January 12, 2023

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 Planning Grants for 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.

AmeriCorps State planning grants do not provide AmeriCorps member funding but instead provide organizations with funds to pay for the staff/consultant time needed to develop plans for and prepare to launch an AmeriCorps program.

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.

Find more general information about AmeriCorps on the Volunteer Iowa website.

Funding Priorities for 2023-2024

For this competition, Volunteer Iowa particularly seeks applications that address the following priorities:

  • Programs with an intentional focus on member professional development, with plans to incorporate formal certifications/apprenticeship or pre-apprenticeship/college credit/etc. into the AmeriCorps program.
  • Programs that will replicate or expand upon successful, existing models in Iowa.  Such proposals should indicate how the replication or expansion will build upon (and not compete with) existing Iowa programs.

Application Materials

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 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 labeled for PLANNING Grantees.  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 & Deadlines

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: 1/11/2023
  • Pre-Application Deadline: 2/7/2023
  • Final Competitive Application Deadline: 3/28/2023
  • Funding Announcement: 5/2023* (anticipated)
  • Program Start Date: 7/31/2023

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).

Grant Size & Matching Requirements

The AmeriCorps agency limits planning grants to a maximum of $240,000 in federal funding but Volunteer Iowa typically awards planning grants a maximum of only $50,000-$75,000.

No matter the funding level, cash and in-kind match is required from the applicant. Planning grants must match at least 24% of the total budget.

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.

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.