FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 13, 2022
Contact: Jamie Orozco Nagel
515.348.6233 / 800.308.5987
The Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service (Volunteer Iowa) is pleased to announce a Request for Applications for Iowa AmeriCorps State programs to operate in 2023-2024.
What is AmeriCorps State?
Iowa AmeriCorps State is a national service program that involves individuals (“members”) providing service to address critical needs in their communities. AmeriCorps members also mobilize community volunteers and strengthen the capacity of the organizations they serve. In exchange for a term of service, members typically receive a living allowance and other benefits from the sponsor organization while serving. Upon successful completion of their service, members earn an education award to help pay for education costs at qualified institutions of higher education, to pay for educational training, or to repay qualified student loans. Individuals may serve in AmeriCorps from age 17 and up.
Iowa AmeriCorps State engages the energy and idealism of the citizens of Iowa in meeting the most vital education, economic opportunity, health, environmental, disaster preparedness, public safety, and veterans’ needs in our communities. Iowa’s AmeriCorps State portfolio currently consists of over 20 programs with more than 800 members serving in full- or part- time positions. These programs operate throughout the state to address critical community needs.
See https://www.volunteeriowa.org/individuals/americorps for more general information about AmeriCorps.
Funding Priorities for 2023-2024
For the 2023-2024 application process, Volunteer Iowa particularly seeks programs that address the following priorities, drawn from Iowa's State Service Plan:
- Programs that are part of or utilize a comprehensive community strategy.
- Programs or strategies that engage underrepresented populations and those that provide a high return on investment.
- Programs in geographic areas that are underserved or have the highest need.
- Programs that address disparities in rural communities or with minorities.
- New service opportunities to develop community capital in the following areas:
- State legislative & national service focus areas
- Governor’s priority areas such as Future Ready Iowa, supporting Iowa’s energy plan, childcare and enrichment, digital literacy and education
AMERICORPS, the federal agency that oversees all AmeriCorps programs, has established the following funding priorities for this competition:
- Public Health AmeriCorps programming.
- Organizations leading service in communities with concentrated poverty, rural communities, tribal communities, and those organizations serving historically underrepresented and underserved individuals.
- Evidence-based interventions on the AmeriCorps Evidence Exchange that are assessed as having Moderate or Strong evidence.
- Veterans and Military Families, Caregivers, and Survivors – a program model that improves the quality of life of veterans and improves the well-being of military families, caregivers, and survivors.
- Environmental Stewardship, including supporting communities to become more resilient through measures that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, conserve land and water, increase renewable energy use and improve at-risk ecosystems, especially in underserved households and communities.
- Faith-based organizations.
- Programs that provide additional benefits to AmeriCorps members aimed at enhancing member experience and bolstering member recruitment and retention.
- Programs that create workforce pathways for AmeriCorps members, including deliberate training, certifications, and hiring preferences or support;
- Economic Mobility Corps.
Applicants for this funding will need to reference the complete application materials to posted to the AmeriCorps State grants page of the Volunteer Iowa website (https://www.volunteeriowa.org/americorps-state) including the Volunteer Iowa Competitive Request for Applications (RFA) and appendices, the Volunteer Iowa Pre-Application Instructions, the Volunteer Iowa Review Criteria & Final Application Instructions, the AmeriCorps Mandatory Supplemental Guidance (“Guidance”), and the AmeriCorps Performance Measure Instructions. Applications will be accepted only from organizations seeking funding to operate a program wholly within the state of Iowa (multi-state applicants apply directly to the Corporation for National and Community Service). Multi-state AmeriCorps National Direct applicants that intend to place members in Iowa must consult with Volunteer Iowa regarding these intended placements using the process and link provided in the RFA.
Key Dates & Deadline
Deadlines for submission of the required Pre-Application and Final Application are listed below. Please note that several other listed dates (marked with *) are anticipated dates only and may be updated throughout the grant application and review period. Check the AmeriCorps State grants page and sign up for the mailing list to be informed of changes to this timeline.
- Funding Opportunity Announcement, Request for Applications, & Application Instructions Published: 9/13/2022
- Pre-Application Deadlines: 9/27/2022 (current grantees); 10/4/2022 (Public Health AmeriCorps); 1/10/2023 (new applicants)
- Final Competitive Application Deadlines: 11/8/2022 (Competitive & Public Health AmeriCorps); 2/28/2023 (current Formula grantees); 3/14/2023 (new Formula applicants)
- Funding Announcement: 4/2023-5/2023* (anticipated)
- Program Start Date: 8/1/2023, 9/1/2023, or 1/1/2024 (applicant chooses from these start dates)
Who is eligible to apply?
