA program, including member recruitment and placement, reporting to AmeriCorps, and supervision of members and project sites.
How to apply to be an AmeriCorps VISTA host site
- Review the VISTA Host Site Application Guidance.
- Complete and submit a VISTA Host Site Application to Volunteer Iowa.
- Host sites are typically responsible for recruiting their own VISTA member(s), assigning a site supervisor to support the member, and reporting to the project sponsor. Sites are usually expected to contribute financially to the project.