This competition is open to all eligible applicants, both those that are new to AmeriCorps and those who are current AmeriCorps State and National program sponsors. Nonprofits, local governments, state agencies, educational institutions, and Indian Tribes are eligible to apply for an Iowa AmeriCorps State program. Eligible nonprofits include those recognized as nonprofit corporations through the state of Iowa, those with 501(c)3 status, and those with 501(c)4 and 501(c)6 status that do not engage in lobbying activities (as defined under the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995).
What types of grants are available?
Volunteer Iowa funds several types of operating grants for AmeriCorps programs. Traditional AmeriCorps grants engage at least eight (8) full-time equivalent AmeriCorps members and may utilize one of two funding mechanisms: cost reimbursement programs that cover budgeted AmeriCorps program costs on a reimbursement basis and fixed-amount grants that provide funds based on a per-member award that is earned as members are enrolled and complete their service terms. Other AmeriCorps operational grants that are available include Public Health AmeriCorps, the professional corps, and education award only programs.
AmeriCorps grant awards are typically for a two- or three-year period of performance, but have only a one-year budget period that may be renewed for up to two additional years, subject to annual review and the availability of federal appropriations.
Grant Size & Matching Requirements
AmeriCorps grants vary greatly in award amount, but all operational grants include limits on the maximum amount of funding that can be awarded per member, ranging from $800/full-time member (for education award-only programs where the grantee covers the bulk of member and program costs) up to $23,000-28,800/full-time member for cost reimbursement and full-cost fixed-amount grants.
No matter the funding level, substantial cash and in-kind match is required from the applicant. Programs operating under the cost-reimbursement model must match at least 24% of the total budget during each of the first three years of funding, with match requirements increasing incrementally after year three, reaching a 50% minimum match level during the 10th year of funding. Programs with fixed-amount funding do not need to meet or document a specified match percentage, but will also need to contribute match in order to meet the needs of the program. Other non-AmeriCorps federal funds may be used as match with approval.
What are the responsibilities of operating an Iowa AmeriCorps State program?
- Designating adequate staff time to run the program.
- Recruiting, selecting, placing, onboarding, supervising, and providing professional development to members.
- Managing HR needs of members, including National Service Criminal History checks, payroll, benefits, timekeeping, and evaluations.
- Selecting and supporting member service sites and supervisors.
- Submitting start-up forms, progress reports, expenditure reports, semi-annual federal financial reports, and other reporting as instructed.
- Participating in monthly program director calls, annual program director training, additional annual training for new program staff, and regional national service training.
- Engaging community volunteers in the AmeriCorps program and supporting Volunteer Iowa statewide initiatives.
What is the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service, or Volunteer Iowa?
Volunteer Iowa is the state service commission for the state of Iowa and administers Iowa AmeriCorps State grants. Volunteer Iowa strives create an Iowa where all citizens are empowered through service to meet community challenges and make lives better. Volunteer Iowa works to fulfill this vision by funding and supporting programs, projects, and activities focused on service and volunteerism. These include AmeriCorps State, the Volunteer Generation Fund, the Volunteer Iowa AmeriCorps VISTA program, and Iowa Mentor (the Iowa Mentoring Partnership).
Volunteer Iowa partners with the AMERICORPS federal agency (also known as the Corporation for National and Community Service or CNCS) to fund and administer Iowa AmeriCorps State programs. Established in 1993, AMERICORPS engages more than a million Americans each year in service to their communities by providing a way to solve community problems. The federal AMERICORPS agency plays a crucial role supporting the American culture of citizenship, service, and responsibility. AMERICORPS has three primary national service initiatives: AmeriCorps, AmeriCorps Senior Corps, and the Volunteer Generation Fund.
- Returning Program: a program proposal from a current competitive or formula program sponsor seeking funding for the same AmeriCorps project. Potential funding statuses for returning projects are: recompeting for formula funding, recompeting for competitive funding, formula continuation funding, or competitive continuation funding. If your organization has previously supported an AmeriCorps State program but does not have an active program in 2022-2023, contact Volunteer Iowa for guidance on which Pre-Application Instructions to follow.
- New Program: a program proposal from a new legal applicant or a new project from an existing/recent legal applicant.
- Competitive: Programs competed and funded at the national level; funds are from AmeriCorps federal resources allocated to Volunteer Iowa programs on a competitive basis.
- Formula: Programs competed and funded at the state level; funds are from AmeriCorps federal resources allocated to Volunteer Iowa on a formula basis.
Disclosure: Publication of this Funding Opportunity Announcement does not obligate Volunteer Iowa or the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to award any specific number of grants or to obligate any particular amount of funding. The actual level and timing of grant funding will be subject to the availability of annual federal appropriations.